Restaurant tech trends come and go, but the industry is making definite moves toward user-centric design and cohesive digital options. Since COVID-19 rattled the restaurant industry, business owners have had to make swift changes to stay viable.
As a bright spot, guests now have greater convenience and more efficient dining experiences.
Here are eight restaurant tech trends on the rise — and likely to remain popular among guests and restaurateurs alike.
[Related: Restaurant Upgrades 101: Music and Amenities]
1. Contact-Free Payment
After the pandemic made us acutely aware of just how much we touch surfaces, contactless payment options have become the norm in restaurants. Chip-equipped cards and mobile payment services (Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.) are only two incredibly popular contact-free payment methods.
At restaurants, guests can pay for meals without touching a keypad or order online beforehand. You can even leave staff digital tips without fumbling with cash. Simply scan your credit or debit card’s microchip or pay via your smartphone and go.
Like several other items on this restaurant tech trends list, we think this is less of a trend and more of an inevitability.
2. Online Ordering
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the rapid rise of services like Uber Eats, DoorDash and Grubhub. If you run a restaurant, then online orders and delivery options are ideal to increase guest volume.
Using apps isn’t only for major restaurants and franchises, either. For example, you can add options for guests to place orders through Order with Google. Alternatively, register with DoorDash or Uber Eats so guests can view your menu, check prices and then order with a few taps.
This restaurant tech trend is already widespread, with both fast food chains and boutique restaurants taking note (and following suit).
[Related: Are Smart Home Devices Secure?]
3. Eco-Conscious Service and Design
As a welcome reprieve from pandemic-related restaurant tech trends, people are largely more environmentally conscious than ever before. This has led to a rise in restaurants using digital options to decrease their carbon footprint — and appeal to eco-conscious guests. Some restaurants even use electric vehicles for food delivery.
With options like Lighting Control, Climate Control and Motorized Window Treatments, you can better your guests’ dining experience and lessen your environmental impact through reduced energy usage. Plus, the less you need to heat and cool your restaurant, the lower your utility bills (and environmental impact) are.
4. Integrated, Streamlined Systems
In another clear move toward convenient digital services, restaurant tech trends are leaning into integrated systems.
That means clear, cohesive, hassle-free communication across devices. Point-of-sale (POS) systems that run through all your restaurant’s hardware are a hallmark of this restaurant tech trend. These systems make inventory management, payment processing, accounting and more accessible from any secure, connected device.
This trend also extends to physical locations. With Centralized Distribution setups, your restaurant’s electronics are organized, accessible and secure. A smart, considerate audiovisual (AV) company even ensures the setup matches your decor.
5. Digital Reservations
If guests can order and pay digitally, then why worry about juggling phone calls for seat reservations? With software like Eat App and OpenTable, guests can find seating and times ideal for their schedules. Some even integrate with POS systems, which further heightens the previously noted streamlined systems restaurant tech trend.
With Wayfinding and Digital Signage, guests can view your floor plan, check out your menu and take further advantage of smart scheduling for a thoroughly modern dining experience.
6. Artificial Intelligence and Drone Delivery
Well, with digital menus, orders, payments and reservations, why not go fully digital with contactless food delivery?
With systems grounded in artificial intelligence (AI), some major franchises are unveiling drone delivery options. This high-tech restaurant trend is still in its early stages, but e-commerce giants like Amazon are already capitalizing on drone delivery’s quick, “I-need-it-now” nature.
Of course, there’s always the threat of theft or vandalism, but the core AI technology is here to stay. We’ll have to see whether this one’s in it for the long haul in the restaurant industry, however.
7. Voice Search Capabilities
Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana — voice search is everywhere, so naturally it’s extending to ordering from restaurants. Voice capability technology has made leaps and bounds in past years. With that technology already innate in smartphones and other smart devices, simply speaking to order from your favorite restaurant is on guests’ minds (and lips).
Restaurateurs would be wise to take note. Voice capability technology also decreases labor costs, and guests are particularly fond of voice search. In one study, 80% of respondents said they’d used voice search to look for a restaurant.
We think this restaurant tech trend will stick around — likely for the foreseeable future as AI and voice tech continue to grow smarter and sharper.
8. Hyper-Personalized Marketing
With the rise of modern data collection, marketers are laser-focused in their pursuit of personalized marketing. When guests view menus, order food and have food delivered digitally, they leave swaths of information about their preferences and demographics.
In the restaurant industry, this means catering your advertising accordingly. According to one study, 80% of consumers said they’d trust restaurants with their personal data if they thought it would lead to a better dining experience.
In turn, this ties into personalization, which we wouldn’t really call a restaurant tech trend. It’s actually more of a reality that guests expect and truly want. If it applies to other areas (like retail and hospitality), it applies to restaurants.
Stay Current With Restaurant Tech Trends
Call (425) 655-5052 or complete our contact form to learn more. We’re happy to answer your questions!
Featured image via Pexels