Technology has evolved over the years and encompassed various industries. The restaurant business isn’t left out as several restaurant trends have emerged over the years.
It’s extremely important for those in the foodservice business, especially restaurant owners, to stay on top of the industry’s recent technological trends. In this article, you’ll discover the five major restaurant technology trends in 2020.
Why should I pay attention to these technological trends?
We live in an era of disruption, and several businesses that have failed to be innovative have been disrupted by others who pay attention to the industry trends. There are so many ways to grow your business but constantly adapting to industry trends, and using top-notch technology is very important.
What are the top five restaurant technology trends in 2020?
Several groundbreaking technology trends have emerged in the past few months, and so many large establishments have adopted these trends. Restaurant and bar owners need to stay on top of the food industry’s recent trends, so they won’t be left behind.
Here are the top five restaurant technology trends that have emerged this year:
1: Voice technology
“Alexa, please add an iced latte in my existing order.”
Virtual assistance is no longer an idea that seems far-fetched as several restaurants have adopted this technology in their establishments. Many popular restaurant chains like KFC and Pizza Nut have adopted the voice activation to give their customers a smooth and seamless experience.
In-app voice assistance and integration with major virtual assistants like Google assistance and Alexa make navigation easy for customers to place orders using voice commands. Voice technology is one of the top trends in restaurant businesses and will greatly influence restaurant businesses’ future.
2. Tabletop ordering system
The tabletop ordering system has given diners the ease of scrolling through the menu digitally and place orders. Servers no longer have to take orders from each table.
Orders that are placed through digital menus are directly received in the kitchen. Some systems also have entertainment features to keep the customers happy and engaged as they wait for their orders to arrive. Tabletop systems help reduce the table turnaround time, attend to more customers, and make better service delivery.
Unlike normal dine-in experiences, placing orders on digital platforms is void of that human touch. Interactive chatbots solve this problem by providing customers with a personalized experience as they place their online platforms’ orders. Chatbots have become very popular in the past few months, with several restaurant chains adopting technology in their business.
Big restaurant chains like Burger King and Taco Bell have already integrated this technology into their business. Chatbots are very effective tools in engaging customers. They are designed and programmed for various tasks such as answering FAQs, sending targeted promotional messages, directing customers to websites or payment getaways, and processing payments.
The chatbot technology is already used with various social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, inbuilt mobile apps, and websites. Chatbots will continue to evolve over the years as they are excellent marketing tools for your business. They help to deliver a more valuable and pleasant experience to your customers.
4. Self-ordering kiosks
Many large quick-service restaurants like McDonald’s are setting a new trend with the kiosk. It’s a trend that has been on the ground for a few years but has been unexplored in the food served industry’s guest-facing operations.
The kiosk is a small standing digital system that allows customers to place their orders themselves. Kiosks help to speed up customer service by reducing the time spent taking orders.
Kiosks are versatile systems that customers can use to create their specialized orders and pay for them using their preferred payment system. They also help direct customer traffic and reduce the time spent in queues even during the busiest hours.
This, in turn, helps to boost sales. When the customers see a full display of the entire menu in a single click and how easy it is to place orders, it leads to customer retention and creates more opportunities to upsell.
The kiosk can also provide real-time information about customer preferences. All the information is properly synced with the POS systems. Restauranteurs can figure out what works best for their businesses and make appropriate improvements.
5. Handheld Order Taking Devices
The traditional method of taking orders using a pen and paper is fast fading away. More restaurants are beginning to acknowledge the importance of handheld order-taking devices.
Handheld order-taking devices such as tablets and mobile billing apps make taking orders very easy. They also cut down on time spent taking orders for each table.
The orders that are taken are automatically reflected in the POS systems. Since handheld devices are well integrated into the restaurant management system, servers can easily look at the order history of specific customers.
With handheld order-taking devices, you can drastically reduce table turnaround time. As a result, servers will find it easier to take more orders and serve more customers.
There are two major advantages of this: first of all, severs will no longer have to manually send KOTs to the kitchen. Secondly, the chefs can begin preparing the orders as soon as they are placed. It greatly maximizes the staff and reduces serving time.
What other important restaurant technology trends should I look out for in 2020
Apart from these top five restaurant technology trends above, here is a list of four more trends that are gradually making the waves in the foodservice industry:
1. Restaurant owned mobile app
In a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association of India in 2019, it was reported that 44% of customers placed their orders using a restaurant mobile app or website in the past year. Restaurants owners must design a mobile app that customers can use to place orders at their convenience. Mobile apps do not just increase the number of sales; they also increase your brand awareness.
Other benefits of using mobile apps include wider customer reach, improved customer experience, problem-free order management, targeted customer offers, and customer retention.
Several foodservice chains that serve in-house liquor make it easier for their customers to order drinks using their dine-in ordering apps. Using mobile apps is also highly beneficial to your employees.
It enables you to maintain transparency and makes it easier for you to manage your operations. The mobile restaurant app is a technological trend that all restauranteurs must adopt in their businesses.
2. Kitchen Display Systems (KIDS)
Kitchen Display Systems have become very popular in these past months, especially in the food industry. They have greatly enhanced consistency and efficiency in the foodservice industry.
The KIDS also facilitates ease of communication between the front-of-house staff and the kitchen. Every dine-in and online order from the mobile app or restaurant website is directly connected to the restaurant management system.
Modern POS terminals are properly integrated with the KIDS. It’s a powerful integration that maintains consistency levels in food preparation and inventory and ensures that they are in tune with the restaurant chain. With the KIDS, you can rest assured that your consistency, speed, and service are never at risk.
3. Marketing Automation
In the past few years, restaurant marketing has evolved and become more analytical and data-driven. Using a good restaurant management system, you can target potential customers with adequate data and not just intuition.
For instance, a restaurant CRM software that compiles customer data from all platforms can give you valuable information to create customer-focused loyalty programs. You will also find it easier to get more customers through targeted marketing campaigns via emails, social media platforms, websites, and SMS.
4. Robotic Chefs
Although having robotic chefs can automate the meal preparation process, they are not being used in place of human chefs. Instead, using robotic systems in the kitchen will accelerate order management and improve its overall performance.
According to POSQuote, an effective combination of human touch and automation can help restaurants maximize their order and delivery time and quicken the whole process from order placement to meal preparation to service delivery. Using automated systems in the kitchen will also provide an ideal customer with the best service experience.
It will also greatly benefit your employees and create a healthy sense of competition to meet rising customer demands. The advancement of automation in the foodservice industry will make restaurants more efficient and effective in their service.
From evaluating your restaurant operations’ overall status in a single click to using robotic chefs in the kitchen, the gradual emergence and adoption of technological trends will change the foodservice industry for the better. Restaurant owners must take advantage of these trends to improve their businesses.