Restaurant Technology Trends Changing the Game in 2019

From ghost restaurants to Augmented Reality, the restaurant industry is pushing boundaries to incorporate technology at a fast pace. These changes improve efficiency, reduce costs, and increase the restaurant’s profit margins. Stay ahead of the game with a look at this year’s most exciting technology trends.

Ghost Restaurants— “Ghost restaurants” are highly efficient spaces that don’t have storefronts like traditional eateries, hence the name. Instead, these kitchens are designed entirely for food delivery. Advances in communication, ordering, and delivery started this recent trend, which is now seeing another big boost through the incorporation of advanced computing. Although ghost restaurants are not new to 2019, the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence is poised to take them to the next level of efficiency and process management. AI learns, for example, which kitchen supplies to reorder and can be an invaluable tool in the restaurant’s data management plan. Restaurant owners may also utilize robotic arms that manage cooking operations, like flipping food on a grill.

Facial recognition payment technology— Frequently used in high-security offices, facial recognition software technology will be available to restaurants soon, but not for security purposes. The technology is geared to streamlining operations primarily for casual dining restaurants, reducing wait times and improving the customer experience. Not only will the restaurant remember that you ordered a steak last visit, but also that you enjoyed it medium rare. You’ll never go hungry again if you’ve left your wallet at home!

Augmented Reality—Restaurants are spending more money on ensuring customers have a visual ordering experience, especially because it affects the restaurant’s bottom line. Implementing Augmented Reality (AR) allows customers to use smart phones or restaurant iPads to view items on the menu via 3-D images. Restaurants saw a 25 percent increase in sales for certain menu items with the use of AR. The psychological effect of this visualization can also increase sales from foot traffic as passersby get a glimpse of the AR display.

Increased Security—The California Consumer Privacy Act takes effect in 2020, so restaurants are doing more to prioritize the protection of personal and transactional data. Guest data is critical to restaurant operations, from figuring out which ingredients to order to implementing food delivery. Nearly 34 % of restaurant guests report that they wouldn’t dine at a restaurant where a data breach occurred.  Protecting your restaurant from a breach includes understanding the data being collected, training employees on the proper use of the information, and choosing a reputable company to host the data. Improvements in data management software represent opportunities to increase data security through careful consideration of IT strategies and software and hardware partners.

Ridesharing Services—Ride sharing services like Uber have been popular for several years, but their offshoots, like Uber Eats and DoorDash, represent a new opportunity for restaurants to incorporate delivery services. This market is projected to grow 12% per year over the next five years. An unexpected implication of ride sharing is greater access to convenient parking for customers who choose to dine at the restaurant. Also, an uptick in alcohol sales is likely as guests feel more comfortable drinking because they are taking advantage of ride sharing services.

Digital Inventory Management—Few good meals happen without an efficient and cost-conscious back end strategy. Restaurants face challenges tracking food costs, and a comprehensive inventory management system helps control these expenses. Software that uncomplicates restaurant management provides inventory forecasting to predict sales, comprehensive COGS management, ingredient tracking, and electronic PO and vendor management. 

Restaurants are forward-thinking, innovative enterprises that are constantly evolving, and 2019 is no exception. These trends are just a taste of the way technology is changing the restaurant industry. Advances in service delivery and the customer experience coupled with data management make the industry a leader in what’s next. The dining experience is better for it.

About Restaurant Magic
Restaurant Magic Software has been providing advanced software solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years. The robust Data Central Management Suite, the flagship product, is a powerful and flexible application that takes advantage of the latest technology trends to offer premier processing and analytics. With advanced forecasting, predictive scheduling and mobile technologies, Data Central has something for every problem. To learn more about Restaurant Magic Software and its products, call us at 1(800) 933-4711 or visit the website at RestaurantMagic.com.