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Author: Kit Kilroy
It’s 2020, and to say that technology is well and truly a part of our everyday lives would be an understatement. There’s not much that we do without the help of tech.
Just as it’s true in everyday life, businesses around the world are incorporating technology into their workplaces, and restaurants are no exception. The restaurant industry will keep booming, but new technologies will undoubtedly change and shape the way that it operates.
To get a better understanding of what these changes might look like, keep reading to discover what will be the biggest tech trends in the restaurant industry this year. After looking through several reports from Become, Web Restaurant Store, and Real Monkey, we’ve determined that these are the changes you should be paying attention to. And perhaps even considering for your restaurant.
Without a solid front-of-house, a restaurant can’t run successfully. That’s why it’s essential to adapt the sequence of service alongside technological changes. Amidst new technologies, your venue and staff should learn to work with those that will benefit them as workers, as well as the business as a whole.
POS Systems: If your restaurant doesn’t already have a digitised POS system, consider yourself behind on this one. Not only do digitised POS systems increase efficiency, but they also cut down human error drastically. Many POS systems also offer useful insights, such as revenue tracking, covers, and trends.
Automated Digital Ordering Software: If you’ve tapped on a McDonald’s touch screen, you’ve already used automated digital ordering software. Though it may sound strange now, experts are guessing that ordering from the likes of a touch-screen is about to come a lot more typical. While it might not work for every restaurant, it could be an excellent addition for a takeaway option or waiting area.
Wifi: Guests want free wifi, and as annoying as it might be to take orders from someone scrolling through their news feed, it does increase the chances that they’ll post about the restaurant themselves. Many people rely on wifi these days to keep plugged-in at all times, and you don’t want whether you offer it or not to be the deciding factor that stops people from dining at your venue.
VR Training: Imagine how much time and money you could save if new staff could train themselves.
Most venues have expectations that staff members teach themselves (to an extent), but some things need to be learnt on the job.
Increasingly, however, training with virtual reality is eliminating the need for someone to spend a full shift shadowing.
By training in real-time with a VR headset, new staff can get a taste of a busy shift, before even stepping foot on the restaurant floor.
In addition to larger chains like KFC, Honeygrow, a fast-casual restaurant chain from Pennsylvania is already reaping the rewards of this futuristic training.
“With VR, right from the beginning, you’re getting a consistent message on things that, for us, are critical: hospitality, food accuracy, safety, cleanliness,” the brand told Entrepreneur. “All of those key points, we’re telling you, from the absolute beginning, with a super positive and consistent message. Plus being super authentic.”
IoT Software: IoT stands for Information of Things, and restaurants can now install sensors to collect restaurant data, therefore ensuring that everything is running correctly. A few examples of how IoT technology could work in a restaurant include being able to “measure temperature in a refrigerator or heating station, maintain proper equipment performance and [monitoring] whether equipment is meeting regulatory standards,” Become reports. It’s easy to see how useful this could be while keeping a kitchen operating smoothly.
Multipurpose Equipment: With restaurants popping up everywhere, in spaces not initially built for restaurant use, kitchens are getting smaller than ever. One way to solve that? Multipurpose and multifunctional equipment. Machines like the famous Robot-Coupe which can do a variety of tasks will only grow in popularity.
Green growing cabinets: Not every restaurant has the luxury of having a vegetable garden, but that doesn’t have to stop you from fresh herbs. Now, it’s easy to grow microgreens and herbs right in the kitchen in a cabinet set to the perfect temperature and moisture level for optimum results.
Green Materials: The first one to fall was the plastic straw, but you can expect customers to continue demanding disposable and recyclable materials. Customers in 2020 have an increasing awareness about how much waste there is in the restaurant industry, and they’re not happy about it. Rather than playing catch-up later down the line, now is the best time to make sure your restaurant is being eco-friendly where it can. By using environmentally-friendly materials like bamboo, corn, paper and wood alternatives to plastic cutlery and containers, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Digital inventory: Taking stock is a tedious process and one that’s rife with human error. Thankfully, new technologies are being created to make stock take an effort that can be entirely digital. “More advanced inventory systems, also have POS system integration,” according to Real Monkey. “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.”
Predictive ordering technology: Placing orders with suppliers can be a frustrating process, but figuring out exactly what to order is an even bigger headache. New predictive ordering technologies work to take the thought (and work) out of it altogether. By analysing sales history, the technology can determine what and how much to order in the upcoming week. Better yet, they can even automatically order as well, eliminating the need for a time-consuming process.
Technology isn't the only thing changing in restaurants, here we've compiled a list of other notable changes in the industry.
Would you ever consider integrating these trends into your venue? Which do you think would be most helpful?
Let us know in the comments below.
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