The restaurant industry has a long history of being sluggish to adopt new technologies and digital solutions. However, the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 changed that, forcing food and beverage companies to adapt and think outside the box.
Even though it’s too soon to assess the long-term effects of the pandemic, it’s safe to assume that the changes it brought are here to stay. Here are some of the digital trends and tools that the industry needs in 2021 to stay up-to-date and perhaps even ahead of the competition:
1. Online Ordering and Delivery Applications
In the wake of the pandemic, online ordering and contactless food delivery have taken the restaurant industry by storm. With customers growing more accustomed to these services, it is only sensible for restaurants to integrate them into their businesses for the long run. Employing the help of third-party food delivery apps like UberEats or Door Dash helps restaurants stay connected to the customers and also improves customer satisfaction as it lets the user browse the available menu options, make their desired selections, and pay digitally, all from the comfort of their homes.
For ultimate customer satisfaction, the quality of the food should be exceptional. One step closer to perfection is (besides obviously a great chef and other kitchen staff) a food handler certificate obtained by every employee.
2. Contactless Payments
With safety becoming the topmost priority for customers, contactless payments have now become an essential addition to the dining experience. An overwhelmingly large number of customers think including such options is crucial and it is estimated that the usage of contactless payments will grow exponentially in the coming years, with studies projecting that it will triple from $2 trillion to $6 trillion worldwide by 2024.
3. POS and Inventory Management Systems
Thanks to the evolution of cloud technology, there exists a wide variety of POS systems available, ranging from Toast to pizza POS like those from Truffle POS, for restaurants of every type. They offer great operational benefits to workflows for taking orders and handling payments. Whether it’s a tableside device or a purpose-built kiosk, you should have a POS that is intuitive for your employees, accommodates different menu structures, and helps bring in orders from different channels.
This ever-evolving technology has become increasingly popular over the years, and has proven to be a cost-effective way of engaging with customers, advertising promoting offers, and processing orders. Chatbots deal with several queries without the need for human involvement and customers get a reliable, always-on point of engagement.
5. Cleaning Robots
With the rise in need for better sanitary measures due to the pandemic, keeping restaurant premises clean has become imperative. To solve the issue, cleaning robots have now been designed to assist with several tasks, ranging from hoovering the floors to applying germ-cleaning chemicals. These help free up more time for staff, removing the need for them to clean so tirelessly throughout their shift.
Despite being hit hard by COVID, the rise in restaurant tech has helped businesses sustain their livelihoods, and it is only expected that this growth continues steadily in the coming years as a means of adapting to the changing world to stay relevant and maintain profits.