The nature of restaurant management is a pendulum; each year operators swing back and forth to prepare for challenges and take advantage of new opportunities. While 2022 may bring new problems, at its heart, it still follows the same cycle of preparation and prevention.
Reviewing the market landscape is a great way to get ahead of the competition. Read on for our key predictions to help operators get a leg up.
Key 2022 Challenges
The ‘Great Resignation’ continues to be the topic on everyone’s minds. Despite labor shortages, QR codes and digital ordering and payment relieve some of the burden by ensuring teams don’t have to be everywhere at once.
While combating empty roles and maneuvering vacation policies, technology offers support without added stress. Teams are able to increase tips and revenue without burnout, all while creating a positive customer experience. Technology also allows for seamless delivery operations during colder months.
We at Bbot predict that, without a stronger change towards how we think about service and employment, this dry spell will become the norm. We predict that 2022 will bring not only more shortages, but also more walkouts.
We’re seeing major companies experiencing pressure from unions and employees banding together for better working conditions and higher wages. The old norm of 15-20 servers per small restaurant is unsustainable for mom and pops if they’re looking to meet demand, making the evolution of tech vital for 2022 and worth keeping an eye on.
We see proof over and over again that wages make or break employment rates. One restaurateur used tech to boost wages across the board, directly resulting in zero turnover since opening mid-pandemic. We expect to see this pattern repeated throughout the next year and beyond.
COVID has created a home in our lives, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Omicron spikes have threatened to bring about new restrictions and closures for the restaurant industry, raising new questions about how each new strain will force operators to bend.
New safety protocols may hurt restaurants’ bottom line again, while also impacting retention rates due to business closures and lack of steady income. We’ve seen it throughout 2020 and 2021, and now 2022 is seeing a new version of the same.
The predictions around Omicron are saying the peak will occur in January and begin to even outt, but that’s a minor comfort. The real trouble will be the unpredictable nature of strains and specific infection rates in various cities. Keeping a close eye on public standards at the local government level as well as surrounding towns will help restaurants ride out the ups and downs.
Key 2022 Trends
QR codes, the first of the restaurant-saving technology of 2020, paved the way for newer and better tech discoveries throughout the past two years. We predict that 2022 will see a new set of rapidly evolving, game-changing technologies.
Order throttling allows restaurant chains to set a limit on the maximum dollar-amount of orders they can effectively fulfill within an allotted time frame. This makes it easy to juggle orders and alleviate stress on the kitchen staff as orders come and go. Managing the kitchen is a huge part of making delivery and in-venue a successful balancing act.
This new tech increases brand loyalty by reducing poor customer experiences like incomplete orders and delays by giving restaurants full control of order operations, including how much goes in and letting them decide how many dishes they can make at once time.
Seamless integrations are critical for positive customer experiences and getting a full range of access to new applications, companies, and tech that are rapidly entering the market. These point of sale integrations also allow for streamlined operations that support the staff, helping with the above 2022 challenge we predict will only grow worse.
When tech companies join forces, restaurants reap the benefits of saved time and added money. Each segment of the restaurant experience is seeing new connections with one another and better opportunities — loyalty programs, white label courier services, feedback apps, and more. Restaurants who use a combination of programs, like digital ordering and automated marketing, see nearly double check sizes and boosted returner revenue.
Metaverse / Cryptocurrency / TikTok
Meta and crypto have become synonymous with gobbledygook tech terms. However, what all these science fiction leaning words mean is the same — a new digital world exists for unique ways to promote business.
For instance, the Metaverse, a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users, could be crucial in helping with table selection and giving a walk through of the restaurant for potential customers.
Cryptocurrency is also a trending topic across industries due to the many varieties and uses that are beginning to crop up. Restaurants may begin to look into accepting crypto (or offering their own NFT) as the digital experience begins to take off.
TikTok also has the opportunity to make a huge splash in the industry. Culinary creators on the apps have inadvertently created a new source of revenue for the digital app. Tiktok has begun to create virtual kitchens where the menu consists of the most popular recipes of the month based on their own analytics.
Future of QR Codes / Digital Order and Pay
The oldest of the tech turned out to be the most tenacious in 2020-2021. The truth remains: QR codes are here to stay.
Digital order and pay will continue to grow as the industry works to increase revenue despite Omicron threatening potential business closures and new restrictions. Digital pay also offers peace of mind when it comes to sanitation, while saving staff from taking extra time to clean physical menus.
That peace of mind extends to the promise of technological advancement. QR codes will become the standard building block for tech and beyond. More and more startups will bloom in 2022 with new ideas and fixes for tech gaps and problems using QR codes. Even more so, we predict that the more adventurous and tech minded operators will be adopting their own apps for better customer tracking.
QR codes have made tech accessible to all, but like much of 2022, only the tech-savvy brave will push it to its limits. The average restaurant manager will reap the benefits for a perfect hybrid and personalized ordering experience.