Emerging technologies like AI and augmented reality are changing the restaurant industry. Technological advancements are altering every element of a typical restaurant’s operations, from analytics to how diners make reservations. Food apps are even playing a bigger role in tech upgrade of restaurants. Here are the 10 best industry trends.
1. Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality is one of the biggest tech trends this year. Through its use, restaurants are changing the way diners experience their meals. The option to create menu previews is one potential use of such technologies. This gives customers a 3D image of the food and the possibility to view it as if it were right before their eyes. This enables a unique visual experience.
As AR technology improves, it becomes less costly and cumbersome, and so the possibilities of its integration into the hospitality industry will make it even more valuable to restaurateurs.
2. Mobile ordering
A lot of brick-and-mortar stores adopted mPOS systems this year because they offer security and convenience and useful features like built-in accounting software. Food apps offer restaurants mobile orders & payments, which cut down the number of customer touch-points, making it easier to serve more customers.
From small family diners to big chain restaurants, businesses are collecting more and more personal data. AI allows them to mine the data for food trends and consumer habits. They can use information to develop new products or change current items.
What is more, AI can provide a wealth of data about their client base and spending habits. This way restaurants have a built-in loyalty program that gives customers an incentive to return to the establishment.
Self-serve technology makes ordering more precise, and customers – more satisfied. Almost 100% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant tech makes their business more efficient. Just under two-thirds of customers use a self-serve kiosk when it is available. That means switching to mobile POS software or implementing an ordering kiosk would be highly lucrative.
Fast food and quick service restaurant chains were the first to jump the bandwagon with easy-to-use self-serve kiosks and tablets. These help streamline the ordering process and can speed up service.
5. Ordering Technology
Predictive ordering technology analyzes a restaurant’s sales history and ordering patterns to be able to predict what items will be needed in the coming week with greater accuracy. An effective system that uses this technology can reduce food waste, submit orders automatically, and significantly lower the chances of forgetting to order key items, resulting in overall savings in money and time.
6. Digital Menus
The benefits of these to restaurants are undisputable. There are many ways to incorporate digital menus in a restaurant. You can have iPad menus, digital menu boards, and touch screen tables. Digital menus enable restaurant owners and managers to update their offerings regularly to accommodate specials and additions. They also enable them to adjust prices for different times. For instance, you can set lower prices during less busy periods to motivate customers to visit and increase prices during busy periods to hike up profits.
Restaurants that use digital menus are registering substantial increases in sales. The increases can be attributed to aspects like menu analytics, suggested food pairings, and the ability to feature new items.
From an operational viewpoint, iPad menus allow restaurants to view various menu analytics reports. These reports can tell managers which items are selling poorly and which ones customers are looking at the most. Chefs can add and strike things from the menu accordingly. This avoids the costly process of modifying and reprinting menus.
7. Improved Delivery Tracking
Delivery is increasing and becoming more important. We have been seeing delivery grow over the past few years. This year, it is becoming faster and more personal than ever. It is expected that we will see more GPS tracking technologies that let us follow our orders with real-time movement information displayed on the phone screen.
Currently, customers get estimated times of delivery and instructions to contact the restaurant if the order is late.
8. Text based notifications
Long waiting lines put potential customers off. To prevent this, some venues are implementing text-based notifications, which sends a text message to customers when their table is ready, freeing them up to get something done while they wait instead of just standing there.
9. Digital Inventory
Eateries have long had issues with inventory management, as challenges with preventing employee theft, tracking food costs, and avoiding dipping below minimum required stock levels can all lead to lower profit and increased costs. That’s why this technology will be such a key trend for restaurants in the coming year.
Digital inventory management gives access to different reports on inventory, which can notify managers about inconsistencies or if an item needs to be ordered. More advanced inventory systems also feature POS system integration. This means that whenever something is served, the system subtracts the amount of product used automatically from the inventory.
10. Staff Scheduling
This is one of the biggest hassles of restaurant management. With complex schedules, creating schedules can be complicated and time consuming, what with last minute call offs and vacation time. With modern scheduling apps, the process is a lot easier. Some of these allows employees to enter their availability and change shifts. They can even have vacation time. With this data, the app is then able to generate a schedule that takes into account everyone’s availability.
Some applications can even use previous scheduling and sales data to assist in the process. This is an added advantage because it can combat the issue of over- or understaffing the restaurant. The scheduling process becomes history.
These are top ten technology trends to look for this year and in the years to come. Technology which help streamline diner operations is becoming more accessible than ever, both because it is less expensive than traditional hardware and software combinations and because it can be installed on nearly any tablet or mobile device.
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