Advantages of computers in the food and beverage industry – acmuhd
Advantages of computers in the food and beverage industry

Advantages of computers in the food and beverage industry

Computers have revolutionized the food and beverage industry as they have virtually every other industry. Computers have had measurable positive effects on the front and back end of hospitality operations. Computer systems improved employee performance and the quality and consistency of foods and beverages. Within the food and beverage industry, there is no longer a question of should technology be used, but rather a question of which technology to use? In the food and beverage business, computers are here to stay.

In the hospitality industry, customer service is a critical factor to success. Computers help in this area in several ways. In many restaurants, wait staff can process various forms of payment at guests’ tables, allowing guests to check out directly at their table without having to stop at the central checkout station. This eliminated long, unsightly lines, irritating customers, and disrupting traffic flow in the food and beverage business. This service is made possible either through small handheld computers that handle credit card transactions using wireless technology, or via remote point-of-sale systems that interact with a central computer system. This improves the dining experience for customers, which should be the goal of any food service company.

Profit margin is one of the major management concerns of any food and beverage business. In this vital field of business, computers have also proven to be an indispensable tool. Computer systems help manage the entire food service process from ordering the ingredients needed to produce menu items, to predicting how much items to prepare for each food period based on historical patterns. This helps reduce food waste, which is very costly and comes from the profit of the business. It also helps to prepare menu items in advance, which reduces customer waiting time. The computer can also predict at high rates the expected business volume allowing managers to properly staff their business. This is vital because having too many employees on hand can eat up unnecessary amounts of payroll, and not having enough employees on hand will lead to customer service problems.

Computers are also used in very innovative ways by some food and beverage companies. For example, Darden Restaurants, which owns and operates the Red lobster and Olive Garden chains, uses computers to help select new building sites. This computer system uses software called Darden Site Analyzer. The software collects critical information needed to locate a location, such as demographics, distance to other restaurants, and customer information specific to Darden’s business model. The software then analyzes the site and provides a series of reports to help Darden make a final decision. Darden plans to improve the program so that it can assess things like whether a new Darden restaurant will negatively impact other Darden restaurants in the same area.

Computer systems have become a vital part of all aspects of the food and beverage industry, aiding in purchasing decisions, controlling inventory, scheduling and training employees, and acquiring and retaining customers. A key indicator of this growing trend is the fact that many hospitality training programs now include computer and technology courses in the curriculum.

Each year, innovators create more unique ways in which technology can be used to enhance the overall business dining experience. Computers make dining out a more enjoyable experience for the consumer and a more profitable and manageable experience for business managers and owners.

(c) 2006, Marcus Barber

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