For many years, quick-serve restaurants (QSR), like McDonald’s, have had traditional drive-through and counter ordering options. Casual dining, such as Applebee’s, has always had a dine-in environment where you sit at a table, a server makes your experience enjoyable, and you don’t have to do the dishes.
But now, new restaurant technology trends are changing how we eat. As tech advances and consumer preferences change, the restaurant industry is adding and adapting to cutting-edge digital solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these trends in the restaurant technology landscape, requiring the restaurant industry to shift quickly in order to meet new market demands. These innovative processes are only set to keep profits high and maintain a healthy market in the future.
Here’s a look at the newest technology for restaurants coming to an eatery near you:
Robots and AI together are showing us new ways our food can be made and have become one of the most exciting restaurant industry technology trends. SPYCE in Boston was created to provide low-cost, yummy meals, powered by robots. Customers can order from devices in the store or online, robots grab the food and drop it in the wok – humans are only needed to add the final toppings and provide an excellent customer experience.
On the other end of the spectrum, Alibaba, a supermarket in Shanghai, is using robots to deliver food right to customer’s tables. Customers use an app to order and pick out fresh ingredients, then robots transport the food to the kitchen where the meal is cooked. When ready, the food is delivered to their assigned seat via a robot server.
A cloud kitchen, or ghost kitchen, is a commercial kitchen space that allows businesses to fulfill delivery and takeout items without the overhead of a brick-and-mortar location. As more consumers order delivery from apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats, a cloud kitchen is one restaurant technology solution making it easier for entrepreneurs to open a restaurant. A cloud kitchen requires minimal overhead and is ideal for chain restaurants to expand the delivery arm of their business.
As restaurant technology trends toward increased delivery service, which has already increased 150% from 2019 to 2020, restaurants are facing delayed wait times for in-house guests. Separating delivery orders from the main business can help improve operations and ensure consumers are getting their food fast. New and veteran restaurant owners can leverage cloud kitchens and restaurant ordering technology to process orders faster.
Ordering Ahead – Mobile & Online
Mobile orders used to be a wee 1.5% of QSR sales in 2015, which jumped to 11% in 2020 and is expected to be a whopping 20% by 2025. Today, restaurants are managing orders from many different apps and online ordering services. As consumer preference continues to trend toward mobile ordering, restaurants are hiring curbside or mobile order staff dedicated to processing these orders with iPads. Constantly checking Uber Eats and Yelp can be overwhelming. However, there are new restaurant technologies that can aggregate orders into one centralized system. Cake software is an example of this technology that can make this process more manageable.
Charging Solutions for Mobile Devices
There are a lot of new restaurant technologies available that have the potential to change the industry forever. What works and what doesn’t work will drive new adoption in the restaurant market. One thing that all these technologies have in common is the devices that make them work. Whether an iPad is being used to place an order made by robots or receive an online order – those devices must be charged and ready to go. Charging stations, like those offered by LocknCharge, are the perfect solution to ensure there is no device downtime. One of the most popular charging stations that restaurant operators prefer to ensure their devices are always charged and available is the Putnam Charging Station.
The Putnam has light indicators to ensure restaurant staff know which devices are fully charged (green), and which need additional charging (red). Plus, it comes pre-wired with fixed lightning cables to ensure cords are there when needed. Visit our restaurants charging stations page to see more examples of how restaurant operators are incorporating LocknCharge charging solutions into their restaurant technology stack.