Think of your favourite restaurant. What does it look like? Is it a homely little place where everyone knows your name, or are you a fan of more upmarket establishments where tables are booked months in advance? The chances are that the restaurants of the future will look very different as technology evolves and businesses streamline their operations.
A recent survey carried out by Oracle Hospitality found that restaurant operators and their clientele all predicted some huge changes in the next seven years, ranging from artificial intelligence and wearables to drone food delivery and facial recognition.
Modern restaurant kitchens are often chaotic, with multiple staff involved in prepping and cooking dishes for diners. In the restaurant of the future, at least some of these tasks will be taken care of by robots. Robotic kitchen staff won’t have a problem working long hours and could be more efficient than low-paid employees. It’s likely that robots could also be used to clean restaurants, too.
Facial Recognition Software
Imagine going into your favourite restaurant, to be greeted by a scanner that immediately knows who you are, your food preferences, any special dietary requirements you might have, and whether you are a member of the restaurant’s loyalty scheme. If you think this all sounds a bit far-fetched, you are not alone, but this could quite easily be the future of restaurants. Interestingly, nearly half of all people surveyed felt that facial recognition software would help to create a more positive customer experience.
PoS technology has taken off in recent years, with Lavu iPad POS a notable example of a popular system. EPoS technology is being continually developed and there are now several cloud-based ePoS systems under development, which will help restaurants manage multiple sites, in particular, cash.
There has been a big shift towards contactless/cashless payments, with the number of mobile payments up by 0.7 million in less than two years, and technology is well-aware of this. Already, customers can pay for meals using Apple Pay and similar systems, make table reservations via their smartphone, and order food using mobile apps, to be delivered at a time that suits them.
Mobile technology is likely to become a mainstream feature of future restaurants. Instead of placing an order with a server, customers can find a table and order food directly from the kitchen via an app. It will save time and streamline the order process. Payments and gratuities can be taken when the order is placed. It should also be possible for customers to monitor how much they are spending, as well as split the bill with friends.
Cloud solutions and SaaS is far more widespread these days. We are all used to popular software solutions such as DropBox or Microsoft Office 365, but the growth of cloud solutions is likely to extend into the restaurant business in the next five years. Larger restaurant chains are already taking advantage of cloud-based solutions to integrate their booking systems. Cloud-based solutions are perfect for smaller restaurants, as they eliminate the need for expensive in-house IT systems. There is also the potential to include enhanced analytics to boost the customer experience.
Drone Food Delivery
It is already possible to order food online and have it delivered locally, but restaurants of the future may employ drone technology to deliver orders to clients living further away. Amazon is already investing heavily in drone technology, so it’s likely that drones will become mainstream in the next 5+ years.
Customer satisfaction is key to the success of any restaurant business, so restauranteurs must be willing to embrace the evolution of modern technology if they want to attract the next generation.