5 Restaurant Tech Trends that Will Take Off in Second Half of 2020
In the wake of the global pandemic, food safety and customer satisfaction are more important than ever before. As restaurants reopen, many owners are utilizing technology to cut costs and improve quality. It is important that owners are aware of emerging technological trends in order to remain competitive.
Below are five restaurant technology trends for the second half of 2020.
1. Cloud-Based Point of Sale Systems
Cloud-based point of sale (POS) systems have many benefits for restaurant operators. They provide greater visibility into key metrics such as inventory costs and labor utilization which can be used to optimize menu planning and staffing. For owners with multiple restaurant locations, a cloud POS system is essential for streamlining operations. Cloud-based systems also allow employees to complete tasks such as remotely placing orders or charging cards.
Cloud POS software is also easily integrated into exciting systems, with upgrades being done remotely and free of charge. In addition, many of these systems have “offline modes” that are able to keep a restaurant functioning in the event of an internet outage.
2. Kitchen Display Systems
Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) help optimize back-of-house processes by linking a restaurant’s kitchen and POS system. This integration enables constant communication between the front and back end staff, ultimately improving the accuracy and consistency of orders. KDS also monitors inventory so that employees can update the menu when something is out of stock.
With tracked inventory, restaurants can better account for peak hour orders and ensure that popular meals are always available. Furthermore, KDS tracks meal delivery times so that guests do not receive cold food. KDS allows chefs to simplify the food preparation process, giving them more time to focus on the quality of each meal.
3. IoT and Smart Sensors
Maintaining the safety and quality of food in transport can be difficult as it is often passed between several parties before arriving at a restaurant. Due to the complexity of the foodservice supply chain, being able to effectively track orders is critical.
The growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors has allowed restaurants to optimize the transport of their goods. For example, RFID tags embedded in cargo provide owners with real-time updates on the location of their shipments. Deliveries can also be outfitted with additional trackers to monitor temperature, product damages, light exposure, humidity, and more. Pairing these metrics with machine learning platforms provides further insights into the shipment of goods and helps owners take action sooner should there be a problem with a delivery.
4. Automated Food Preparation
Many restaurants are automating basic food preparation to increase kitchen capacity and operational efficiency. By using robots to perform simple and repetitive tasks, chefs can focus on the finer details. Automation can also improve the consistency and safety of meals, as it provides end-to-end traceability during the preparation process. This helps owners ensure that they are in compliance with food safety regulations as they have complete control over how food is prepared.
5. Self-Service Kiosks
While larger restaurants have been using self-service kiosks for some time, they will become more commonplace throughout the rest of 2020 and into the new year. Having a self-service kiosk helps restaurants save on staff resources as they allow employees to spend more time on food preparation rather than taking orders. For customers, kiosks can reduce wait times. Self-service kiosks also allow for greater meal customization, as customers have access to food information when placing orders.
Similar to POS systems, self-service kiosks also provide analytics that restaurant owners can use when creating menus or ordering supplies. While the initial investment may be substantial, research shows that on average, customers spend anywhere from 15–30 percent more when ordering through kiosks. Combined with the money saved on labor costs, using self-service kiosks can improve restaurant profitability and customer satisfaction.
Following emerging technological trends helps owners stay ahead of the curve and offer customized dining experiences for customers. With restaurant technology becoming more widely available, there will be major improvements in the quality of meals and the level of service customers receive. It is important that owners adapt their business models to differentiate their services and drive business.
About the Author
Matt Jaffee is co-founder of FSX, or Food Service Exchange, is an online marketplace for the commercial food service equipment and supply industry, focusing on overstock, discontinued and scratch & dent inventory.