Top Tech Trends in Restaurant Industry 2021
Thursday May 23, 2019
Updated on 10 Feb 2021
Glimpse of technologies available for restaurants
Emerging technologies like, augmented reality and artificial intelligence are transforming operations of every industry. Restaurant industry is not immune to it. Technological advancements are changing every element of a typical restaurant’s operations, from how diners make reservations to how managers track inventory. Food apps are even playing bigger role in tech upgrade of restaurants. Let's check these top tech trends in restaurant industry.
Convenience, Data, Delivery and Online/Mobile ordering are key areas where maximum upgradation is happening in restaurant technology. Here are the top ten trends which will shape customer experience and change the way restaurants operate in 2021 and coming years.
Mobile ordering and payments
Most people are extremely attached to their phones, so there’s logic behind incorporating mobile payments and other mobile solutions into a restaurant’s business model.
In 2017, the use of mobile payments grew 75%, especially within quick-service establishments. For a consumer, the ability to order and pay from a mobile device speeds up the process dramatically.
But, in 2021 many brick-and-mortar stores are expected to adopt mPOS systems because they offer security and convenience and useful features like built-in accounting software.
Our team developed a mobile ordering app for our client in San Francisco. PubHub is a mobile ordering, payments and fulfillment platform for bars and pubs. It allows customers to order and pay for food & drinks right from their phone. Bars and pubs can use PubHub to promote specials, streamline operations, and capture more sales during peak hours.
For restaurants, food apps offer mobile orders & payments which cut down the number of customer touch-points, thereby making it easier to serve more customers.
Augmented Reality (AR) is continued as technology trends to look out for in 2021. Through the use of AR technology, restaurants can change the way diners experience their meals. One potential use of such technologies is the ability to create “live previews” of menu items. This gives customers not only 3-D image of the food, but to view it as if it was right in front of them. This allow customers to have visual experience like no other.
As AR technology improves and become less cumbersome and less expensive, the possibilities of its integration into the dining experience will make it even more valuable to restaurateurs.
From big chain restaurants to independently owned cafes, businesses are collecting personal data and are hungry for more of it. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI), companies can mine the data for food trends and consumer habits. They can extract information and use it to develop new products or change current items.
Plus, AI can provide a wealth of data about their customer base and spending habits. By doing so, restaurants can have a built-in loyalty program that incentivize customers to both return to the establishment.
Paper menus are quickly becoming a thing of the past because digital menus offer so many benefits to restaurants. There are various ways to incorporate digital menu in a restaurant. You can have digital menu boards, touch screen tables or iPad menus.
Digital menu allows restaurant owners and managers to change their menu regularly to accommodate specials and additions. They also allow restaurant operators to adjust prices for different times. For example, you can set lower prices during slow periods to entice customers to visit and use higher prices during busy periods to boost profits.
Restaurants that use iPad menus noted a substantial increase in sales. The increase in sales can be attributed to menu features like suggested food pairings, menu analytics, and the ability to feature new items.
From an operational standpoint, iPad menus allow restaurants to view various menu analytics reports. These reports can tell managers which items customers are looking at the most and which items are underperforming. This also allows chefs to add and strike things from the menu within minutes. This avoids the costly process of changing and reprinting menus. The list of benefits to iPad menus seem endless, as they provide benefits to restaurant operators and the customers.
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Already employed in several major chains, expect 2021 to be the year self-serve kiosk ordering and checkout hits the mainstream. By reducing wait-time, and increasing the speed in which customers move through the line, and through their meals, this technology will make fast food faster, ordering more precise, and customers more satisfied.
95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant tech improves their business efficiency and 65% of customers use an ordering kiosk when it is presented to them? That means switching to a mobile POS software or the implementation of an ordering kiosk would be an advantageous move.
Fast food and quick service restaurant chains are installing easy-to-use kiosks and tablets in their establishments. Tablets and kiosks help streamline the ordering process and can speed up service.
More importantly, this technology allows more staff to spend time in food preparation and delivery, and less time voiding mis-typed orders.
Better Delivery Tracking
Delivery is growing and is becoming more important. We have been watching delivery grow over these past couple of years.
The subject of delivery has been growing and we do not expect it to stop. 2021 will see that delivery becomes faster and more personal for the customer.
According to coverage of a recent report published by a firm in Edinburgh, Scotland, people can expect to see more GPS tracking technologies that let them follow their food with real-time movement information displayed on a smartphone screen. It will most likely mimic what Lyft and Uber show on their apps to show when a driver is arriving.
Currently, customers get estimated delivery times and instructions to contact the restaurant if their food doesn’t arrive on-time. We will begin to see additional personalization and contact between the delivery drivers and customers.
Inventory management has long been an issue for restaurateurs, as challenges with tracking food costs, preventing employee theft and avoiding dipping below minimum required stock levels can all lead to increased costs and decreased profit margins. That’s why digital inventory management will be such a key trend for restaurants in the coming year.
Digital inventory management gives access to a variety of different inventory reports. These reports can notify manager about inventory inconsistencies along with notifications on when an item need to be ordered.
More advanced inventory systems, also have POS system integration. This means that whenever a drink is served the amount of product used is automatically subtracted from inventory. This feature is a big money saver because it can highlight when servers or bartenders are over pouring. This tech trend will be vastly popular with its ability to simplify the inventory process and will take 2021 by storm.
Text based notifications
Long lines at restaurant can clog up waiting area and scare off potential customers. To combat this, some establishments are implementing text-based notifications, which sends a text alert to customers when their table is ready, allowing them to shop and run other errands while they wait rather than standing around in lobby.
One of the biggest hassles of restaurant management is staff scheduling.
With complex schedules, last minute call offs and vacation time, creating schedules can be complicated and time consuming.
However, with scheduling apps like 7Shifts the process is a lot easier.
The app allows employees to enter their availability and even swap shifts. Users even have the ability to request vacation time. With this information the app is then able to generate a schedule that takes into account everyone’s availability.
Some applications even have the ability to use previous scheduling data and sales information to assist in the process. This is an added benefit because it can combat the issue of under or overstaffing the restaurant. The scheduling process streamlined with technology it can officially become a hassle of the past.
Predictive Ordering Technology
Predictive ordering technology first became available a few years ago, but 2021 is likely to see a much larger expansion in the use of this technology by stand-alone restaurants and franchises alike in the form of food apps. Simply put, predictive ordering technology analyzes a restaurant’s sales history and ordering patterns to more accurately predict what items will be needed in the coming week. An effective system that utilizes predictive ordering can submit orders automatically, reduce food waste and significantly lower the chances of forgetting to order key items, leading to overall savings in time, money and headache in trying to manage food orders.
These are top tech trends in restaurants to look for in 2021 and in coming years. Technology which help streamline restaurant operations is more accessible than ever, both because it can be installed on nearly any tablet or mobile device and because it is less expensive than traditional hardware/software combinations.
Restaurants have slowly but surely been adopting these new technologies and customers are taking notice. The added convenience makes eating at a restaurant (or ordering food prepared at a restaurant and delivered) faster and easier than ever.
This is the right time to adopt these technology trends in restaurants as per the requirements. If you are looking for expert team to advise you on creating application or custom POS for your restaurant, we will be more than happy to be at help. Our team at Realmonkey has expertise in creating restaurant and food ordering applications.