Emerging Technology Trends That’s Reshaping The Restaurant Industry

What are the upcoming technology trends in the restaurant industry? Learn more about it in the article below. ...
Emerging Technology Trends That’s Reshaping The Restaurant Industry
Written by Staff
  • While other industries are usually quick to jump onto emerging technology and digital trends, the restaurant industry, and perhaps the larger hospitality sector tend to be slower to adapt to new technological advancements. 

    However, as the last several years have shown us, restaurants and business owners were faced with immense challenges, having to bring forth more innovative solutions to a wide range of marketplace problems. 

    From the pandemic, which brought global supply chains to a near halt, a decrease in exports across Europe due to the ongoing geopolitical conflict in Ukraine, tight labor market conditions, and inflation soaring to a four-decade high – restaurants had to fight for their survival. 

    While the last few years have proven to be somewhat challenging, in more than one way possible, a looming recession and further economic headwinds are further threatening an industry that has yet to be able to recover from the pandemic.  

    Nonetheless, there have been changes and improvements in the restaurants we eat and the places we order food from. The introduction of contactless payments, self-checkouts, and online ordering are only a few of the visible gems that have already transformed the dining experience. 

    Economists continue to warn about the likelihood of a possible recession hitting our shores this year. This only further highlights the importance, and pace at which businesses, and more so restaurants should start focussing on introducing more tech-based innovations.

    Technology trends changing the restaurant industry 

    While it’s no longer possible for businesses in the Food & Beverage industry to ignore the importance of technology, especially with a recession looming, tech and digital innovation can often be a solution to help simplify operations and manage costs more efficiently. 

    In the near future, the restaurant industry will see off-premise consumption become an even bigger part of their equation. This would mean that restaurants will no longer require technology for in-house operations, but perhaps need to start looking at how they can transform the off-premise consumption, ordering, and deliver experience for customers. 

    Blockchain Technology And Customer Loyalty Programs

    Customer loyalty programs are set for a massive improvement in the coming years, as blockchain technology gains increasing momentum and begins to transform the way businesses and companies operate their customer loyalty programs. 

    Keeping existing customers will be easier, and a lot more affordable than having to market and find new customers. According to industry research, it costs businesses five times more to recruit new customers, than having to retain existing ones. 

    Keeping customers engaged, especially through customer loyalty programs, blockchain technology could become a key solution as it can help reduce costs, establish frictionless systems and create more real-time processing. 

    Not only will blockchain technology improve the efficiency of customer loyalty programs, it can further provide a more secure environment for customer-to-business transactions, and help to encourage the sharing of important data with restaurants to further understand the changing consumer marketplace. 

    AI Automating Inventory Management 

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been a key driving force behind the technological advancements taking place among several high-profile industries. Commercial adoption of AI-powered software such as ChatGPT has already gained serious traction since its release in November 2022. 

    However, AI is more than a software engine for users. Instead, it has the potential to help automate mundane and complex tasks that often require human resources and consume valuable time. 

    Leveraging the possibilities of AI, restaurants can automate important operational aspects of the business, such as inventory management. With these capabilities, restaurants will have better control over their inventory orders, helping to reduce costs and minimize food wastage. 

    Creating an automated system that works throughout the restaurants would ensure that both front-of-house and back-of-house staff are informed about any low inventory items, or create forward-looking timelines for when new orders will need to be placed. 

    These efforts are not only a way for restaurants to be more sustainable, but they could help them be more accurate in their predictions, what they will need, and the quantity they need to order. 

    Digital Food Delivery 

    During the pandemic food ordering and delivery services experienced a surge in demand, as stay-at-home and quarantine orders restricted the movement of people. This led to an even bigger demand for delivery drivers, with more than 1.4 million delivery drivers currently employed in the United States. 

    While the pandemic was perhaps the biggest driver of food delivery services, the coming years will see even more demand for these services, as online ordering and contactless payment becomes even more advanced. 

    The introduction of autonomous vehicles is already something we’re witnessing in places such as Las Vegas, Nevada, and Miami, Florida. Bigger companies such as Domino’s Pizza and Amazon have already started experimenting with the potential of autonomous vehicles and drone delivery to help create more efficient delivery systems. 

    While this will minimize the need for human drivers, in some parts, technology could now be an optimal solution that could see restaurants reaching customers in remote regions. This would help ensure that orders are delivered faster, and more efficiently, and that driverless deliveries are certainly something that we will see more of in the coming years. 

    Digital Bookings And Table Reservations 

    Restaurant-goers have one of several options when it comes to booking or reserving tables at their favorite dining houses. The more traditional involves visiting a restaurant to reserve a table or phoning in. Other options could include booking on the restaurant website, or even through social media. 

    While these options are convenient, technology is helping to further stretch the limits with the introduction of mobile booking applications. Customers can now make a reservation at some of their favorite places through one app. 

    Not only will they be able to book through these apps, but they can also browse different restaurant options available in their area, get seething plans, and share their dining and eating preferences. 

    Businesses will also benefit from digital booking and reservation apps. Information shared by guests would help them set up menus tailored to their customer’s dietary demands. They can collect important demographic data, and plan for upcoming events. 

    Seating arrangements will be more efficiently laid out, and employees will have better control over their guests, knowing exactly what their preferences are and how to cater to their needs. 

    Ultimately, digital booking platforms will become a way to not only improve the way customers can interact with restaurants, but it will also help enhance the customer experience and further provide them with personalized options before even visiting any establishment. 

    Staff Retention And Team Management Software

    Even employees will benefit from improved technological adoption in the coming years. With more aim to improve staff scheduling, and floor plans, and help prioritize team management, restaurants will help ensure employees are receiving adequate training and are being more effectively utilized. 

    Instead of relying on outdated pen-and-paper methods for setting up work schedules, automated systems can now undertake the task of diligently analyzing employee needs, and ensuring staff will get preferred shifts that suit their working needs. 

    This could mean that shifts will be more equally shared among all employees, leading to less need for employees during off-season periods, helping to give employees enough time to rest, and also helping to reduce overhead costs. 

    Other benefits that could help restaurant employees are effective management of payroll services, reimbursement, advancement opportunities, and the scheduling of paid time off. 

    The goal of these systems would be to help employees to have a better work-life balance, but also ensure that every staff member is treated fairly and equally. 

    These systems would require investment on behalf of restaurant owners and managers, but the outcomes would pay for themselves in the long term. 

    While there are several exciting developments taking place in the technology sector, helping improve the efficiency and productivity of businesses around the world, perhaps the most interesting is the deployment of these systems in the food and beverage industry. 

    Given how these digital systems have evolved over the last several years, the time ahead would only bring more innovation into our restaurants. Making an impact on how restaurants are operated, improving employee retention, and minimizing human-induced errors, but more so, enhancing the customer experience, both for in-store and off-premise dining experiences. 

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