Hospitality Technology Releases 21st Annual Restaurant Technology Study

Hospitality Technology is pleased to announce the release of its 21st annual Restaurant Technology Study, titled, “Exponential Digital Drives Quantum Convenience.” For more than two decades, Hospitality Technology has charted the budgets, business drivers and investment plans of restaurant companies across segments and brand sizes. The study has chronicled the growth of restaurant IT over a course where the pace of change and technological advancement has been exponential.

Data from previous reports shows that in the not-far-distant past, the key charge for IT deployments was to reduce operating costs and increase efficiency. With that operational focus, in 2008, casual dining establishments were leading in technology innovation, with 43% saying they led the competition compared to 32% of QSRs that claimed to be leaders. In 2019, the quick service space includes fast casual concepts. Combined, the vast majority (93%) claim to feel they lead in innovation. This isn’t necessarily false pride – as the more successful a brand is, the more likely they have been referred to as “technology companies that serve food.”

The 2019 study reveals that restaurants are placing hyper-focus on empowering diners with service options. Through illustrative and written analysis the report charts the budgets, strategy and investments of restaurant technology from what happened in 2018 to what is planned for 2019.


Key Findings include:

  • Restaurants are planning hardware upgrades with the largest portion of IT budgets being allocated here (23%). A telling byproduct of the fervor for delivery options is that the second greatest amount of IT spend will go to third party providers (21%).
  • As a strategic goal for technology, engaging with third-party delivery providers is a priority for 12% of overall respondents, but restaurants that consider themselves innovators in digital customer engagement put higher urgency here with 33% naming it top goal. 
  • The drive for providing new service and delivery options for diners crystallizes in investment plans for 2019. The top six investment areas for restaurant innovation is dominated by providing guests with personalized experiences. These include: third party delivery integration (48%), mobile payments (47%), digital ordering (45%), tableside ordering (34%), predictive analytics (34%) and interactive kiosks (32%).
  • These investment plans are mirrored in software rollout plans. The focus will be on digital ordering software upgrades and changes with 59% of restaurants putting IT dollars here. This is tied with mobile payments which sees 25% of restaurants adding the functionality for the first time, 26% making enhancements and another 8% changing suppliers.
  • As goes software, so goes hardware. Looking at installation plans for hardware POS  terminals, kiosks and tablets take the lion’s share of investment in 2019. Providing guests with the option to self-serve has driven more than a quarter of restaurants to plan to add kiosks for the first time and 19% of restaurants are adding tableside tablets for payment.

The leaders in the restaurant industry are proving that the focus on digital will be the source of growth. These digital components will be bolstered by data on both the customer side – to understand what guests want, where and how, and on the business side – to monitor, react and predict with attention on KPIs.

To download the 2019 Restaurant Technology Study, please visit:

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