With the rate at which technology is transforming everyday life for consumers, it’s really no surprise that these changes are seeping into every viable industry – including hospitality! Mobile payments and a variety of POS advancements have already taken hold in restaurants, but 2019 is likely to bring a bevy of other long-lasting big restaurant trends. It’s probably no surprise that dinner reservations are becoming more streamlined, but did anyone see augmented reality having a seat at the table?
Let’s take a closer look at five restaurant technology trends that are likely to shake up the restaurant industry in 2019 and beyond:
01 Predictive Ordering
Though it’s been around for a few years, the use of predictive ordering is poised to skyrocket in 2019. This technology analyzes a restaurant’s previous ordering patterns and sales history to predict what will be needed as well as when it will be needed. Predictive ordering can significantly reduce food waste and human error. Instead of requiring employees to spend time reviewing relevant information, predictive ordering can automatically place orders for items and products needed in the restuarant. The end results are a more effective inventory, a reduction in costs, and a more efficient use of time.
02 Further Adoption of Paperless Service
Consumers are more comfortable than ever using their phones and tablets to make purchases. Though this is evident from the growth of online shopping, fast food and fast casual restaurants are also seeing a vast increase in preorders from mobile devices. Many franchises allow customers to place orders ahead of time so they will be ready upon arrival, and some even encourage these orders through limited-time offers and coupons. The growth of popular apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash is also contributing to this change.
The advent of mobile orders has led to restaurants providing digital ordering in-house as well. Instead of using paper menus or giving orders to servers face-to-face, diners are given the option of using touchscreens to make transactions. These digital methods are also often cashless. Instead of offering printed receipts, digital receipts can be emailed or sent in text messages.
Aside from customers simply being comfortable with this method of ordering, it also often proves to be faster and more convenient. Customers get their food faster than ever before, and restaurants can more efficiently allocate their labor. In addition, digital ordering makes it easier to upsell and cross-sell.
03 Streamlining Online Reservations
It’s no secret that online reservations became more convenient when smartphones became prevalent, but it took a little time for the process to become fully streamlined. In the past, customers often used social media or search engines to decide where to dine, but another step was required to actually make a reservation. However, more recently, search engines and social media websites are allowing customers to make reservations in their own platforms.
Making the online reservation process more intuitive and streamlined will likely increase the number of reservations a restaurant sees, which is always important.
04 Augmented Reality and Immersive Experiences
Some restaurant technology trends are practical, while others can be more sensational. In a cutthroat industry like hospitality, restaurant owners will do almost anything to set themselves from the competition. One way we could see restaurants do this is through augmented reality and immersive experiences. These captivating technologies are already making waves, and what better way to use them than to show menu items in a new light? The ability to show diners a 3D rendering of meals could be a fantastic way to increase foot traffic and a practical way to help an indecisive diner make a choice.
05 Better Digital Inventory Management
Inventory management is one of the most frequent causes of headaches for restaurants. Whether it’s employee theft, tracking food costs, or dealing with low stock levels, inventory management can really hurt the bottom line. However, digital inventory management is hoping to change that in 2019. This technology can help restaurants be proactive when it comes to unusual sales spikes, and it can also cut down on employees over-pouring drinks at the bar. With so much of a restaurant’s profits tied up in inventory, it’s more important than ever to go digital.
If you’re ready to upgrade your restaurant point of sale to reflect these growing trends, contact us to discuss your options!