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New technologies and trends are transforming the restaurant industry in 2022

Published April 20, 2022

Since the invention of fire, technological advances have shaped the culinary world. The concept of being able to cook one’s food made eating safer, more consistent and downright more delicious. From there, technological advances have ranged from refrigerating devices and meat thermometers to air fryers. These technologies have made the preparation and consumption of food far easier for the cook and the consumer. And technology continues to shape every aspect of the dining experience, from food prep to ordering and payment.  

Think about all the restaurant technologies that facilitate your typical ordering process. Perhaps you made a reservation online a few days in advance. Maybe you placed an order to go through an app, paid for a meal by scanning your credit card or had food delivered via a third-party app. You’ve probably also encountered some sort of QR code to scan in order to access a restaurant’s menu and digitally place your order.

These innovations didn’t just spring up overnight. They required substantial financial and institutional investments. One would certainly hope that they improve the overall business operations and make life easier for the restaurant staff and the customers.

We spoke with five restaurant owners about the technological industry trends that they’ve found most helpful and critical to their businesses, from the most transformative hardware to software that they rely on daily.

What restaurant owners have to say?

Juan Fernando is the owner of the Mexican restaurant chain, La Parrilla. With over 20 locations in three different states, an integrated backend software is essential to ensure fluid communication and real-time updates so that no location is left behind.

This is why Juan has invested in an advanced point-of-sale (POS) platform, which helps restaurants with everything from transactions to online orders to create memorable dining experiences for customers.

Technology creates convenience for the customer

Technology plays a critical role in the consumer experience. For example, powered through the POS, robust online ordering systems allow customers to easily and intuitively place food orders for takeout and curbside pickup from any place at any time. Today, many restaurants offer contactless and mobile payment methods. For the customer, leveraging technology can make an experience quicker, more convenient and more interactive.

It also creates efficiency and offers business insights

For the staff, it’s all about creating a space where they can perform their jobs efficiently and accurately. Robust POS systems are often designed with the user in mind, so that each touchpoint is programmed in a way that makes the ordering and dining journey feel natural and cohesive. Leveraging technology for access to detailed reporting and analytics is also important for the business. This information keeps owners and operators up to date with their sales, forecast and numbers.

“We need to rely more on technology when it comes to understanding customer behavior,” said Fernando of La Parilla.  

A small number of restaurateurs enter the business with a passion for numbers and analytics, but this intelligent, data-driven approach is what defines the truly successful ones. Juan agreed, stating, “The data we’re collecting in these POS systems is very important when it comes to making decisions.”

Related: 4 critical questions to ask when shopping for a restaurant POS

Customer loyalty programs fuel growth

Customer loyalty programs provide restaurant owners another avenue of important data. For restaurants like La Parilla, turning regulars into loyal fans is important. Fernando said, “If you have regular customers coming in, a manager can send them free chips and queso or something. It’s very organic but we use the data to be even more intentional when it comes to guest recognition.” 

It’s a positive feedback loop: the more loyal customers are, the more they are rewarded. And if you have multiple restaurant locations and a robust POS system, you can keep the program connected no matter which outpost your customers visit. This offers unique solutions at the store and corporate level, thanks to innovations in data.

Branded mobile apps drive convenience and revenue

Another way that many restaurants have utilized technology is through a branded mobile app. Alex Brounstein, owner of the popular, Atlanta-based Grindhouse Killer Burgers chain, leverages a mobile app for his guests to enhance the customer experience. One key feature that Grindhouse uses often is QR codes at the counter. They’ve found that having this option available comes in handy for customers who may have forgotten their credit cards or want the convenience of paying with a mobile wallet. Besides the convenience, it also allows for organic upsell prompts. Alex explained, “It’s an incentive to spend more money by trying to earn more points to get a free burger or milkshake.”

While adopting new technologies can certainly seem like a headache, it’s essential to bring in new business, maintain existing customers and increase your restaurant’s revenue per person.

Once you’ve determined your business goals, consider how new technologies can set you up on the fast track to tremendous success.

Related: Havana Savannah increases loyalty user base with a branded mobile app

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