Restaurant technology has accelerated in the past decade, with new, exciting advancements pushing the industry forward every year. In 2022, we're seeing trends move toward solving challenges in the industry that many owners are facing.
Here are six of the most exciting advancements in restaurant industry technology.
6 Restaurant Technology Solutions to Help You Succeed in 2022 and Beyond
1. App Integration for Your Back-of-House
Apps are becoming an integral part of restaurant tech, and we're seeing a major uptick in businesses focusing on using new technology in their back-of-house operations. You've likely been using apps in your marketing and front-end, but the backend is a little different.
The apps driving businesses forward:
- Integrate with the popular third-party delivery services
- Offer real-time ordering tracking
- Coordinate back-of-house operations to fulfill orders faster
- Notify customers of delivery time and food ETA
What we're seeing as one of the restaurant technology trends that are having the largest impact is the back-of-house and front-of-house solutions working seamlessly together to make the ordering process easier and more convenient
In a time when many restaurants are still trying to find their way back to consumers, apps are one differentiating factor that has truly stood out among the rest. Consumers want to be able to tap on an app and place orders.
And staff also want to connect to the back-of-house in new, exciting ways.
Apps are filling the void and allowing these wants to become a reality in 2022. If you're ignoring the power that apps bring to eateries, it's time to review and adopt apps that can make your business more efficient.
Efficiency is one area of business that every restaurant tries to focus on. If you've struggled to add new restaurant technology that actually makes your operations more streamlined, you may want to invest in self-ordering solutions.
This tech allows customers to use a simple interface to look through your menu, customize orders and place them. Self-ordering options work to:
- Improve overall front-of-house efficiency
- Reduce customer wait time
- Eliminate errors
- Speed up food delivery
- Improve customer satisfaction
If the customer opts to pay through the kiosk, this alleviates the need for multiple cashiers. Kiosks are an upfront investment, which holds many businesses back from making the investment.
However, due to the lower labor requirements in the front-of-house operations, such as not needing as many cashiers, recuperating the expense is often very quick.
Note: Kiosks and self-ordering options should be used with the understanding that apps are poised to overtake them in the future. In fact, if you're developing an app, it may make more sense to invest in the addition of self-ordering features.
3. QR Code Integration
Are you skeptical about using QR codes? There was a time when people thought these codes would be the last technology in the restaurant industry to be adopted. But Square reports that after the pandemic, 45% of restaurants planned to add these codes to their menus.
QR codes are more for efficiency than anything else, and it's going to be used frequently in the following areas of business:
- Menu ordering to reduce the workload on waitstaff and lower the rate of errors, too
- Payments of the future may be made using generated dynamic QR codes
The power of QR codes is yet to be fully seen and understood. Industry insiders expect tabletop ordering to be augmented or replaced with solutions that use these codes. Statistically, it seems customers would, at the very least, like the opportunity to use QR technology at eateries.
Additionally, of those that have used these codes, 70% say that they've had a good experience with them.
4. Machine Learning, Drive-thru Automation
Technology in the restaurant industry is moving away from staffing restaurant tech and more towards automation. One solution that has a lot of restaurant owners excited for the future is drive-thru automation.
These solutions are highly advanced and:
- Upsell to customers and offer them items that are commonly ordered at the same time
- Use facial recognition to help repeat customers make orders quickly
- Learn customer habits and what items to recommend
For many restaurants, machine learning and drive-thru automation are things that will become the norm quickly. Automating the drive-thru reduces a lot of overhead and ensures errors are kept to a minimum when ordering. From a revenue standpoint, these drive-thru solutions will push revenue to new limits with data-driven upsells.
5. Smart Kitchens
Even chefs are finding that robotics and artificial intelligence can help them improve their efficiency. We're years away from true smart kitchens taking over the kitchen, but we're seeing a lot more restaurants invest in this technology.
One uptick that has become popular in recent years is that many upscale kitchens are investing in kitchen assistants.
Often, these assistants offer:
- Cooking very simple ingredients
- Seasoning foods
- Running the fry station
Interestingly, we're seeing robots take over singular tasks. For example, your robot may season food or cook toast. These menial tasks often take up a lot of the chef's or assistant's time.
When robots are tasked with these items, they reduce the overall workload for the kitchen and streamline it.
More advanced robots are making their way into kitchens, and most are in the prototype stages. Some startups are using cameras and analyzing the world around the robots to help improve employee proficiency with data-driven recommendations.
6. Big Data Analytics
Finally, the last tech that we expect to grow in demand this year is big data analytics. Your restaurant has a lot of valuable data that it's not utilizing to its fullest extent. For example, you can use big data to help with:
- Food recommendations and upsells
- Marketing to customers
- Learning customer habits and loyalty
Once your business collects data, it's only effective when you can make use of it. Big data analytics will allow you to use your data to improve efficiency, customer satisfaction and so much more.
Now that you've seen how technology is changing the restaurant industry, it's time to begin integrating solutions into your operations. Businesses often want to make small, incremental changes instead of overwhelming their customers with too many changes at once.