When it comes to technology, digital transformation for restaurants may have lagged behind other industries. But with labor shortages and the surge in labor costs, restaurant IT plays an important role in delivering a quality guest experience, ensuring a competitive position in the marketplace and opportunities for growth.

The restaurant business has found itself at a crossroads due to these labor challenges. It has forced the industry to rethink its operational models and the need for more sophisticated technology. From automated ordering systems to AI-driven kitchen management tools, this is no longer a trend. There are many innovations shaping the industry’s future and setting new standards.

Evolution of Network Infrastructure

This digital transformation has forced an evolution of network infrastructure to support the wide array of digital tools and services essential for modern restaurant operations.

  1. Integration of Advanced Networking Solutions

Restaurants have increasingly adopted advanced networking solutions to streamline operations. This includes the deployment of high-speed internet connections, secure Wi-Fi networks for staff and customers, and the integration of cloud-based services for everything from inventory management to point-of-sale (POS) systems to customer relationship management (CRM) tools.

Reliable and fast connectivity is critical as these digital tools are essential for efficient restaurant management and enhancing the guest experience.

  1. Managed Network Security Solutions

Digital transactions and the storage of sensitive customer data are of primary concern for restaurant chains and their customers. Managed network security solutions have been widely adopted to protect against cyber threats, ensuring safety of POS data, and securing Internet of Things (IoT)devices like digital menus and kitchen display systems.

These tools provide restaurants with security and compliance services, visibility of the network, and the management tools to keep their operations safe.

  1. SD-WAN and Edge Computing

Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN) and edge computing have emerged as key technologies for restaurants to manage their network infrastructure more efficiently and to reduce reliance on traditional hardware-based networking solutions.

SD-WAN is popular because it offers the flexibility to quickly add new sites, increase bandwidth, and introduce new cloud applications into their operations.

Edge computing solutions process data locally, so it reduces the time needed for data processing and supporting real-time applications for restaurant operations.

  1. Importance of Cybersecurity

While restaurants have become more reliant on digital technologies, the risk for cyberattacks has grown. This technology has become more sophisticated with the need for restaurants to implement strategies to protect against malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks.

Training staff on cybersecurity best practices and continuing to update systems regularly to protect against vulnerabilities are now best practices.

  1. Focus On Guest Experience

Most of the technology installed in restaurants today is designed to speed up service and enhance the customer experience. While back of the house solutions are designed to provide operational benefits, many also allow the restaurant to customize and deliver food faster for an improved experience.  Online ordering systems, mobile apps for reservations and payments, and digital loyalty programs directly improve the guest experience.

The network must support all these technologies to reliably meet guest expectations for a seamless and personalized experience.

What’s Next?

Over the last five years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic transformation of the network in restaurants, and it’s driven to support our digitally connected operation. Restaurants have had to adapt quickly, and this evolution will continue to evolve to meet customer expectations and remain competitive.

As this technology continues to advance, restaurants will need to continue to invest in their network infrastructure to support new digital solutions and services. If you’d like to learn how Worldlink can help your restaurant chain evolve, contact us.