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Four Restaurant Trends That Are Here to Stay

The pandemic pushed new technology into restaurants and why it’s not going away.

During COVOID-19 many kitchens and restaurants were forced to adopt new technology solutions to better serve customers, and in many cases, stay alive.

As restrictions on bars and restaurants increased, establishments needed to adapt quickly to stay in business. With closures, reduced capacity, and limited hours of operations, businesses turned to online ordering, delivery and pickup.

While no one wants to go back to the beginning of the pandemic, there’s no denying there were positive changes that addressed customer convenience. Now that these new technologies are in place and customers have adapted to them, these systems and efficiencies are here to stay.

1. Online Ordering

As many restaurants moved to take-out only, online ordering became a fast and efficient way for customers to put in an order. Digital orders in August 2021 compared to August 2019 are up 131 percent, and down three percent from August 2020, according to NPD Group research.


37% of restaurants say integration with a third-party delivery system is driving their next POS upgrade -- HT's 2021 POS Software Trends report

With this, restaurants big and small have an opportunity to make improvements to their online ordering systems to meet this increase in demand and future-proof for a convenient trend that isn’t going anywhere. Many businesses have been looking for a solution that can easily integrate online ordering into their current environment, and POS printer solutions are available that can capture orders online and print directly to the kitchen.

2. Kitchen Efficiencies

Many restaurants and kitchens have traditionally leveraged what we might call “old-school” methods – handwriting orders on paper tablets or directly writing the order info and name on a bag or box of food.

As kitchens were stretched to their limits in the last year and a half, they looked to solutions that would make them as efficient as possible, including Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) that would help to streamline kitchen operations and facilitate the drink and food ordering fulfillment process. An efficient printer/controller can seamlessly connect to POS systems and directly drive kitchen displays, perfect for controlling order information displays, as well as interactive web-based kiosks that offer self-assisted ordering.

In addition, kitchens turned to liner-free label printers to support order delivery workflow – making it easy to print and personalize on-the-spot packaging labels for both online and to-go orders.

3. Easy Order Pickup

Convenient in-store pickup stations, drive-thru and curbside pick-up became the norm in 2020. Restaurants turned to technology solutions to optimize the ordering process and meet customers’ demands for full control of their purchases.

Restaurants with buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) services were well-positioned to win over customers during the pandemic, and that will remain true as shoppers are now accustomed to the experience and convenience.


32% of restaurants say using data to understand guest preferences and behavior is driving their next POS upgrade -- HT's 2021 POS Software Trends report

4. Self-Ordering

Restaurants were met with rising customer demand for contactless payment and socially distanced experiences – whether they were dining at the restaurant or buying online to pick up. Self-service kiosk solutions became essential for hospitality merchants, and many invested in complete POS solutions to help maximize operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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2020 pushed many kitchens and restaurants to adopt new technology to better meet customers’ needs, and now with those systems in place, customers have come to rely on the convenience, flexibility and shorter wait times that these advancements bring. While businesses are open and busier than they’ve been in months, these technologies are now embedded in our society, and are here to stay.

Mauricio Chacon is group product manager for Epson’s North America point-of-sale (POS) solutions division, leading product marketing, business strategy and product launches. Over the course of his career, he has introduced a variety hardware solutions for B2B IT, Retail, Hospitality, OEM, and Government verticals.

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