When it comes to adopting new tech, the restaurant industry doesn’t typically run up to the plate. Cut to 2020, the year that changed everything. Adapting to a new reality, restaurants had to embrace not only food trends for 2022, but some new tech as well, even just a little, to stay on top of their game. Now, more and more are using it to thrive in this newly connected and contactless era. So what digital gadgets, tools, and trends should you be keeping an eye on to stay ahead of the competition? Feast your eyes on these.
This ultra-new technology is being tested by big companies like Google and Amazon, and is already showing great potential for the future of packaged goods delivery. Could food delivery be next? Just Eat has tested the technology and Dominos has actually already done this, bringing new meaning to the term “pie in the sky”. Back in 2016, they tested the concept out in New Zealand and have been perfecting the technology ever since. Could flying food really take off in Canada? It’s definitely something we’re keeping on our radar.
This is one pandemic trend that’s here to stay. Customers don’t just want touchless ordering online, they want contact-free payment too (like through a smartphone or smartwatch). This concept has certainly been picking up steam in the last couple of years because of the pandemic and it will surely keep on keeping on. So, what does that mean for restaurateurs who want to come out on top? The sooner you can invest in and plan for a mobile and digital payment strategy, the better.
Chances are, you’ve encountered and interacted with a chatbot or two while doing your banking or navigating through a product-heavy site, but this is relatively new territory for restaurants. And it’s gaining a lot of traction. Not only can they be built quickly and easily, they serve as a 24/7 host ready to enhance the customer experience and help with everything from order placement to reservations to FAQs. They can even be used to make food and drink pairing suggestions.
In the past few years, this kind of self-serve technology has already become a staple at fast food and casual chains around the world, but it’s become increasingly popular with independents. What was once seen as an expensive and impersonal option is now being considered a cost-effective way to minimize face-to-face contact. Even in full-service restaurants where it doesn’t seem like the best fit, some are using the tech to streamline their takeout orders while reducing wait times, improving order accuracy, and boosting check sizes.
Voice AI is another tech darling that has made major advancements over the past couple of years. With the prevalence of voice-enabled tech and people spending more time at home, voice-activated ordering is changing the way customers order food. Global chains like Wendy’s and Pizza Hut have integrated with virtual assistants, like Alexa or Google Assistant to make ordering even easier. Some restaurants have even taken the tech further, using it to interact with their customers, like KFC Canada.
At the end of the day, adding new tech is an excellent way to enhance the customer experience—it helps you promote new ideas, stand out from the competition, and operate more efficiently. And we’ll be keeping our eye out for more.