Dec 21, 2022
 min read

Do More With Less Series: Front-of-House Restaurant Technology

This article outlines:

Why technology matters in restaurants today

Which solutions boost front-of-house efficiency and enable you to do more with less

The benefit of a virtual helping hand


Technology is key to efficient restaurant management and a positive dining experience for guests in this digital age. The right tech stack will reduce manual work and stress for employees, decrease human errors and miscommunication, boost guest satisfaction, and ultimately, enable the brand to serve more people.

As the industry juggles a labor shortage and a resurgence in dine-in, many brands are looking for ways to do more with less. But with a rapidly growing restaurant tech ecosystem, it can be difficult to tell the difference between nice-to-have and must-have solutions.

Knowing that every brand has unique needs, we’ve narrowed down the list to the most impactful tech solutions for boosting front-of-house efficiency.


6 Restaurant Technologies That Streamline FOH Operations

1. Online Order Management System

With online orders streaming in from multiple sources, brands need a way to effortlessly manage orders and handoff without leaving the counter. A tablet-based online order management solution can enhance the front-of-house workflow by enabling team members to manage all orders (direct and marketplace), view by handoff mode (inside, drive-thru, curbside), early fire if needed, set custom labels and alerts for large orders, request new drivers, receive curbside arrival notifications, and set menu item availability—all from a single screen.

Expo is Olo’s staff-facing tablet application for enhancing front-of-house operations and order flow.

2. Table Management System

A modern restaurant table management system provides real-time, streamlined party management so that full-service operators can efficiently manage dine-in parties, off-premise orders, reservations, and waitlist parties from a single list. That means more guest-facing interaction, far less training, and no more bouncing between apps that don’t share data.

With the right system in place, restaurant brands can optimize operations as service unfolds via automated table status updates through a POS integration and customizable configurations like push notifications, smart tags, and more.

3. QR Code Ordering

Restaurants can leverage QR code ordering to optimize operations and create a seamless dining experience by enabling guests to view the menu, order, and pay at the table, all from their phones. Guests simply scan a QR code on a sign or sticker at the table and order, without needing to wait for a server or stand in line

Increased staff efficiency resulting from fewer nonessential touch points between employees and guests, and faster table turnover are just a few of the benefits of QR code ordering.

Read our Nando’s case study to find out how QR code ordering has transformed on-premise operations and the dine-in experience at the fast-casual restaurant brand.

Credit Albert Hu from Unsplash

4. Reservation System

Reservation systems help full-service restaurant brands strategically map out their dining rooms in order to serve more guests as well as provide more accurate wait quotes. Reservations give operators the ability to prepare the kitchen and waitstaff ahead of a busy shift, and less wait time means happier guests.

With the right restaurant reservation system, guests can book a table directly with the restaurant via Google, social media, website, app, etc. for a seamless user journey.

5. Waitlist Management System

Forget pen and paper. A waitlist management system can enable full-service restaurant guests to join remotely and offer automated, real-time updates so they know exactly where they are in line. 

With fewer people crowding the entryway and less time spent manually texting guests, hosts can focus their attention on thoughtfully greeting and seating. And, when everyone is in the know, brands can expect fewer unnecessary phone calls, texts, and host interruptions, which can lead to happier employees and guests.

A modern restaurant waitlist system can also accurately predict wait times using sophisticated algorithms, so the host staff doesn’t have to guess and risk upsetting guests.

Hot Tip: Even at times when there is no wait, operators can turn on a 0-5 minute waitlist to capture guest data that would otherwise be lost with an unidentified walk-in.

With Olo Host, restaurants can manage their waitlist, reservations, and online orders from a single dashboard.

6. Scheduling Software

Staffing challenges are a major headache for brands and can negatively impact operational efficiency, quality of service, guest satisfaction, and team member retention. To combat these issues, some restaurant operators leverage restaurant scheduling software to quickly organize shift schedules, anticipate scheduling challenges, and communicate with team members about last-minute shift changes.


A Virtual Helping Hand

Restaurant brands should consider technology a virtual helping hand that makes it possible to do more with less. By automating tedious tasks and empowering team members to focus on making meaningful connections with guests, everyone wins.

For more inspiration, read How tech can ease the FOH labor shortage. And stay tuned for the next installment of our “Do More With Less” series, wherein we’ll cover restaurant delivery strategies and solutions.

To find out how Olo can help your restaurant brand do more with less, contact us.

More blog posts

What are you waiting for?

Transform your guest experience today.