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What is a Smart Restaurant?

A smart restaurant is a dining establishment that incorporates advanced technologies to enhance its customer experience—technologies like Newton digital signage.

No matter how much one tries to deny it, it's evident that there is a shift in the food service industry. As the world steps forward into digitalization, many industries are also preparing for the change. The food service industry, of course, is one of them. With this, we are now seeing the emergence of smart restaurants. It's been found that 26% of food businesses see themselves as tech-forward after the arrival of the pandemic (Panasonic, 2020). So what are smart restaurants, and what technologies are paving the way for restaurant digitalization?

What is a smart restaurant?

To put it simply, a smart restaurant refers to a restaurant that incorporates various advanced technologies and innovative solutions (such as robots, smart devices, and digital solutions) to enhance the dining experience. Not only that but these technologies are also used to streamline restaurant operations and improve customer satisfaction.

They're also known as "smart dining establishments", where both staff and customers are in a more convenient and systematic environment. Customers can enjoy faster, more efficient service. Meanwhile, the restaurant has all the tools and resources to be more productive and accurate.

Smart restaurants are becoming popular as the food service industry embraces restaurant digitalization. This means a greater number of digital solutions are being developed and adopted to align with the growing demand and evolving consumer behavior.

What technologies are commonly used in smart restaurants?

Self-service ordering kiosks

Self-service ordering kiosks are becoming increasingly popular in modern restaurants. With the help of these kiosks, customers can now look through an extensive menu and order their meals without any hassle. They can even pay with a card or mobile payment app.

Additionally, these kiosks are interactive and enable customers to learn more about each dish or meal as they go. In fact, 79% of customers prefer to order through online kiosks more than with humans (Square, 2021). For restaurants, the use of kiosks means they do not need to employ a waiter or waitress, although a customer service attendant may still be available to assist. Moreover, the time taken to process the order is reduced, resulting in faster service and happier customers.


Contactless payments

Another one of the technologies making way for the smart restaurant revolution is contactless payments. This technology allows customers to pay without having to handle cash or cards. Instead, people can use their smartphones to pay in a quick and secure way. More often than not, all they need to do is tap their phone against the payment reader to authorize a payment.

Contactless payments make the restaurant experience more efficient and faster for customers. It also creates a safer environment for everyone. This is a good start for restaurant digitalization in a lot of dining establishments.



Robotics is emerging as an important technology in smart restaurants. Robotic applications can be used to simplify common tasks, including dishwashing, food preparation, waiting tables, and delivery. For example, robotic arms are being used in some restaurants to replace human dishwashers. Robotic chefs are being used to help prepare food with greater accuracy and consistency. Finally, robots can also be used to deliver food and drinks to tables, reducing the need for waitstaff. Overall, robotics is an integral part of smart restaurant operations, helping automate and streamline mundane tasks and freeing up staff to focus on more customer-focused tasks.


Mobile apps and online ordering systems

It's no surprise that mobile apps and online ordering systems are now commonplace in restaurants. With the use of these technologies, restaurants are able to keep up with current consumer expectations and provide an efficient experience.

Customers can access a restaurant's menus from their app, view nutritional information, place orders, reward loyalty programs, and even pay their bills. Additionally, ordering food online has become the norm for many customers. Here, they can complete the entire process on their own time and at their convenience.


IoT equipment and devices

Restaurants are also adopting the Internet of Things (IoT) to better manage their operations and enhance their customers' experiences. IoT equipment and devices, like tablets and sensors, are becoming commonplace in these magic kitchens. Through these connected devices and tools, restaurant staff can do everything from tracking orders in real time to interacting with customers. IoT sensors, meanwhile, enable staff to keep an eye on energy efficiency and food safety at the same time. Advanced analytics help restaurants gain detailed insight into their sales and customer preferences, so they can optimize operations and design better campaigns.


Digital display screens or digital signage

Digital display screens, or digital signage, are becoming a common sight in smart restaurants. Seventy-eight percent of restaurants say that the use of digital menus has led to significant benefits (Square, 2021). They also agree that digital menu boards potentially lead to a $16,000 increase in in-store sales per year (Presto, 2021). This is most likely due to the fact that digital menu signage adds an air of sophistication and modernity. Not only that, but they can easily be used to communicate with guests, showcase operational announcements, and more.

As restaurants are gradually being pressured to optimize operations and increase efficiency, digital signage is becoming a key part of the restaurant digitalization process. Adding in digital signage can help bridge the gap between technology and customer service and improve the overall customer experience.



How can digital signage centralize restaurant operations?

Digital signage is an all-around modern solution that can help solidify restaurants' paths toward digitalization and high-quality service. Here are a few crucial ways digital signage can centralize restaurant operations:


Digital labels can help highlight and label dishes in buffet restaurants

Digital labels have a significant impact on buffet restaurants and their operations. Installing digital labels on dishes can help highlight and label various foods and items in an organized and intuitive manner. Customers can instantly identify what they're looking at, eliminating confusion, and making operations more efficient.

Using digital signage can save your restaurant money as it allows you to create and update your digital labels and posters quickly, unlike traditional paper. Additionally, digital labels allow restaurants to create clever and unique branding experiences that will make your buffet stand out from the competition. With digital signage, you can make your restaurant a smart one, with labels that are both aesthetically pleasing and informative. This will help drive customer satisfaction and loyalty.


Digital signage can help in menu display and management

Nowadays, digital signage can be used to create an interactive menu experience. For example, digital signage as big as SOLUM's Newton 11.6" can be placed on tables to display the menu digitally. Not only does a digital menu look aesthetically pleasing, but it also eliminates the need to constantly print out new menus with updated food and drink options.

With digital signage, restaurant staff can make changes to the menu right at the display and instantly update it in real-time. It can also be used to promote special items or even inform customers of wait times. Now, smart restaurateurs have the most up-to-date menu information for guests, and they can streamline otherwise demanding or repetitive processes.


Digital labels can be used as smart shelf storage solutions in restaurant pantries

Digital labels can also help facilitate smart shelving storage for restaurants. This is because they are an ideal smart shelf storage solution in restaurant pantries. By closely monitoring their stocks with digital labels, restaurants can ensure they never miss supplies and ingredients again.

Furthermore, the digital labels can be designed with multiple metrics, such as date of purchase, cost, and expiration dates. This allows restaurant staff to keep a more accurate and organized inventory of their pantries. Digital labels in pantries enable restaurants to save time and money and increase their efficiency.


Digital labels can offer centralized content management

Digital labels also allow a restaurant to bring their content management to a more centralized and easily managed level. For instance, by implementing a smart restaurant digital signage solution, restaurants have the ability to remotely control content and keep their menus updated in real-time. Having this capability allows restaurants to maintain the consistency of their menu items while increasing the visibility of their branding. It also allows restaurants to keep their customers informed of their current offerings, as well as any promotions or special deals. Utilizing digital labels is an efficient and cost-effective way for restaurants to achieve greater operational success.


Digital signage can help with consistent branding and marketing

Smart restaurant owners are also turning to digital signage for a consistent branding and marketing approach. By using digital signage, restaurants are able to centrally manage not only their brand presence but also their in-store operations. Digital signage makes it easy to customize messaging and advertising to fit the particular needs of different customers. It's also a good way to keep the brand image constant throughout the restaurant. Videos, audio, and other types of interactive marketing content can draw them in and encourage them to learn more about the restaurant. Digital signage is giving restaurants an effective way to stay competitive and stand out from the crowd.


Digital signage can help foster customer engagement

Digital signage can be an invaluable tool for restaurant owners looking to increase customer engagement. Smart restaurants are taking advantage of the power of digital signage to create exciting and engaging experiences for their customers. Digital signs give restaurant owners the ability to display promotional offers and specials in a way that's easily accessible to customers. They can even be used to entertain customers waiting in line. By incorporating digital signage into their operations, restaurants can keep their customers informed, connected, and excited about the dining experience.


Digital signage can provide valuable data analytics

Digital signage can be a great asset for restaurant owners to help them better understand their diners as well. It can provide valuable data analytics that (when used correctly) can help restaurant owners better plan their operations, staff their restaurants in an efficient way and maximize their profits. Furthermore, smart restaurants will be able to collect and analyze customer data to personalize experiences, understand consumer preferences, and tailor marketing efforts. Ultimately, digital signage provides restaurants with the ability to turn their vision of a smart restaurant into a reality.


Digital signage adds to better cost and time efficiency

As a whole, digital signage can play a key role in smart restaurant digitalization. It can help enhance restaurant operations by effectively managing reservations, orders, tables, and staff. Cost and time efficiency are improved as digital signage provides management with an accurate view of current restaurant operations. By streamlining the data flow, customers are better served, resources are used more effectively, and, of course, costs are reduced. Additionally, digital signage helps the restaurant establish itself as an innovator and cutting-edge venue positioning in the competitive market. Digital signage is one key solution that can help restaurant operations raise their standards.


Find the ideal digital signage solution for your smart restaurant with SOLUM

SOLUM offers digital signage and electronic label solutions for restaurants looking to embrace restaurant digitalization. This automated system will not only centralize workflows but also enhance various elements that will lead to a restaurant's success.


SOLUM Newton labels are digital labels with state-of-the-art technology to streamline daily operations, inventory management, order-picking processes, and more. These digital labels can hold information of up to 7 pages, show accurate product prices, recipes, and allergens, highlight food specials, and more. From the pantry to the kitchen, to the dining area, Newton labels can enhance the whole dining experience.


SOLUM Newton TOUCH, on the other hand, is designed to change the way people see and interact with your restaurant. These digital signage can show food visuals, product videos, and even instructional demos. Customers can also browse restaurant products and menus, and download content, brochures, and promotions with digital signage. Newton TOUCH is an innovative digital signage solution that can transform the customer experience and staff service.


Want to learn more about the modern technologies and SOLUM solutions you can apply to your smart restaurant? Talk to SOLUM experts now and find out how you can revolutionize your dining establishment.

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