We’ve popped the champagne, eaten a lot of good food and counted down to 2017. Now that the New Year is in full swing, we’ve told you all about what restaurants should expect and the top changes impacting restaurants in the year ahead. But what about restaurant technology? We’ve got you covered. Here are the top seven restaurant tech predictions for 2017, according to Toast.
1. Biometrics Become a Reality for Businesses of All Sizes
“We will start to see developments in facial and fingerprint recognition in 2017 in the restaurant tech space. While biometrics certainly have a place in how restaurants will interact with customers in the future, in 2017 it will be about businesses making data and assets more secure.” – Yi Chen, VP of Product
2. Automation in the Face of Uncertain Times
“There will be a significant uptick in restaurant operations automation as restaurants respond to real or potential minimum wage increases.” – Jon Grimm, co-founder and CTO
3. Consumer Demand Will Continue to Drive Business
“The ecosystem of restaurant tech companies, while rapidly innovating and growing, is still coming up short when it comes to customer experience – we ended 2016 disjointed, at best. For example, what if upon confirming a table with an online reservation app, the restaurant is able to access the customer’s preferences (red wine versus white), needs (allergic to nuts) and payment (similar to Uber) through her or his profile? This is the year that we’re going to see this take shape.” – Chris Comparato, CEO
4. Restaurant Technology Will Take Efficiency to the Next Level
“Restaurant tech in general will become much more prevalent in 2017. With the economy bouncing back and labor costs growing, more restaurants will start adopting technologies and conveniences we see in other areas. For example: you can access your boarding pass on a smartphone with just about every airline, but what about restaurants? More and more fast casual restaurants are going to adopt mobile-friendly online ordering in 2017.” – Aman Narang, president and co-founder
5. Jetson-like Automation Becomes a Restaurant Reality
“2017 will bring more self-service restaurants with robots assembling food and more automated food delivery, like the Paline Pizza ATM. We will see fun technologies like vending machines that cook food to order popping up in the year ahead, too.” – Ellery Fink, Director of Services
6. Empowering On-the-Go Customers with Tech Apps
“Dominoes is way ahead of the restaurant tech trend of 2017: meeting the customer where they are. From chatbots, to Facebook Messenger, to ordering with emojis, to 1-click ordering – consumers will be able order food when they want and how want, now more than ever, all without having to download any special app.” – Steve Fredette, president and co-founder of Toast
7. Going to the Extreme: Automation and Atmosphere Immersion
“Restaurant experiences are going to the extremes in 2017. We’re going to see either total restaurant automation or completely immersive experiences, where guests don’t see or think about technology.” – Ellie Mirman, VP of Marketing
Bonus: 3 More Restaurant Tech Predictions
We aren’t the only ones making restaurant technology predictions:
- Nation’s Restaurant News says, “By 2020 restaurant architecture and design will embody both high-tech advancements and low-tech hospitality. Lines between industry segments will blur further, and operators’ efforts to reduce costs and cut waste will intensify.”
- The NPD Group via Hospitality Technology notes, “Mobile ordering will grow exponentially. Domino’s is a prime example of the opportunity that exists with this technology. The chain has been on the leading edge of creating ways for customers to place their orders using numerous platforms. This is convenience at its best. Look for many restaurant operators to follow suit and capitalize on this growth opportunity.”
- Slapfish CEO Andrew Gruel via Fast Casual thinks the customer demand for more delivery options will continue to help grow third-party delivery business. "The consumer is demanding the brands that they want, fast and convenient. You will see new players take over the earlier adopters and the technology be forced to catch up. For example, software that allows the order to be integrated into the POS system."
Turns out, the most surprising restaurant trend for the year ahead isn’t a technical one. In fact, it’s pretty…earthy. Forbes reports, “Look for the next big trends coming from Matcha, butter, beets, botanicals and yes, edible cannabis. The cannabis business is estimated to grow to $22 billion in sales by 2020 with nine states approving it for recreational use and another 21 for medicinal use. We have already seen cannabis-cured lox, shrimp stew, deviled eggs, brittle bars, chocolate, canna-oils and of course brownies on menus as well as upscale secret location restaurants like NYC's Sinsemil.la offering haute cuisine at up to $250 a head.” Well, now.
What are Your Restaurant Tech Predictions?
What food and restaurant trends do you think we will see over the next 12 months? Take a peek at our Restaurant Success in 2017 Industry Report to get some ideas.