Digitizing a canteen: first steps

Digital canteen

Table of Contents

What is digitalization?

Digitalization is a big buzzword in the 21st century. At the end of the day, it just means that you are bringing a rather manual process into today’s world by automating or improving it by means of software. You can digitize anything, but the simplest example out of the food industry would be the move from previously taking reservations in your restaurant via phone calls to now allowing people to reserve a table online on a website or even google my business. 

How can I start to digitize my canteen/restaurant? 

As always you should start by digitizing the simplest processes you have in your food company. As mentioned before, a good place to start is – if you have a physical restaurant – the digitalization of your reservation processes from phone/email to your website or google my business. Once you managed that, you can think about a digital ordering process through your website or an app that you launch. Too many restaurants/canteens still use phone ordering or paper sheets in which you enter your preferred dish. This makes forecasting very hard. 

Once you have managed to digitize these processes, you can start thinking about internal processes that are not client-facing. 

Which solutions can I use to digitize my first processes?

To digitize the table reservation process, you can have a look on google as there are many solutions out there. If you are based in the german market, Quandoo would be a big player that directly integrates into your google my business account, which is – as of today – a crucial marketing component for restaurants and canteens. Quandoo charges a certain fee, so if you are looking for a free service, it might be worth checking out other services or setting up your own on your website. WordPress, Joomla, and other Content Management Systems generally have free plugins that you can integrate that work just fine. The only thing left would then be to teach your users to go through the website permanently. 

Digitizing the food ordering becomes a little more complicated as menus are generally changing on a constant basis, and are not in stock in an unlimited manner. You need to have the option to add, remove, and manage dishes in real-time to make sure that your guests are not getting frustrated when placing an order because things are out of stock. 

Munchlabs offers a great solution for you to (1) manage orders, (2) manage stock levels, and (3) offer a great user experience through an app that can be downloaded on all android and iOS devices. 

What is the price of digitizing my first processes?

Pricing varies greatly depending on the value that is put through and the option that is opted for. For your table reservation process, you have free options but can also pay a monthly subscription of up to 500$. For digitalizing your ordering process via your own app, you should expect significantly higher prices as your own app needs to be made available in the stores and also adjusted in design before you launch it. Generally, you can expect to be paying anything between 1200$ to 3800$ per month to digitize your ordering process via your own app. 

Final words – conclusion

In a world where everything is changing very fast, it is important to keep up with current trends and process improvements. We think that digitizing is not just a trend that will go away, but much rather will become more and more digital over time. One day, we are certain, that none of these partial software solutions is required anymore and you can simply apply artificial intelligence to take all your orders, manage those, and even produce them at the end of the day. 

All of that is far ahead in the future – do not miss jump aboard and digitize your first steps today.