There’s rarely been a more difficult time for restaurants than the past year. Combining a shortage of customers and employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with the ongoing flux of health code restrictions, restaurants are struggling to drive traffic and relevance within respective customer bases. Put simply, now that America is finally able to dine-in, there’s a frenzy on the business end to net as many customers as possible — but it’s easier said than done.
In the digital age, restaurants must put some focus on digital media, too. Whether it’s providing in-store entertainment, activating social media promotions or implementing QR-code menu options, the digital initiative among restaurateurs is clearly present, but it’s not enough. The highly saturated digital market means that digital strategy must stay ten steps ahead of the industry standard in order to succeed, a daunting task for industry leaders and newcomers alike.
Restaurateurs seeking to drive explosive traffic must employ explosive solutions.
To rely on novelty attractions is a risky play — but then again, those who take no risks rarely succeed in business (or anywhere, for that matter). Restaurateurs seeking to drive explosive traffic must employ explosive solutions. One rising technology combines opportunities for utility, novelty and entertainment for restaurateurs — but it’s probably not what you’d anticipate.
Holograms — yes, just like the ones you’ve seen in the movies — display increasing potential as a traffic-driver for businesses in retail, entertainment and especially, hospitality. Like an arcade in a family restaurant, a house band at a bar or the fish tank at a seafood joint, holograms provide dining guests with an additional wow-factor — something unseen, to be rumored, Instagrammed or blogged about. The advantages of hologram technology aren’t limited to novelty, either. Functional uses of the technology could include employee training, customer service, food displays, chef demonstrations and more. The technology has been around for a long while, but it’s never been accessible like it is today — for restaurants looking to make waves in the industry, holograms might provide an ample solution.
The opportunity of holograms is significant, but not without challenges. Because the technology is so new, there’s room for improvement with regards to implementation, installation and pricing. Needless to say, hologram technology would likely apply to a distinct crowd — hip, tech-savvy, early-adapting club guests would be more welcoming to the technology than, say, the average deli visitor. Additionally, because of the nature of the technology, a hologram would have to be installed alongside a complex A/V network in order to ensure proper functioning — factoring this with the current market presence of holo-tech, it’s likely that the cost of installation and operation would be pricey. Still, for the avant-garde restaurateur, the challenges of holograms in restaurants would be worthwhile— and lucrative.
Holograms are the picture of the future — a three-dimensional, photorealistic digital model of who, where and whatever the viewer desires to see. Inspired by science fiction, the possibilities that accompany real-world holograms are seemingly without limit. In restaurants, holograms could provide another level of client engagement, service and entertainment, serving as the house band, the maitre de or expert sommelier, providing functionality alongside entertainment and novelty. For the intrepid restaurateur, investing in an on-site hologram could be the differentiator that’s needed to drive traffic, growth and success.
So, who’s first?