The restaurant industry is one of the slowest to adopt change. Regardless, technology in restaurants was becoming more prevalent, and then Covid struck. Now the industry has been forced to change – and change quickly. We believe some of these technological changes were in motion, but COVID sped up adoption of technology in the restaurant industry because the status quo wasn’t going to work in the new environment. Most restaurateurs chose to adapt and change.
Traditional vs. Digital Ordering Methods within Restaurants
Just because technology exists does not mean people like to adapt. Most people have picked up a menu their entire lives before deciding what to order. Scanning a QR code to purchase food might feel distant and less tactile to some people.
Restaurant automation has also become a survival tactic. In some areas, people cannot sit down and order food as they could pre-pandemic. There are many countries where people standing in lines and not socially distancing seating are restricted or possibly illegal.
Fully or partially digitizing the process cuts down on human interaction and provides a workaround that can mean the difference between a restaurant staying open or shutting down.
Some people like the convenience of doing a quick phone scan to make a purchase, while other people may find the process confusing. Believe it or not, people without smartphones still exist. Some people have the technology but do not know how to use it, and an automated check-out might feel intimidating.
Maintaining privacy exists as well. Not everybody wants a digital database to contain every purchase they make because some eye-opening revelations have come to light over the years about what some companies do with data they collect from people, who companies sell people’s data to, etc.
The good often comes with the bad. POS has also made many lives simpler. Some people only need to scan a QR code for multiple purchases throughout an average day and find managing finances through an app easier than credit and debit cards and superior to cash.
POS also frees up staff at restaurants, and many other businesses, because they do not handle money. The extra time allows employees to focus on customer service without distractions.
Evolution of Restaurant Technology
QR codes deliver another way to pay for a meal and are an already established part of restaurant technology trends due to the pandemic.
Since the start of Covid, many restaurants have shifted to QR code menus, so the entire ordering process can take place on a smartphone, and another benefit is that customers already know how much the final bill will be immediately after they placed an order due to the built in functionality.
QR code menus also allow restaurants to make immediate changes, and employees do not have to spend time explaining which items are or are not available nor do they have to interact as frequently with guests.
Companies like Ziosk are well aware of the growing trend and offer technology platforms which offer data collection, loyalty programs, gaming, plus incorporate payment solutions and devices for restaurants to choose from, such as touch menus at the table, smartphone menus, or tablets for casual dining and bars.
The technology Ziosk upgrades restaurants with causes employees to feel less stress because the customers order and pay at the table and its one less touch point the server has to make with the table, allowing him or her to cover more tables. Restaurant staff can focus on helping customers by providing services that do not involve taking orders or money.
Marrying Traditional & Modern Methods for Restaurants
Traditional vs. modern technology is not so much a restaurant standoff as a matter of options. Many restaurants have embraced technology for contactless service, but traditional services such as ordering off a physical men
u must still exist.
Restaurants have to remember that the secret to having a business is to make customers happy by giving them what they want. If a non-technological person prefers to look at a paper menu and order by having a conversation, restaurants in 2022 and beyond have to include traditionalist customers.
It can be easy for technology to take over, however there are still elements of the past that need to be maintained for great companies to function. Learn more
Evolution of Restaurant Technology & Trends FAQs
Let’s run through some of the basics.
How is technology used in food service?
Technology can integrate into all aspects of restaurant service, from the kitchen to the table. The most visible technology for customers is paying through QR codes or using touchscreen devices at the table for ordering and paying.
How is technology changing the restaurant industry?
Covid accelerated switching to contactless technologies for restaurants, but the changes are not likely to go away. Once people get used to leaving the house with only their phone to go around the corner and press a few buttons and eat, the old system will fade away.
Do contactless technologies improve customer service?
Most people think technology does improve customer service. Restaurant staff can spend more time attending to customers’ needs without going back and forth with orders and bills.