With millennials impacting consumer preferences and a culture obsessed with binging and instant gratification, nearly every industry has seen massive technology advancements over the past several decades. The restaurant industry, however, has been a little late to the party... Until now.
Toast’s third annual Restaurant Technology Industry Report shares data collected from our most extensive research to date, definitively bridging the gap between diner preferences and restaurateur perspectives.
We asked key restaurant analysts what the future of restaurant technology holds. Here are their answers.
"The biggest game changers will be anything that saves labor – both in numbers of bodies and time saved. We are at the start of a seismic change in the way we operate as a result of increased wages. Everything from tablet ordering to robotic cooking to automated purchasing will become more prominent."
– Stephen Zagor, Dean at The Institute of Culinary Education
"For many restaurants, 75% of all visitors to their website are on a mobile device, with the majority of them having arrived through a Google search. Your embracing of local search marketing can have an oversized effect on your sales. Moving into 2018, see location-based recommendations and increased personalization being pushed to a person's mobile phone as a dominant digital marketing theme."
– David Kutcher, President and Co-Owner of Confluent Forms
"Online ordering and delivery is absolutely the future of restaurants. I am currently working with clients who are building entire secondary brands out of their current kitchen just for online delivery orders. People are busier than ever and while the brick and mortar restaurant will not go away anytime soon, the increased speed and affordability of having high-quality food delivered instead of cooking will continue to increase for some time."
– Ryan Gromfin, Restaurant Consultant at The Restaurant Boss
"Data, data, data. The availability -- and use -- of data to drive prep, sales, marketing, staffing, and social media will be the difference in launching brands and languishing brands. Using media analytics, scheduling targets, and POS insight will be the profit percentage points between viability and lethargy."
– Jim Berman, Executive Chef at Grain Bar + Kitchen
While it is clear that the industry is veering towards digital solutions as younger generations age, restaurateurs are careful to present digital point of sale features – such as mobile pay, kiosks, and digital receipts – as an option, not the default. There is tremendous value in these offerings for restaurants, namely boosted efficiency, higher order value, and savings on paper costs, so resaturants are launching them with care to their customer base.
What we asked: "When do you plan on upgrading your restaurant point of sale system?"
Customers are more inclined to place orders through a restaurant’s own website or online ordering system, and the majority of diners diners prefer to pay with their debit or credit card for higher-ticket and low-ticket items. They value restaurant reservation software and guest wifi, all of which equates to a convenient guest experience.
What we asked: "Rank the following technological features with regard to their importance to your restaurant experience."