The restaurant industry has been slowly adopting new innovative technology and digital solutions as of recent. Since 2020, this has led to an increase of new technology systems for restaurants and helped them adapt to a new digital reality.
Technology and digital systems have helped many restaurants over the years, especially during 2020 and 2021. There has been new systems and new changes made in touchless payments, online ordering, contactless pickup, and more.
QR codes have been mentioned a few times in our blogs. They are similar to bar codes, but QR codes are different in which they “encrypt data vertically and horizontally, which stores more information.”1
These codes helped many restaurants in 2020. Restaurant owners displayed the code outside of their stores and customers had to scan it through their phones, which then redirects them to the restaurant’s ordering platform.
Recently, restaurants have been using QR codes to innovate their ordering systems. For example, restaurant owners display these codes on a table for their customers and call it a “digital menu.”
Having said that, this helped restaurants reduce paper waste, printing, and limited contact in between customers and workers. However, QR codes and digital menus are still controversial—some people say they like it, but some say it is an inconvenience.
Food locker systems
Food lockers have grown in popularity when the pandemic happened, as with most of the recent restaurant technology. Food lockers are devices that store food heated or chilled, which helps increase customer satisfaction when they pick up their food.
Most of these lockers vary in size depending on what restaurant or food chain has it. According to Business Insider, some more expensive restaurants use a more high-tech model to use UV light to kill bacteria.
Despite its growing popularity, the food locker systems have been around for a while. In fact, in November of 1965, A Horn & Hardart automat sold their sandwiches in food locker systems for their customers to collect whenever they were ready.2
In North Carolina, a restaurant called Biscuits & Righteous Kitchen is going with a more tech-forward approach. In their restaurants, they have recently added a touchscreen ordering kiosk and a heated locker system.3 These locker systems have also kept the restaurant’s Durham location labor cost percentages at an average of 18.18% in 2021 and has decreased to 16.14% as the year went on.4
Little Caesars Pizza has also added a food locker system called Pizza Portal.5 Pizza Portal is the same to these food locker systems. Customers simply place an order online, then they are given a code or number, and then they can use that to pick up their order without having to speak to anyone.
In fact, Automat Kitchen in New Jersey is a restaurant that only serves food using these lockers. The restaurant has no waiting staff and customers can order online or on-site by scanning a QR code.6
According to Business Insider, “The restaurant also offers delivery via DoorDash. Though delivery drivers do not currently collect the orders from lockers, the restaurants’ owners say they’re working with DoorDash to integrate orders into the locker system.”7
Like the food lockers, self-service kiosks allow customers to place orders and make payments without the assistance of a cashier, but the order is received through servers. Furthermore, “the best restaurant kiosk software works seamlessly with your point-of-sale (POS) system, kitchen printers or kitchen display system (KDS), and payment processor.”8
As of recent years, it’s reported that 65% of customers prefer self-service kiosks.9According to Mary King of Fit Small Business, the best self-service kiosks for restaurants are: Lightspeed Restaurant, Toast, Revel Systems, Bite Kiosk, and KioskBuddy.10
Self-service kiosks also allow many creative features for marketing campaigns, customization, and digital menu boards. Like food lockers, these self-service kiosks aid on labor savings and can help generate more revenue.
In addition, self-service kiosks help decrease the chances of wrong orders, although human error may still occur during the cook and prep process, there is a minimal chance of this happening since the customer can review their orders before submitting it to the kitchen staff.
Robots have been mentioned a few times in our blogs. From delivery robots to food waiters, the numbers of these robots will be increasing throughout 2022. In fact, we will be seeing more of these robots during the 2022 Winter Olympics. These machines have been around for a while but grew in popularity during the rise of the pandemic.
These robot waiters take the orders that are given through a system from the restaurant staff and then the items are loaded onto these robots to be given to the customers. These robots also can help restaurant staff take away dirty dishes.
Additionally, robot waiters can help interact with customers by telling them unique facts and jokes through automated programs provided by the restaurant or the robot company. Furthermore, robot waiters are very beneficial to restaurants in which they help with cost-effective solutions to labor shortages and help boost profit margins and reliability.11
Goliath Consulting Group is a restaurant consultancy group based in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information on our services visit http://www.goliathconsulting.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org