Toast Top 5: A Restaurant Industry News Wrap-Up for August 2016

By: AJ Beltis

4 Minute Read

Nov 08, 2017

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August was a great month for restaurants. With so many changes and technological advancements in the industry, there are plenty of opportunities for streamlining operations in your bar or restaurant.

Looking back at the highs of this month, this Toast Top 5 covers popularity of restaurants in the eyes of Americans, working with government regulations, and the technology restaurants are using to make their jobs easier.

Read on or watch this video of Toast's Content Marketing Specialist Allie Tetreault for industry takeaways from August 2016.

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Read our blog post on government regulations affecting the restaurant industry.

#1. The Rise of Restaurants

If the real world were a high school cafeteria, restaurants would have earned their right to sit at the cool table.

If you ever feel like managing or working in a restaurant is a thankless job, get this. According to a recent Gallup poll, the restaurant industry is the most highly regarded industry in the United States. The poll asked participants to rate industries on a scale of “very negative’ to “very positive.”

Research from the National Restaurant Association has found that 90% of Americans enjoy going to restaurants, 40% say restaurants are a part of their lifestyle, and 50% have worked in the restaurant industry at some point during their lives. So if you ever have a rough day, just remember that the work you’re doing is brightening someone else’s.

#2. Don't Tread on Me

As a restaurateur, you face a lot of challenges. But the common consensus is that the biggest constraint on restaurants is the U.S. government. Manta’s Semi-Annual Wellness Index reported that 61% of business owners spend anywhere from one hour to more than 10 hours every week dealing with regulatory issues. Common complaints are: minimum wage, health care, licensing, and strict health and safety guidelines.

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#3 Pizza At-The-Moment

When you think of an ATM, you probably think of an automatic teller machine you can withdraw money from, right? Well, get ready to think again.

The world’s first pizza vending machine, coined Pizza ATM, has been installed on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The pizza is fresh - handmade by Xavier’s dining hall staff - and is transferred from a refrigerator inside the machine to an oven, also inside the machine. Open 24/7, Pizza ATM dispenses fresh pizza within three minutes of ordering.

It’s incredible to see the food service industry embrace automation this way. With a pizza machine in Cincinnati and a cupcake ATM in New York, who knows what will come next?

#4. Machinery Mania

Wouldn’t it be great if your staff could work long hours, never get tired, and always get every order right? You may think that sounds impossible, but it’s not… at least, not anymore. researched five restaurants who have superhuman employees - that’s right, restaurant robots - that help automate necessary tasks.

Examples include San Francisco bar The Interval, which employs 2 robots to draw menu specials on their chalkboards, as well as Sushi Station’s robot sushi rollers in Elgin, Illinois.

Now, let’s not panic; we’re not telling you to get rid of your staff! This isn’t the sign of a robot apocalypse! It will however be interesting to see how - or if - staff will work with this new technology, and whether more restaurants will make robots part of their team.

#5. Technology to the Top

Restaurant technology is in our DNA here at Toast. So when the National Restaurant Association released new research, “Mapping the Restaurant Technology Landscape,” we knew we had to read it.

Of the 500 restaurant operators polled, four out of five agree that technology helps make restaurants more productive and increase sales. However, those in the industry agree that technology should never get to the place where it complicates the restaurant experience. Some of the key findings of the study are:

With all that said, if you’re feeling that your technology needs an upgrade, or that it’s getting in the way of your guest experience, take a look at Toast POS and our new, upgraded online ordering system, built with your customers in mind.

After August: Moving Forward

As you can see, August has been an eventful month for the restaurant industry. So what do we at Toast think about all this? Never sacrifice the customer experience for technology, and always  stay up to date with new restaurant regulations.

What do you think was the biggest change the restaurant industry saw this August? Let us know!

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