You'd think cooking and restaurants would be one of the last industries with anything to gain from the NBN.
Specifically how would you make the most of the NBN if you are the owner if a restaurant or cafe?
That's the question that ran through our mind when we read that a government backed "kit" is being created to help restaurants and cafes get online. The Digital Business Kit will promote "specific NBN-enabled capabilities".
So how exactly could the NBN help if your entire business model is cooking and selling food to be eaten at the actual restaurant?
Here are some NBN capabilities that will be promoted in the kit (as explained in a government press release):
- online ordering
- payment and booking systems
- remote inventory monitoring
- offering customers a video view of the restaurant before they make a booking
That last point is interesting. We took a quick look at the various web sites of quite high profile restaurants (Rockpool, Wildfire, Catalina, Doyles) and none of those sites seem to be featuring any videos (that we spotted). Aria, for example, does have a great image gallery, but no video. Although we did notice that clicking a link to Matt Moran's web site, there is a video showing him discussing his approach to cooking.
Is video really necessary? It might be a nice way for customers to get an idea of the atmosphere before booking. On the other hand, it takes time and (potentially) money. In our view, it would be a good idea to first make sure your web site is doing a good job of making it easy for potential customers to read menus and make a booking.
Perhaps the bigger question is whether there's any point to the NBN if you're not an "online" business. One way of looking at this is to stop focussing on the NBN's faster download speeds and start thinking about whether your business would benefit doing more things online. We've discussed this before - even if you don't sell anything online, your customers are probably on there looking for you. So at the very least, it's a way to let more potential customers know about you - whether that's via Facebook, Google ads or some other online marketing. Even lawn mowing businesses do this.
You don't necessarily even need the NBN to do these things, though it might help. If you're in an area that doesn't have decent broadband, then the NBN might make it possible.
With an election looming, the exact nature of the NBN could be different in a few years time. In the meantime, Restaurant & Catering Australia is getting a $500,000 grant to develop the kit. Kits for other businesses will come too.
Is your home office or business ready for the NBN? Click here to download BIT's free 32-page NBN eBook.
How much does it cost to use the NBN? Click to see 14 providers compared including iiNet, Telstra, Internode
Don't know anything about the NBN? Here's BIT's quick summary...