The pandemic has been a true catalyst for technology change in the restaurant industry. Businesses have had to adapt to the new circumstances by implementing contactless payments and operations, food apps, and much more. But what’s on the menu for the future? And how will tech impact front and back-house operations? Let’s find out.
How Technology Helps Restaurants
The key goal of restaurants is to produce value by providing seamless, enjoyable food experiences for their customers. This requires well-organised operations, trained staff, and clean kitchens. It calls for good management, cost control, and legal compliance.
Technology offers a means to streamline processes and maximise efficiency at every stage of restaurant operations, from smartphones to make table reservations and websites/social media to promote new dishes to time-saving inventory and ordering systems.
Technology’s plentiful benefits include cost reduction, process improvement, and enhanced communication, just to name a few.
What’s Trending in Restaurant Tech
Technology is ever-evolving - restaurant technology is no different. Change is expected to take place at every stage, from food preparation to menu display.
Artificial Intelligence & Virtual Reality
According to Restaurant & Tech Live, virtual reality and AI such as facial recognition “may become a regular sitting of the hospitality industry” by 2025, as guests demand more tailored experiences. Robots are also expected to become more prevalent - to greet guests or perform more repetitive tasks, for example.
Over the last decade, the restaurant industry has been migrating away from cash. According to Juniper Research, contactless payments will triple by 2024. These could be done via smartphones and smartphones through apps, or other devices.
Online Table Reservations
Online reservation systems are becoming increasingly popular. This makes it easier for customers to book a table on the go and highlight their preferences. For restaurants, this translates into better seating and time management, as well as more insight into their market.
According to EHL Insights, QR codes will continue to play a big role in restaurants, giving customers a no-touch option to access menus or order food.
Tracking guest experiences and feedback will no longer have to rely on occasional paper surveys or gut feel. A number of restaurants are now using tablets which give customers the opportunity to provide real-time feedback on how food and service could be improved.
Back of house comprises all the behind-the-scenes spaces that customers do not see or have access to, such as kitchens and offices. Back-house restaurant technology can encompass anything from automated inventory tracking to food-waste management. Here are two innovations you may want to consider introducing in your own restaurant:
Forget pen and paper. Digital kitchen dashboards can help organise and fulfil orders from anywhere. They keep orders synced, directly linking front and back of house, and allow you to customise tickets to fit your setup.
Food Safety Compliance Apps
Food safety compliance mainly operates manually, involving complicated paper-based processes. This is where new food safety apps come in - like hubl. Designed by food safety professionals, Hubl includes restaurant checklists, covering key daily tasks to simplify operations and reduce costs. The future of food safety is paperless.
Embracing Technology & Innovation
The F&B industry has been known to be a slow adapter of new technologies. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, businesses have been pressed to accelerate change in order to remain competitive and relevant.
Navigating restaurant tech and making sense of all the opportunities available can be tricky. Following a problem-solving approach is a good way to start. Ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish and what issues you’re trying to fix - and go from there.