| | November 201819cash, they still took a great deal of time to swipe cards and sign receipts. Digital payments through mobile phones using digital wallets or UPI apps have brought about a massive improvement in customer and management experience at restaurants. While customers do not have to wait in lines and fumble for cash while paying for meals, management can increase footfall and sales by keeping the long queues moving fluidly. Additionally, digital payments are backed by robust security infrastructure in order to prevent instances of fraud and consequent losses. Restaurant Discovery & Social MediaToday, a restaurant could offer the best food & service, but one bad review on the internet could cause it to lose thousands of potential customers. Such is the power of social media and discovery apps today. Several such apps allow customers to write elaborate reviews about their experience. Visitors review an eatery on several parameters such as quality and ambience to effectively encourage or discourage people to visit. Several AI-based suggestive searches integrated with discovery apps are more likely to recommend places that have a large number of positive reviews and higher ratings. Social media further bolsters the positive image of a restaurant if it has a huge number of followers and considerably high engagement rates. Most visitors now view a lack of social media presence as a red flag and try to side step. Therefore, it is essential to create a strong social media presence, while paying heed to negative feedback from customers. Brands that proactively reply to negative feedback and offer their perspective can keep their customers happy, while increasing their chances of appearing in top suggestions of discovery apps. Engagement with Customers Several new-age chains are now utilizing technologies, such as social media and AI, to boost customer engagement. From AI-powered self-service mechanisms to unique prepaid cards, leading names in the industry are leveraging technology to take customer engagement to newer heights. Top brands have incorporated interactive mobile apps that offer loyalty programs and various promotional offers to appeal to customers.Eateries also offer digital menus through their apps that customers can check-out on the go, while they are still deciding where to dine. The best part of digital menus is that one can promptly remove items that are no longer in stock. This prevents the customer disappointment that occurs when they visit a place looking for a particular dish only to find-out that it is unavailable or sold-out. Further, customers can use these apps to connect with each other, check-out latest promotions & events, and check out the latest menu. Evidently, technology has enabled restaurants to offer an integrated and superlative experience to their customers, while also boosting their own profits. As more brands continue to upgrade their systems with innovative technology, there is no doubt that technology will continue to bring praiseworthy revolution in the industry. BIG DATA AND PREDICTIVE ANALYSIS CAN HELP RESTAURATEURS GLEAN INSIGHTS INTO CUSTOMER BEHAVIOR AND PREFERENCES, DEDUCING METHODS OF INCREASING REPEAT-ORDERS AND CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
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