The restaurant industry has been quite resistant to implementing technology and digital innovations. The change came in 2020-2021, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced food and beverage outlets to look beyond the traditional.Many restaurants have turned to tech in the last couple of years, even if reluctantly, to adapt to a new reality. 

In addition to the use of additional sanitation measures, the new reality also means more proximity technology. It has turned out that technology and innovation have not only helped but even saved restaurants, which have transformed the way they operate to not only survive but thrive in this new era of connectivity and contactless technology.   

What would have been considered superfluous just a few years ago has now become the gold standard. 

From online ordering, self-checkouts and touchless payments to delivery and pick-up, the F&B industry can no longer afford to ignore the trends that are helping businesses reinvent themselves to remain relevant and competitive. 

What necessarily should restaurateurs who want to stay competitive keep in mind? 

Online ordering systems and delivery apps 

Market research indicates that growth in the restaurant industry will be entirely driven by off-premises consumption, so leveraging technology is not only about streamlining operations and service delivery, but also about building a whole new vision for the Food & Beverage industry. 

Due to imposed restrictions and even closure, online food orders and contactless home-deliveries have come to the rescue. And this service is here to stay as diners grow accustomed to getting the food they want when, where and how they want it. The food delivery market is now worth more than $150 billion globally, which has more than tripled since 2017 largely attributed to the pandemic, according to statistics from McKinsey. 

Third-party food delivery apps such as Door Dash, UberEats, and Foodpanda are an important part of the market, as they are the only option for restaurants that are unable to offer in-house food ordering and delivery services.   

 But as many diners report a preference for ordering directly from restaurants, we can expect to see restaurants following the lead of larger fast-food chains and investing in developing their own integrated online platforms and apps.  

In this way, restaurant owners are assured that the food ordering process is under their control from start to finish, making it easier to maintain a high level of service. 

Whether you’re just growing your restaurant or you’re part of a large fast-food chain, you can take the business into your own hands – check out how we can help you do that with our apps. 

Kiosks 

Kiosks are another example of the use of technology in handling the ordering process. 

They are especially helpful in crowded restaurants where customers want fast service. Some franchises—particularly quick-service restaurants (QSRs)—have been adding touch-screen ordering kiosks to their locations. A major advantage of the kiosks is that they allow customers to complete and finalize the order themselves, including payment. By having guests personally enter their order into the system and verify it at the final stage, mistakes are minimized. 

Check out our work for KFC, where we developed software for Kiosks. 

The devices, thanks to their software, allow us to select exactly the products we want. The user-friendly design makes it easy for even people who are not proficient with technological devices to place an order without standing in line. 

 These kiosks can also suggest new menu items to repeat customers based on previous orders. Ordering kiosks are proving both effective and increasingly popular as a means of streamlining customer service in QSRs. 

Accelerating digitalization in the restaurant industry 

The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on the restaurant industry, but it also helped it make changes that, sooner or later, would become inevitable.  Restaurateurs have been forced to reimagine the business, and those that have managed to adapt to the pandemic reality have achieved technological milestones.   

That’s because technology offers unique solutions to help restaurants stand out, and owners can run their businesses more efficiently. This, in turn, leaves more time and energy to focus on the most important thing, which is preparing excellent dishes that will delight guests.   

Thanks to digitization, customers can shop faster thanks to the availability of contactless payments and bypass the long queues that are a particular bane of fast-food chains. If you provide your guests with efficient and fast service, they will be more likely to visit your restaurant in the future. Customer loyalty is especially important in F&B industry. 

Most importantly, using digital platforms to help you with your hiring strategy and other backend processes lets you save precious time. Especially in the QSR industry, where everything seems to happen at the speed of lightning, having automated tools allow the managers to focus on more important tasks, i.e. actually running the restaurant. 

The digital revolution has occurred and it is the customers, along with their habits, that dictate the rules of the game for restaurateurs. Using the phone to run daily errands has become the norm, so instead of being defensive about technology, consider implementing it and constantly improving your software solutions.