Series: Restaurant Technology To Help You Thrive Post-Coronavirus

Throughout the Greater Sacramento Area we are entering Phase Two of reopening after COVID-19. That means that, for the first time in months, many restaurants are open for dine-in with a very different approach to service than we had before.

By Capital Rivers

Image: A drone delivering food. Learn about this and other restaurant technology trends.

It’s time to start thinking not just about the next few weeks, but about how your restaurant can thrive over the years to come. Part Two of our Podcast Series, The Future Is Now – Innovate Or Die addresses the restaurant technology trends that forward-thinking restaurateurs will need to embrace. 

Our last post in this series covered how restaurants needed to adapt as a result of COVID-19. This time, we’re looking forward. What’s happening in the restaurant industry, and how can you take advantage of it? These trends will help you use new technology to take advantage of how people want to be served today!

5 Forward-Thinking Restaurant Technology Trends You’ll Need To Embrace

#1: Modernized POS Software

POS providers are modernizing to provide seamless curbside pickup. This new experience allows restaurants to receive online orders quickly, and then be notified by geofencing tech on the guest’s expected arrival. This way, your restaurant can accurately gauge when to start the order so it’s warm and ready to go when the guest pulls up.

Looking to get started with smarter curbside pickup and delivery? Joe Blanton, the founder of Krush Burger, recommends SWIPEBY. This program is simple and easy to use, so you can get started right away!

#2: Drone Delivery

Once a reality exclusive to Sci-Fi movies or big names like Amazon, Google, and Uber, drone delivery is rapidly becoming more accessible.

According to a recent Forbes article, drones are currently being used to deliver medical supplies in North Carolina, and the FAA has granted UPS a special waiver to allow pilots to fly drones out of their line of sight. This is huge news because the line of sight rule had previously kept the idea of a drone delivery network to the realm of fantasy. 

It’s only a matter of time before this demand for delivery by drone hits the restaurant industry. This technology isn’t here yet, but it’s closer than you might think, so keep an eye out.

#3: A New Type Of Kitchen

In the months and years to come, expect more and more businesses to include ghost kitchens or kitchen automation in their business models. Formerly only viable options for big companies like DoorDash, automation and ghost kitchens are becoming more and more possible for smaller businesses.

In a ghost kitchen, all of the food is prepared to-go. As the demand for delivery and takeout increases, ghost kitchens are becoming a more popular option. Restaurant technology that allows for automation even furthers this consistency and efficiency. Expect to see prep work like cutting tomatoes or measuring out ingredients automated in the near future.

This new approach provides consistency in quality and experience for guests, which is crucial in the food business. 

#4: Smart Menus

Smart Menus are a reality in certain Starbucks and McDonalds locations right now, among other restaurants. Guests drive up and talk to a machine that presents the most up-to-date version of the menu to them automatically, in a beautiful high-tech format.

A smart menu removes the human element from ordering. This makes room for your team to focus on enhancing the guest’s experience as they deliver food to tables and improve human-to-human interaction where it counts.

#5: Artificial Intelligence

McDonald’s acquired the artificial intelligence company Dynamic Yield in March of 2019, drawing attention to the growing importance of AI for restaurants.

AI will revolutionize our efficiency and customer service. Guests will be able to drive up and talk to a machine that can speak any language and translate menus. Programs like Springboard allow restaurants to use facial recognition technology to read a guest’s mood, recognize repeat customers, etc. 

As AI becomes more accessible and affordable, it will become a possibility for even smaller restaurant businesses as they look to modernize.

These 5 restaurant technology trends will revolutionize the restaurant industry in the future, and these changes have only been accelerated by COVID-19. It’s time to start looking at options like these, not just to make it through the current moment, but to thrive in the future. Take a strategic look at your business model, each restaurant will have a unique plan and concept geared towards different tech solutions. To receive more forward-thinking content to help your restaurant thrive, subscribe to the Capital Rivers newsletter.