There have always been establishments serving up food, but restaurants of the past bear little resemblance to those of today. The technology being used in today’s restaurants separates them from restaurants of even a decade ago. Let’s take a look at some of this innovative tech used in contemporary restaurants, before considering the future of restaurant tech.
Future of Food Technology
Let the speculation begin! One good article on the future of restaurant technology suggests that while innovations have a large role in modern restaurants, there are limits. Millennials still prefer the human-touch while dining out—they overwhelmingly don’t want to research restaurants with an AI chat bot, wouldn’t book or confirm a restaurant serving with a thumbprint, and would not want to be served by a robot.
There is an important role for technology, but it should be used to heighten human interaction, not erase it. For example, it’s a standard trick for Maitre-Ds to know in advance what their regulars will order, but now instead of relying on memory for this it can be done efficiently and accurately with tags and a guest profile.
This will tell the restaurant and waiters if the guest coming is new or if it’s their twentieth time, as well as what they tend to order. This uses technology to establish a sense of familiarity with the guest that doesn’t feel cold or detached.
More restaurants will facilitate online booking, most likely: new research says that 60% of consumers use a smartphone to make a booking or reservation in advance while they’re out on the streets. There’s no reason not to cater to this demographic and do everything possible to bring them inside the restaurant
Contemporary Restaurant Technology
The Pre-Order/Pick-Up Station
Restaurants today interact with patrons before they even enter the premises in ways thought unimaginable only years ago. Now, clientele have the restaurant’s app, or a third-party app, which allow them to place an order before they even walk inside the restaurant. Their food or drink will already be paid for when they enter the premises, sitting and ready for them to pick-up in an especially designated section of the restaurant.
This kind of customer doesn’t only gain in convenience, sometimes restaurants offer special discounts to clientele who have downloaded the app.
Smart Phones Expand Delivery
Along the same lines, restaurants that didn’t, or couldn’t, offer delivery services can now partner with third-party companies which do offer delivery. This means the restaurants can access a much larger pool of potential patrons—anybody with the right food delivery app can order from that restaurant. The restaurant doesn’t need to set up the delivery infrastructure or pay for the labour, and clients don’t have to live in the same neighbourhood as a restaurant to try out its food.
The evolution of technology in the restaurant industry will continue, but no matter how much it grows the human touch will always play a fundamental role in dining out and the ritual of eating in general.