In the past 2 years, we learned that technology is going to play a vital role in the success and failure of a brand. More so, in the restaurant industry. People love to eat, and they have their preferred restaurants, but if that restaurant fails to provide flexible and convenient ordering options, it’s highly likely that the customer may not stay loyal for long. We are standing at the cusp of complete digital transformation, and to stay relevant it’s imperative to keep a track of digital innovations that enable smooth interactions between the business and the end-user.
In all probability, restaurant tech innovations are here to stay and likely to become part and parcel of the industry in the long run. The tech innovations that the food and beverage industry has adopted include options such as online ordering, touchless payments, delivery and pick-ups, and self-checkouts, to list just a few. It is only the tip of the iceberg as new innovative technologies keep getting added as businesses reinvent themselves and look into the future growth prospects.
It is off-premise consumption that will drive business, and that is where most restaurants in the restaurant industry are trying to focus on their share of the pie.
Here’s a look at a few of the digital trends pushing growth and some must-have technologies that every restaurant owner should look forward to introducing in 2022.
1. Contactless and Web ordering systems
With restrictions by the various authorities still in place, and comprehending the need for adhering to multiple procedures related to sanitation quite strictly, it is contactless home deliveries that ensured that it is business as usual for most of the restaurants. In fact, this is how most of the businesses have managed to sail through in the past two years.
According to statistics from McKinsey, the food delivery market is now worth more than $150 billion globally, an increase that has more than tripled since 2017, primarily as a result of the pandemic. In all likelihood, third-party food delivery apps that include players such as UberEats, Foodpanda, and Door Dash, among others, will continue to stay, but the major focus will be on establishing a strong in-house digital ordering systems that can be beneficial for both restaurants and their customers.
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2. Contactless Payment
This innovative technology has ensured considerable ease in doing business for both parties, restaurants, and customers who can easily make their payments using multiple options via smartphone, an app, or a touchless device. Over the past two years, digital touchless payments have become a game-changer in the digital touchless payment industry, which has witnessed considerable growth.
It’s estimated that contactless payments will triple from $2 trillion to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024, and having such options are reportedly extremely important for 34% of customers.
Moreover, this mode of payment ensures all concerns related to hygiene and health safety are well taken care of. Therefore, the restaurants are not complaining as this has introduced efficiency in terms of cash flow point of view. As more and more businesses join the party, it seems likely that this trend will continue.
3. Digital Online Reservation Option
Digital online table reservation technology has set new precedence when it comes to booking in a restaurant. Exclusive online ordering systems provide customers the choice to make a booking even while on the move.
Further, it helps extend a dining experience to a customer, driving loyalty besides helping in collating data, which could come handy when drafting marketing plans. As more and more restaurants look towards introducing innovative solutions, this trend is likely to witness a surge in all probability.
4. Cloud or web-based POS Systems
With the introduction of cloud or web-based point-of-sale (POS) systems, things have streamlined considerably for restaurants as an alternative to the traditional POS method. The cloud-based POS remains effective as it can be easily accessed using the Internet. It has further introduced ease of doing business for restaurant owners who are able to conduct their business from anywhere using the Internet.
Mastercard found that 80% of consumers claimed to be using contactless payments in 2020. Further, contactless payments are as much as 10 times faster than other in-person payment methods, and 74% of consumers planned to continue using contactless after the pandemic is over.
Additionally, restaurant owners can track orders automatically while also taking into account special dietary requests suggested by a customer. This has introduced clarity regarding communication and a better workflow framework. The cost-efficiency to install the system remains an additional plus. It means restaurants are able to save on overhead costs in the long run.
5. Inventory management software
Innovative solutions in terms of inventory management have introduced smoothness in keeping track of stocks, scheduling new orders, and keeping a tab on quantities. All these were a time-consuming affair earlier, but automating has completely changed the game.
A few of these softwares are adopting cutting-edge artificial intelligence technologies that push businesses to move in the direction of sustainability. For example, customised online ordering systems like Restolabs offer Inventory Management which helps avoid stock discrepancies. This helps restaurant owners and managers cut food waste and costs and run their businesses more efficiently and sustainably.
All this augurs well for the food industry that had been facing issues when it comes to keeping a check on wastage of food. So, in a way, automating is addressing a larger agenda for the industry.
It’s safe to say that restaurant brands and customers are finding their groove with AI. The restaurant industry has become increasingly automated, which has led to an omnichannel approach to customer service.
For instance: The Los Angeles-based salad chain, Sweetgreen acquired an automated culinary tool designed to balance the core elements of cooking technique, measurement, and timing. Jonathan Neman, co-founder and CEO of Sweetgreen, told FastCasual, “We built Sweetgreen to connect more people to real food and create healthy fast food at scale for the next generation, and Spyce has built state-of-the-art technology that perfectly aligns with that vision.” The partnership will help Sweetgreen generate faster and more consistent orders and allow team members to focus on preparation and hospitality.
In 2019, McDonald’s acquired an AI company to use the company’s automated personalization product to improve customer service at its drive-thrus. For example, menu options are displayed in accordance with restaurant traffic, weather, time of day, and what’s trending. The menu add-ons are also suggested based on each customer’s selections.
Digitization is the way forward
The Covid-19 has introduced dramatic changes for every business. The restaurant industry has been operating in a more seamless manner with the introduction of various digital technologies. In fact, this is only the way forward for a highly competitive industry and where survival of the fittest is more than a proverb. Fittest in terms of adopting more disruptive technology while extending a better customer experience.
With digitization and other related solutions, restaurants cannot only attend to their customers efficiently but also establish a mark while being interactive at the same time. Customers have been more than happy to adopt new technologies as restaurants look forward to upping the game when it comes to re-imagining things on the technology front.
Digitization is more than a buzzword now. As a result, we may see this trend continue in the food and beverage industry, which is heaving a sigh of relief after experiencing a spell of lean business for quite some time.