Over the past three years, the restaurant industry has pivoted to an extent that even experts could not have predicted—curbside pickup, QR code menus, and a heavy reliance on delivery services have all been key themes. Although COVID-19 in North America is largely in the past, many restaurants are still working to recover from the losses it presented. For example, menu prices rose by an average of nearly three percent between March 2021 and March 2022. In 2023, tools and tactics promoting cost efficiency will be a priority. Here are the top tech trends of the restaurant industry set to streamline day-to-day business routines while minimizing costs.
Contactless Dining Options
Patrons are eager to continue eating at your restaurant, but they want to do it on their terms, meaning that flexibility is key. Takeout, curbside pickup, delivery, and onsite dining are all valuable options, and present unique pros and cons to different customers. Similarly, while many consumers are comfortable returning to pre-COVID protocols, 82% of customers prefer that restaurants continue offering contactless payment (like QR codes and tap payments). Be sure to provide a variety of ordering, payment, and dining options to keep your customers feeling comfortable and safe.
Research shows that 43 percent of all U.S. restaurant customers are members of at least one loyalty program in the restaurant industry, with 38 percent of patrons saying that loyalty programs encourage them to spend more on food orders. Right now, consumers are tightening their budgets, and are only interested in spending their money on brands they've deemed trustworthy and will provide a return on their investment. These studies suggest that consumers will be more interested in loyalty programs providing instant gratification, such as menu discounts, personalized offers, or exclusive deals. In addition to being a powerful marketing tool, customer loyalty programs are a proven method for driving sales, with 56 percent of customers saying they'd be willing to spend more with a brand they're a loyalty member of, even if there are cheaper options.
Automation and Integration
In 2023, restaurant owners are turning to technology to help fill in the gaps caused by record labor shortages. With 80 percent of restaurant and food service operators reporting challenges in hiring staff, nearly two out of three restaurant owners believe that automating their workflows will be a key part of the solution. In practice, this can be a variety of tools, applications, and programs, such as:
- Online ordering management to streamline the checkout process, add additional upselling and cross-selling touchpoints, identify best-selling menu items, and integrate your customer loyalty program with your online ordering site.
- Cloud connectivity to maintain an overhead view of all your restaurant locations in near real-time.
- Third-party integrations to allow you to keep a finger on the pulse of data across delivery services with one seamless, centralized workflow.
- Delivery software that allows you to create custom delivery zones while offering live traffic updates and recommended routes to optimize delivery times.
Smarter Reporting and Insights
Nearly three out of four restaurant owners believe that smart technology is part of the solution to rising costs and ongoing staffing shortages. Restaurants are already producing massive amounts of data. Restaurant owners are looking to adopt POS systems with cloud functionality. SpeedLine's Cloud Reporting & Analytics harnesses data and helps restaurant owners understand what is happening in their business. The system helps identify high and low-performing stores, measure KPIs, set up alerts to proactively identify suspicious activity (such as high levels of void entries, which often suggest employee theft), and more.
In 2023, restaurants will rely on technology designed to help streamline their services while minimizing costs. Some of the most promising trends for the next year will be:
- Contactless ordering and payment options
- Loyalty programs that provide instant gratification
- POS systems that:
- Seamlessly integrate with other software
- Automate workflows
- Offer smarter reporting and insights
The tools above will allow restaurant owners to identify areas of opportunity while minimizing unnecessary spending. To learn more about the strategies and tactics seasoned restaurant owners use to maximize profits, read How Small Restaurants are Maximizing their Operating Hours.
Posted on Tue, Dec 20, 2022 @ 08:12 AM.
Updated on December 20, 2022 @ 5:48 PM PST.