Technology Trends for the ‘New Normal’ Customer Cravings

The past few weeks have proven how quickly the way in which we dine is shifting and evolving and fast forwarded a number of technology trends.

Hyper-connectivity and lifestyle trends will continue to influence and alter consumer behavior. Capitalizing on this craving for convenience, fast food options and food delivery startups are growing rapidly, evidenced by the fact that fast food growth swiftly outpaced that of bars and restaurants by a whopping nearly 7:1 margin between 2017 and 2019.

Here are some technologies that will continue to be part of any restaurant’s day-to-day operations.

Table Tech: Pay-at-the-Table is the new Lazy Susan of the wait-staff world. By implementing Pay-at-the-Table technology, restaurant owners are saving their servers both literal steps between the diner’s table and payment station and figurative steps involving inputting checks into the POS system, handling receipts and adjusting for gratuity. Customers will thank restaurants too, as this technology frees them of the dreaded paying experience, turning a multi-step payment process into a quick transaction that has them on their way more quickly.  

Goods on the Go: Mobile order-ahead has quickly gone from a new phenomenon to a key differentiator as restaurants and customers alike enjoy its benefits. Customers are incentivized by the appeal of cutting the line (without facing the wrath of fellow line members) and being rewarded for their patronage with generous loyalty programs. Restaurants similarly can enjoy more predictability in their operations and better ensure orders are completed on time. But more importantly, by eliminating the need for onsite payment and using customer data to better reward customers with loyalty benefits and promotional offerings, restaurants can create stronger relationships with their consumers.

Contactless and Cashless: Implementing contactless and cashless payment technology not only helps restaurants give customers a frictionless experience that doesn’t require their wallets, but also keeps employees and customers healthier. Limiting the physical exposure employees have between currency and food keeps the restaurant hygienic and clean. Additionally, with mobile wallets and value-added service (VAS) programs from Apple and Google, restaurants can simplify the sign up process for loyalty programs and drive more targeted information to customers.

Restaurants that demonstrate to their customers that they’re invested in creating a more efficient, enjoyable and customized experience for them will be rewarded with loyalty and, in turn, higher revenues. The technologies that create these types of experiences should all be key focus areas for restaurants in 2020 and beyond as the industry evolves and reinvents itself.