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Restaurant Technology Trends That Point to the Future of the Industry

November 10, 2021

The restaurant industry has risen to the occasion to meet the changing expectations of consumers. They’ve spent time rethinking and reconceptualizing how they engage with their guests to create operational structures to deliver services according to emerging expectations. Technology for restaurants has played a vital role in driving these trends forward.

This is indicative of how technology impacts culture, and how culture and world events in turn impact how technology evolves. What principles are at work that help provide a glimpse into where things are now and where they’re going? Let’s consider some important points to help cast some light on how important technology has impacted what the restaurant industry is now, and what it can be.

Self-driven ordering processes continues to trend

Developing steadily in the 2010’s, empowering guests with more control over the ordering process has been hurried along by leaps and bounds by 2021. Self-directed ordering represents a shift in ownership of the process directly to guests who increasingly want the latitude to manage the details of what they want at their own pace, and often on their own devices, too. After the height of the pandemic, this is more relevant than ever with consumers with a new appreciation in place for personal space and avoiding crowds, line-ups, and face-to-face interactions.

The rise of third-party applications like DoorDash and UberEats that have become the cultural norm, with mobile devices at the center of the ordering process. The same can be said of restaurants and food services concepts offering QR code scanning to empower guests to access menu items remotely or on location and to get SMS alerts when those orders are ready. Further to that, ordering via in-location kiosk options continue to enable guests to place sometimes highly customized orders without the risk of being misunderstood by staff at a traditional terminal, with greater order accuracy, and less waste.

smiling couple using tablet

Location agnostic functions that change the ordering dynamic

This raises another point about where guests place their orders as well as how they place them. In terms of control to the guest and among other things, mobile technology has removed physical space and distance when it comes to interacting with an offering. This dynamic creates a certain fluidity and freedom for guests to explore their options at their leisure from wherever they are.

This concept of not having to be in a specific location to place an order is significant, certainly adding to the idea of guest control over the process. But it also has implications on how restaurant locations may or may not be organized in the future, with delivery-only services like ghost kitchens becoming a conversation piece more and more. Mobile ordering and these new models don’t necessarily mean the end of traditional locations, but rather suggest the opportunity to explore a more diverse means to serve the modern guest.

Restaurant technology and guest expectations – perpetual motion

As dramatic as some of the changes have been lately, the relationship between technology and cultural norms continues to be illustrated in how the industry has always responded. The guest experience is best defined by how consumers expect to interact and by how well organizations respond to their needs and sensibilities when it comes to the basics. It’s the perpetual motion between cultural norms and technology informing each other that provides the momentum for this.

Technology and culture continue to inform each other, with consumer expectations of an ordering experience in line with the same channels by which they manage other aspects of their lives; web-based UI and mobile technology by which they can manage their own experience. The underlying principle is the provision of a stable platform to enable them to get what they want easily and quickly, with order accuracy as a given.

A unified technology platform

To that effect, cohesion as enabled by integrations and a unified environment for all locations, brands, sub-brands, and concepts is essential. To achieve that, solid technology partnerships is also essential.

How do you choose the right technology partner to help you achieve your vision?

For a better view on how Infor approaches technology and partnership, check out our restaurant and food services industry technology page.

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