2022 was the year of getting customers back into restaurants, and it served as a swift reversal of the previous year’s theme of online ordering from your couch as you binge Netflix. Now, as we head into 2023, the recurring theme of personalizing the guest experience will continue to emerge, but it looks a bit different now that operators have less access to necessary resources.
With today’s society closely, and scarily, reflecting the ’70s Great Inflation with soaring costs left and right, a dark cloud of a recession is looming over everyone’s head. Which means, for operators, it’s all about providing guests’ special and memorable experiences, even with dwindling staff in a penny-pinching economy.
However, restaurant operators don’t need to fear as there is a light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel: technology. Rather than fear the complications and intricacies that are often associated with using tech platforms, it can serve as a helping hand and offer more to restaurants that have less.
Doing more with less through tech
Historically, restaurant technology has served a transactional purpose, serving mostly the staff and not the guest. But in 2023, it’s all about the customer’s personalized journey.
Restaurants are predicted to embrace more automation, like AI machine learning and data science, to help streamline those behind-the-scenes tasks while the limited staff can solely focus on prioritizing the diner’s experience and build a group of regulars.
No, 2023 won’t be the first year we’re seeing the emphasis of personalization climb the ladder of importance; however, it’ll look a bit different now that it’s at a higher scale.
From a return guest to a loyal customer
Imagine this: You stroll into your local cocktail bar that you frequent often with sweaty palms ready to dine with the person you’ve been dying to take out. As soon as you walk through the door, you’re greeted by name and offered a special menu that matches your flavor preferences based on your order history.
Not only will your date think you’re an absolute big shot, but you’ll inevitably have a sense of community and importance, quickly turning this cocktail spot from an occasional dining space to a new all-time favorite.
This imagination can turn into a reality when restaurants use AI and data science-driven tech tools that allow staff useful insight into each and every returning customer that walks through the door.
After all, the “one size fits all” model is a former concept across industries, so why should restaurants not think so, too? It’s imperative that operators embrace the role of data in personalizing the guest experience to drive repeat customers, which, in turn, drives repeat revenue.
Here’s the bottom line for 2023: Guests will be expecting more while dining, and the bar for what a restaurant has to offer customers is set to be much higher. Rather than being the end result of tons of other companies and their decisions, guests will have expanded access to tech that multiplies what they can do to create their custom experience, especially while they dine.
Austen Asadorian is Senior Vice President of Sales for SevenRooms.