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4 tips for bringing new technology into your foodservice operation

7/7/2015

Within just the last few decades, technology - and Internet connectivity in particular - has become ingrained in almost every aspect of the foodservice industry. From back-end tools like SaaS supply management software, automated tickets in the kitchen and Internet-connected point-of-sale systems, to front-end technologies like smartphone app-based ordering and touchscreen kiosks, today's foodservice looks like something out of a Sci-Fi movie.

New technology can make things easier, but managers should still expect a learning curve as employees are introduced to the new system.New technology can make things easier, but managers should still expect a learning curve as employees are introduced to the new system.

All of this technology, however, has a specific purpose within an operation, and it's become necessary to adopt these new tools or risk losing your edge over competitors. But you can't just make a purchase without understanding how they will fit into your business. Here are four things you should keep in mind when onboarding new technology into your foodservice operation:

Understand "why?"
The first thing you should take into consideration when looking at a new technology is "why?" What purpose will this tool serve in your business? This will help you truly determine if the purchase is worth it. If you incorporate new technology - like a POS system or supply management software - without understanding how it makes your business more efficient, it will be impossible to justify the purchase and communicate why it's important to your team.

Look for great customer support
Some third-party vendors will sell you a solution and then leave you to figure out how to make it work. When you're shopping around for a new solution, ensure that the vendor will be with you post-purchase, working as a partner to help you get the most out of your technology. Every implementation comes with hiccups, so having an expert team on your side will be essential.

Anticipate the learning curve
One of the key reasons that businesses balk on new technology is that they're afraid their employees won't be able to understand how to use it, which would negate any benefits and lead to wasted money. Foodservice Director explained that the best way to overcome employee anxiety regarding new technology is to have managers fully learn the new software and then mentor everyone else on it. This not only includes showing workers the technical skills, but explaining why and how the new tool helps the business as a whole.

Measure your results
Don't get so caught up in the excitement of bringing new technology on board that you forget why you did it. Measure your ROI as often as possible to make sure that your investment pays off in the way you expect.