Payments, POS and Drones Top HT’s List of Most-Read Restaurant Stories of 2021

In this special recap, HT counts down the most-read restaurant technology stories of the year.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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2021 books

As 2021 comes to a close, HT takes a look back at the most-read restaurant stories on Hospitality Technology.  In addition to HT's own groundbreaking research, technology to improve CX, contactless payments, and imagining future solutions were among the year’s hot topics. 

ICYMI: HT counts down the most read hotel technology stories here. 


10. Brinker, Flytrex Team Up on Drone Delivery

Stories involving drones and robotic delivery always attract a lot of eyeballs. This one, about Brinker piloting drone delivery for its virtual wing brand, It’s Just Wings, was among the most-read of the year. Get the scoop hereAlso getting a lot of clicks:  Flytrex raised $40M in its latest funding round. 

It’s worth noting that 2021 was a year marked by big investments in restaurant technology. Recent headlines include: Paradox, a conversational recruiting platform, announced a $200M Series C investment. Union, a hospitality engagement platform, raised $22M earlier this month. Plate IQ raised $160M.

Recent, high profile IPOs and acquisitions in the restaurant tech space include SpotOn acquisition of Dolce Software, and the digital and mobile commerce platform Appetize.  HungerRush’s acquisition of Menufy.  On the M&A front, FAT Brands bought Fazoli's for $130M.  On the vendor side, Punchh was acquired by ParTechnology and Restaurant365 Bought Compeat.  First Watch filed to go public, and Toast filed for an $100M IPO. Online ordering company Olo held its IPO in March.


9. MURTEC Highlight Hub 2021

Confession time: This isn’t a story but the landing page for the MURTEC content hub.  Months after its debut, operators continue to check out the wealth of educational sessions and vendor information from MURTEC, which was online everywhere April 13 and 14. All sessions and vendor information are conveniently located in this content hub. Did you miss the insightful keynote with Taco Bell’s Vadim Parizher, The Connected Restaurant: How Edge, IoT and E-commerce Can Transform the Industry?  Want to learn best practices from the industry’s hottest virtual brands?  Bookmark this page now and check them out on your schedule. All MURTEC 2021 sessions are now on demand. in the MURTEC Content Hub.


8. 2022 POS Software Trends Report: Integration, Mobility & Analytics

This report, released in early December, quickly racked up page views.  Restaurant operators are unleashing POS to deliver omnichannel experiences wherever guests prefer. According to HT’s research, restaurant operators are eager to keep pushing point-of-sale software, releasing it from its traditional fixed position and either physically (via mobile devices) or metaphorically (via integration) allowing POS to meet guests and staff at a variety of touchpoints and channels. Also, see what new enhancements are on the horizon from POS vendors.  


7. How to Welcome Guests Back Into Restaurants

This interactive graphic, released in spring 21, quickly garnered thousands of hits from restaurants looking for ‘the way’ to reopen.  No doubt there continues to be new expectations for safety and cleanliness and a preference for touch-free experiences wherever possible. It’s up to you to put them at ease. This special interactive graphic will show you how. 


6.  Digital payments: An Imperative for Restaurants

Consumers around the world are developing a strong preference for “everything digital” — and businesses continue to deliver on the promise. Restaurants are no exception, with operators answering the call by introducing digital menus, digital signage, digital ordering — and digital payments. In fact, offering digital payment options is critical for restaurants given consumers’ ever-increasing desire for them — a desire that’s especially marked among Millennial and GenZ consumers. Here's what you need to know now!  


5. Recover, Reinvent and Prevail with Smart POS

For every restaurant, COVID-19 has put a premium on meeting the customer’s needs at the point of sale. POS demands can be significantly different depending on the size of the business. But one thing remains constant: effective printing solutions are a key component for any restaurant that hopes to thrive in the current climate. This sponsored content from Epson helps restaurants of all sizes find the perfect combination of function and value.


4. HT Talk Episode 4: Jon Taffer's Kitchen of the Future

This podcast is among the most-viewed restaurant content on the HT site. HT caught up with Jon Taffer as he was preparing to open the first Taffer's Tavern, in Alpharetta, Georgia. Then about nine months later, HT caught up with Taffer again about his red-hot restaurant concept that is heavy on cutting-edge restaurant tech, Revisiting Jon Taffer's Restaurant of the Future


 3. Restaurant Payments Think Tank: What’s Next for Restaurant Payments and Ecommerce

Adding payment options is a top priority for restaurants in 2022, according to HT’s 2022 POS Software Trends ReportAs digital engagement, ordering and payments grow, restaurant operators need to think like retailers. For this special report, HT gathered a panel of restaurant operators to share how to think like an ecommerce brand and how to avoid common pitfalls.   If you haven’t already, this is a must-read for operators looking to add payment solutions.  Bookmark it now.


2. 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study: Powering Hospitality’s Recovery

The second most-read story of the year is HT’s 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study: Powering Hospitality’s Recovery. Hospitality is open for business, and this HT study, now in its 10th year, zeroes in on what hospitality customers really want from technology now? (Spoiler alert:  Free Wi-Fi is table stakes at restaurants and hotels. Plus, how customers feel about delivery may surprise you.)  After more than a year of disruption, the human touch — assisted and augmented by innovative solutions — is more in demand than ever. Read the full report here.


And the most-read restaurant story of the year? 

1.Restaurant Technology Study 2021: Building the Next Normal

Now in its 23rd year, HT's Restaurant Technology Study is a respected source of strategic, data-driven insights for the restaurant industry. This year's report, Building the Next Normal, consolidates the lessons learned in 2020 and reveals the path forward as restaurants build their next normal. Bookmark this research now and watch the accompanying 30-minute webinar, How Restaurants are Building the Next Normal, for additional insights.

By the way, the survey for the 2022 Restaurant Technology Study is out in the field now. If you’re a restaurant operator and have not done so already, we would really appreciate your input. The survey, located here, takes about 10 minutes to complete. Thank you in advance from HT!  We literally can not do this industry benchmark without you!