The Latest Restaurant Technology Trends: What’s Working and What Isn’t

Restaurant worker using technology

Restaurant technology development has taken off at an unprecedented pace in the last five years. Technology companies touted everything from flashy robots to sophisticated operating systems as “the next big thing” in restaurants. However, rapid development also means growing pains. Which of these restaurant technology trends are living up to expectations, and which trends simply are not working?

Robots in the Kitchen

Many in the restaurant industry have scoffed at robots in the kitchen, viewing them more as a publicity stunt than a functional solution. However, fast-casual concepts have taken the risk and opened new kitchens outfitted with robots that work alongside staff. Despite the sizable upfront investment, some restaurants like SweetGreen have successfully implemented this technology and are seeing financial rewards.

Loyalty Apps

Loyalty programs are nothing new in the restaurant industry. However, there has been a boom in restaurants ditching punch cards and investing in loyalty apps. Restaurants have seen mixed results, as their success is largely dependent on POS integration, whether diners will download the app, or whether the benefits are appealing to customers. Some have been able to successfully leverage customer data, while other restaurants simply do not have the resources to reap the benefits.

Voice Powered AI

Without even realizing it, you may have already encountered an AI-powered voice bot at the drive-through. Restaurants struggling with order errors and over-tasked employees have turned to AI to assist in handling drive-through orders. At first blush, this restaurant technology trend brings up memories of frustrating phone calls to help desks. However, in situations like drive-throughs, where interactions are transactional and narrow in scope, voice bots are proving successful.

Robot Delivery

Delivery robots were the darlings of the restaurant industry during COVID-19, especially in urban settings. However, as urgency fades past the pandemic, the technology’s development has slowed. These delivery robots are currently limited by difficulties navigating uneven sidewalks, crossing intersections within light changes, and preventing theft of food and technology.

Automated POS Systems

It is safe to say that POS automation is here to stay across the entire restaurant industry. There are a variety of successful systems to suit a restaurant’s operations and budget while helping them more accurately take payments, combine revenue streams, and collect data. However, the recent international McDonald’s outage has shown that relying too heavily on this technology leaves restaurants vulnerable. Though mobile POS systems provide immense benefits, restaurant owners must be ready in the event of a glitch in their system.

Hire Innovative Restaurant Talent

The most successful technologies are not magic bullets that can magically drive business or completely automate operations. Instead, strategic restaurant leaders have found the most success with technology that addresses the specific pain points unique to their business. Contact Horizon Hospitality to learn how our restaurant recruiters can find forward-thinking management for your restaurant.



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