In 2016, for the first year ever, Americans spent more money at bars and restaurants ($54.857 billion) than they did on groceries ($52.503 billion). In fact, another survey shows that in 2016, Americans went out to eat (not including breakfast) an average of 4.5 times per week. This increase in consumer spending is great for the foodservice industry, but restaurants need to be innovative to keep up. Considering this uptick in traffic, along with our country’s dependence on efficiency, high expectations regarding food quality, and concern for the environment, below are a few foodservice technology trends for 2017.
Touchscreen and Tabletop Devices
Tabletop devices are a popular new technology in the food industry. These devices allow diners to order and pay at their own leisure, rather than waiting for a server for assistance. Not only does this technology add convenience and streamline the dining out experience, it alleviates the pressure of rising labor costs because fewer servers can assist more customers with these helpful little devices. Not to mention, according to Ziosk, a restaurant tablet provider, restaurants can see a 300% increase in e-club enrollments and up to 10% higher PPAs, or per person averages, with the installment of tabletop tablets.
Refreshing ways to Repurpose Food
Our environment is a big concern for many consumers; they want to know that the restaurants they visit execute environmentally safe and responsible food preparation practices. This means that restaurants are implementing refreshing ways to repurpose foods that would previously be discarded, are streamlining their menus, offering simplified choices that cut down on food waste and consumer decision fatigue, and are even finding ways to grow their own ingredients on site.
The same is true regarding restaurant cooking oil. This year, food service businesses are becoming even savvier about how they handle used cooking oil. For example, installing Restaurant Technologies’ Total Oil Management system to eliminate oil jugs and automatically recycle oil, reduces environmental impact.
It’s 2017. Nobody wants to pick up the phone, much less make a phone call to schedule a reservation. Naturally, online reservation systems are becoming increasingly popular. In 2016, 52% of avid American diners said they made restaurant reservations online. We predict this number will only increase throughout 2017.
Automated (Almost) Everything
In a blog by Toast, a restaurant POS software company, Jon Grimm, co-founder and CEO, predicts in 2017, “There will be a significant uptick in restaurant operations automation as restaurants respond to real or potential minimum wage increases.” Your staff is one of your most expensive (and most important) assets. After all, you couldn’t run your business without them. Or could you?
With minimum wages increasing, business owners are getting more creative with ways they staff their restaurants. One way they are reducing labor costs is by implementing technology to lighten staff workload. A couple of examples include oil automation, like Restaurant Technologies’ Total Oil Management system that handles the entire oil process for you, eliminating the need for your staff to transport hot oil, and AutoMist, Restaurant Technologies’ automated hood and flue cleaning system.
In 2017, brands that want to stay relevant need to invest in both consumer and employee-facing technology initiatives. From kitchen automation to interactive devices and platforms, the future of the foodservice industry is driven by consumer trends and expectations.
Want to learn more about Restaurant Technologies’ automated kitchen systems? Contact us today.