Technology Trends – COVID-19 and rapid digitalization changed the game for almost every sector across the world. The restaurant industry too joined the league in the pioneer stage with several new technologies like restaurant chatbots, contactless payments, touchscreen POS systems, augmented reality menus, digital inventory tracking, and so on. These innovations upgraded the pace, face, and approach of this industry while plucking away barriers keeping customers away from outdoor dining. While AI, machine learning, and 3D printing aren?t enabling us to print out the food we see on screen, they are surely improving efficiency at every end.
Keeping this in mind, here are some of the major technology trends that will dominate the USA restaurant industry in 2023:?
- Contactless Dine Is To Be The New Norm: Contactless dining became a norm during the pandemic but as more and more people became hygiene and space conscious, there are a number of restaurants that opted to extend this practice. They found some innovative ways to minimize human contact such as augmented reality menus, contactless payments, QR code ordering, etc. Currently, 94 per cent of US restaurants are offering contactless payment options while 78 per cent are pretty happy with their digital menus. As this practice is becoming the new normal, we may expect the scenario to evolve a little more in the given time.
- The Quest For More Food Delivery Options: The food delivery business came a long way in the last few years from being a leisure pursuit to a life-saving service for many. Despite the high trend of outdoor dining, there is still a considerable part of the population that likes to get food delivered to their workplace or home. The food delivery apps userbase witnessed superlative growth during the pandemic era, it went straight up from 36.4 million to 44.1 million in 2021 and is expected to reach 53.9 million by 2023. This rising taste for food delivery also compelled higher digitalization of consumers. Now, more than 55% of consumers now browse restaurant menus online and 44% of those place their orders for delivery. Now as it is becoming regular people have started looking for more options especially eco-friendly food delivery options. Meanwhile, this popularity is also compelling full-service restaurants to add food delivery to their operations.
- Use Of Smart Tech In Restaurants: Despite increasing revenue figures during COVID, the rate of unemployment went up in the same era. Some were sick while some didn?t want to work. Several restaurants adopted smart technology to run their business and it paid them back handsomely. As the trend picked up, more and more restaurant owners realized the potential of using tech in their workplace and how it was a sure answer to their lack of labour problem. Every two out of three owners state that the automated systems abridge the gap present in online ordering systems giving them respite from operational loopholes and workflow obstructions. The seamless flow of operations paved the way for an increase in orders, profits, and overall revenues. Tools like cloud-based POS systems, virtual reality onboarding, and restaurant management apps shortened the processing time, better monitoring employees, and digitization of online and in-store orders. Not just the owners, even the diners are happy with this new arrangement as it caters to their needs in less time and without the hassle of getting out of the house. Most of them now prefer to use online kiosks, online ordering, and home delivery of food.?
- Ghost Kitchens: As the ubiquity of home deliveries picked up it also bred the concept of ghost kitchens. Under this category, several big brands prepare and pack food in shared facilities for food deliveries. Ghost kitchens let chefs and restaurants focus on just preparing and serving customers eliminating waiting time and order errors. This convenience gave a lot of traction to this concept all over the world. By 2027, the valuation of this industry is expected to reach $71.4 billion registering an annual growth of 12% all over the world. It is interesting to note that ghost kitchens have a close relationship with food delivery apps which implies that the growth of the former will result in exacerbated growth of the other. A CBRE report states that by 2025, ghost kitchens will account for 21% of the USA restaurant industry.
- Healthier Food Choices: Though the food delivery apps display multiple cuisines on their primary interfaces and the rising number of healthy food options is clear evidence of changing consumer preference. Call it an impact of the pandemic, a rising inclination towards healthy food options, or a call for natural, organic food options, it is compelling the restaurant industries to modify their menus. There is a rising portion of natural, healthy food options in restaurants and food delivery options and it is bound to continue even in 2023. Even foreign cuisines like Middle Eastern, Pan Asian, and Mexican food are getting more and more attention and becoming a part of the US regular food choices. Restaurants are now also picking up on catering to specific eating styles. They are now serving ketogenic diets, gluten-free diets, vegan diets, as well as low-carb diets.