The Great Restaurant Juggling Act

Today’s multichannel kitchen strives to balance takeout, delivery, drive-thru and dine-in to keep customers coming back – could better tech be the secret ingredient? 

According to the 2019 National Restaurant Association and Technomic study, Harnessing Technology to Drive Off-Premise Sales,58 percent of restaurant occasions are off-premise. Of those, 39 percent are drive-thru, 34 percent delivery and 29 percent takeout.

Welcome to the era of the multichannel kitchen where restaurateurs must skillfully juggle dine-in, drive-thru, takeout and delivery to remain relevant and meet hungry patrons’ changing wants and needs. 

The key to successfully navigating this new paradigm is implementing technology that equips your kitchen to handle unpredictable order volume, regardless of the channel diners order from. If your kitchen is overwhelmed by the growing influx of off-premise orders, it might be time to consider the benefits of advanced kitchen technology, including: 

Real-Time Data

With off-premise ordering you lose the ability to physically see all order activity occurring within the restaurant. Having immediate access to this information through advance kitchen technology allows you to better gauge the impact off-premise orders are having to your speed-of-service, enabling you to make any necessary staffing adjustments to meet demand.

Accurate Forecasting

Running out of certain items or having other items unprepared due to increased volume can lead to chaos. Advanced kitchen technology enables access to historical sales data that is used to predict what and how many of certain items need to be prepped and ready for orders that day. This helps you improve performance of repeatable tasks, as well as decrease ready times for items with long cook times. 

Intelligent Order Routing 

The challenge with off-premise ordering is knowing the right time to prepare an order, as well as timing that prep so that all order items are finished together. Intelligent order routing seamlessly routes order information to the right stations for perfectly timed prep and distribution. 

Accommodating Additional Capacity

Creating a second make line dedicated to fulfilling off-premise orders can give your kitchen some much needed production capacity. Kitchen technology can help with this operational shift, sending only digital orders to this second line to keep the focus on serving off-premise customers quickly.

Better Customer Communications

Advanced kitchen technology automatically makes keeping your customers informed part of the order build process – bumping the order when it’s finished and notifying the customer when it’s ready. Adding digital signage within the restaurant to display order status helps too. It gives both customers and delivery drivers immediate visibility into when an order is ready and where to pick-up that won’t disturb front-of-house operations.

Ultimately, you should think of kitchen technology as the conductor that directs all the moving parts of the kitchen orchestra in harmony. When all these parts are intelligently architected and integrated, you can easily determine order priority, enabling your staff to prepare and package the freshest food at just the right time for pickup by the customer, delivery service or wait staff.