For the next few weeks, we will be featuring a few key questions about the technological shift in the restaurant industry from some of the best experts around. Keep an eye out for each post and be sure to read through their thoughts to see what you could learn to adapt your business and brand.
Debbie Miller, President of Social Hospitality, is a marketing communications specialist with 10 years of digital marketing, content development, and social media leadership experience across multiple mediums. A self-motived, lateral thinking, and innovative professional with the drive to help results-minded clients think in new ways, Debbie brings a unique perspective from her brand, agency, and consulting experience. While she built up Social Hospitality as a side hustle since 2011, she took the leap to full-time with the brand in 2017. Social Hospitality is a boutique digital marketing agency that helps passionate people and businesses develop their brand identities, create engaging content, and build their social media presences. Additionally, the Social Hospitality blog is a leading industry resource.
1. What is the next big thing for the 2019 restaurant industry?
The integration of technology, both in terms of operations of customer experience. BOH technology is streamlining restaurant management and eliminating the need for paper and segmented processes. FOH technology like per-table iPads for ordering, paying, and more will start to become more normal.
2. Technology has been a primary focus for restaurants every year. What are your thoughts about utilizing tech tools in the restaurant world?
Restaurant tech is becoming more common and can definitely help save time and money. One of my clients is a restaurant-focused, cloud-based SaaS company and we’ve heard endless stories about how it helps increase efficiency. From a consumer perspective, technology is part of peoples’ everyday lives. We use our cell phones for a variety of reasons, from deciding where to eat, to making a reservation for that restaurant, to getting directions to that restaurant.
3. What about social media – do you think having a social presence is important for a restaurant’s brand and identity and why?
Absolutely. Food is heavily documented on social media. Your competitors are active on social media, and your restaurant is being posted about by your patrons regardless. It’s important to have a presence to be able to control the narrative about your brand and maintain a relationship with your online fans and customers.
4. What piece of advice would you give to any aspiring restaurateur?
Do a lot of research on what technologies and strategies will best suit your restaurant. Find BOH tech solutions that will help your overall operation run smoothly. Checking out your comp set is a great way to assess what kind of client-facing, social and digital strategies your audience prefers.
5. And a fun question! What’s your favorite meal?
This is a tough one! I guess I’ll be boring and say pizza. I could eat pizza for any meal of the day.