Following the pandemic, technology has become more of a staple in the food and beverage industry. Besides incorporating QR codes on tabletops and allowing for more order and delivery services, restaurants are continuing to improve their day-to-day operations and step into the future.
According to the 2022 foodservice trend report by Nestle Professional, contactless payment, ordering kiosks and inventory management software have increased almost 50% following the pandemic. The industry has a forecasted annual growth rate of 13.8% due to the increasing digitalization of food services. How are these numbers generated? Let’s break down a few reasons why technology is becoming the new normal.
In a recent report from the National Restaurant Association, it shows roughly half of restaurant operators find their biggest challenge to be recruiting and retaining workers. Tied with an increase in food and production costs, inflation is an added challenge to the shortage of those willing to work. One way some restaurants are combating the labor shortage and costs is to incorporate more ordering kiosks. According to a study performed by Tillster, 65% of customers reported being more inclined to visit a restaurant if more self-service kiosks were offered. What was once a popular item to appear in fast food restaurants, such as McDonald’s, kiosks have begun popping up more and more in sit down chains and independent restaurants following COVID-19. Chili’s self-ordering kiosks saw an incredible 20% increase in dessert sales.
These kiosks allow for contactless service, incorporate images for each menu option and allow for customers to truly personalize their order based on dietary preferences and potential food allergies. It’s also a great way for restaurants to upsell products by drawing the consumer to something new with increase ticket costs by upselling appetizers or deserts through appetizing food photography.
Food waste = back of the house artificial intelligence
What does your inventory look like in the back of the house? Many restaurants are now relying on automating their systems for inventory management in order to reduce the amount of time it takes to perform this task. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is helping restaurants reduce food waste by keeping stock at the right level. This AI software also allows restaurants to track sales trends to help predict how to smoothly operate during certain windows of the day. For example, Popmenu shared that McDonald’s started using AI in 2019 to forecast order trends and what to have cooked during the most popular times of the day in order to cut down on drive-through wait times.
Adopting technology both in restaurants and at home
A study from PitchBook shows a major increase in investments in e-commerce platforms and food tech startup companies, with venture capital spending more than $10 billion across 241 deals. Big tech spending is predicted to increase by 2023, especially amid labor shortages and inflation. Datassential’s Restaurant of the Future keynote report shows that 85% of consumers either use a mobile app for food-related purposes, or they are interested in doing so. This means adopting technology in this industry isn’t just an option, it’s a mandatory move in order to stay up to date in the industry.
Even companies like Uber Eats are building on its substantial growth in food deliveries following the 2020 pandemic. New features of the company include adding to its U.S. grocery delivery service. Customers are now able to shop 24/7 even if the grocery store isn’t open to be able to select the earliest available delivery window. Grocery delivery for Uber carried the company while restaurants shut down through COVID-19, and this year alone, the company reported $2.52 billion in revenue in its first quarter.
Who we are
Fridge is an award-winning, boutique creative agency dedicated to the food and beverage industry. For over 20 years, Fridge has provided services ranging from traditional advertising and design to customized digital solutions. As an energetic, creative team, we focus on moving consumers to think, act and buy by not being afraid to color outside the lines. We listen, we analyze and we probe your business challenges from every angle. Then, we find creative solutions that exceed your expectations and deliver measurable success.