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Why foodtech must focus on innovation to engage and retain customers

Smit Nebhwani
23rd Feb 2018
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Instead of adopting technology trends and innovation, the foodtech industry must focus on customised apps that will delight old and new customers.

Technology has become the tool that can help drowning businesses take flight or land seasoned ones in trouble if not handled right.

From startups to even the most established industrial giants, technology has challenged everyone’s functioning, encouraging them all to modernise and re-imagine their criteria of staying relevant in this ever-competitive digital and technological scenario. While taxi companies like Uber and Ola are using mobile applications for creating better customer engagement, the food industry is still at a very nascent stage in terms of creative and innovative use of technology systems.

But slowly and steadily, the food industry is also jumping on the technological bandwagon to tap digital data and drive sales in the right direction. Indeed, food-related apps are the essential ingredients of success for restaurants due to a variety of reasons, including quick delivery, but their benefits are not restricted to delivery.

From customer addition to retention, mobile apps are the facilitators of restaurant businesses in every process and function.

Customised apps to match customers’ expectations

Technology has raised the level of customers’ expectations while market competition has empowered them to negotiate for the best. From dining in the restaurant to takeout, payment and delivery, customers demand perfection from restaurants in every service and engagement. A restaurant now needs to align its vision with customers’ demands and expectations because even a slight divergence can make big dents, in both image and profit. So instead of adopting trendy technology, restaurateurs must focus on customised apps that may delight a majority of their old and new customers.

Although saving customers’ precious time should be a top priority of restaurants and food chains, the list of improvements doesn’t end there.

A few years back, US-based company Breadcrumb came up with the novel idea of creating a flexible iPad app that provides real-time views of tables, catalogues the menu by ingredients, and works on sales processing, and tracking of the order status. It met huge success in the food sector. Walking on the same path, restaurant chains in India and other parts of the world are aggressively adopting similar concept-based applications. On one hand, technology is improving customer services; on the other, it is offering better solutions to tackle contemporary issues of the sector. With food waste being the current major issue of the industry, technological accuracy in tracing order details, ingredient selection by customers, and timely delivery has helped restaurant owners cut down waste in huge numbers. And as per a report by ReFed, a nonprofit organisation, the use of big data and automation has helped food service providers in the US save $1.6 billion in food purchasing costs annually by reducing food waste.

Customer engagement is key to customer satisfaction

Before laying their hands on innovative trends in the food industry, restaurateurs need to refine their characteristic features in the best possible ways. If offered the best in the area even the feature of having hygienic surroundings can get help them maximise customer experience and boost revenue resources. The ability of mobile applications and websites to reflect authentic customer reviews and ratings has helped owners of food joints reach the masses and highlight what they offer or do best. So, the app should be highly interactive and informative in notifying registered customers about new offers and upcoming schemes on a regular basis. In addition, based on customer’s feedback, changes should be incorporated regularly to improve the system.

Another preferred option is offering complete information of all dishes, including food categories, sub-categories, key ingredients, fat content, and total calories on the mobile screen. Clear descriptions of menus, dine-in and takeaway options help a person to not just satiate his/her appetite but to satisfy the palate with healthy intake. These measures are very much necessary in the present age as more and more people in metros and large cities of India becoming health conscious.

People are now more inclined to visit a restaurant with better interactions than just a space that serves them good food. A dining space armed with the best technological innovations will always tops a diner’s list of preferences.

For customers, such innovations bring them close to the food joint’s deals, offers, rewards, and coupons. Owners also get free publicity and testimonials in the forms of pictures and reviews uploaded by customers on several online portals and social media channels.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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