According to a nationwide restaurant survey by Popmenu, over half of respondents reported adopting new technologies to manage costs and labor shortages. Surprisingly, despite recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 46% reported still being understaffed. The survey involved 426 restaurant owners and operators in the summer of 2023.
The figures for those who implemented new technology were impressive.
- 77% reported increased efficiencies
- 61% found reduced pressure on staff
- 35% reduced costs
- 33% increased revenue
Practical Applications in Technology
While talk of integrating AI and robotic measures is on the rise, most restaurants are taking a more subtle approach. They’re looking for technology that can impact their bottom line and reduce pressures while maintaining their brand’s defining customer service, personal experience, and voice.
There’s a lot of cool technology out there, but the question operators are asking is about the return on investment (ROI). Nation’s Restaurant News reported on the FSTEC conference in September 2023, a gathering focused on restaurant technology.
Sean Thompson, vice president of information technology for Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers, said, “We’re very protective of what we do. So, yes, we’ve leaned on tech to help out with hiring, staffing, and even back of house production, but we always know what our core values are and make sure the technology is enhancing that. We’re not chasing the shiny object.”
Five Guys’ director of restaurant technology, MJ Worsham, said the burden of proof lies on technology. The innovative tech that may find its way into their brand includes machine learning-backed forecasting for the BOH.
A Brand Using Generative AI
One brand that’s embracing AI technology and cloud computing is Domino’s. Partnering with Microsoft, they’re leveraging Microsoft Cloud and Azure OpenAI Service to enhance the customer experience and ordering process. They’re developing a generative AI assistant powered by Azure OpenAI Service. This assistant is designed to help staff with inventory management, scheduling, and ordering.
Domino’s has long embraced technology. In 2019, its Innovation Garage opened, a space to explore ordering kiosks, autonomous delivery vehicles, and GPS delivery technology. They expect to introduce generative AI-powered solutions via a piloting program within six months.
A POS System Incorporating Generative AI
Square, a popular POS provider for restaurants, is incorporating 10 new generative AI features. This includes a menu generator that creates a menu with prices and ingredients in minutes. It also generates website copy and email promotions while suggesting replies.
Supporting Start-Up Technology for the Restaurant Industry
The EMERGING Fund was designed for early-stage companies in the restaurant technology and social entertainment sectors. The Fund’s innovative partners include industry leaders in technology, eatertainment, and multi-concept restaurant brands. And it’s these partners that set this investment fund apart from others.
Start-ups gain the expertise of founders who have started from the ground up and created successful ventures. EMERGING fund looks to provide not just the required capital but the knowledge that drives companies to the next level.
A few of the partners in the tech sector include Sterling Douglass, CEO of Chowly; Damian Mogavero, Founder and former CEO of Avero; Rom Krupp, CEO of OneDine; Bhavuk Kaul, co-founder and former CEO of Plate IQs; and Taylor Katzman, CEO of Provi.
Are you ready to explore the possibilities? For additional information or to schedule a consultation, contact EMERGING.
What’s big in restaurant technology right now?
Today, AI is making headlines across the board, including in the restaurant industry. Advanced AI algorithms provide actionable insights by processing online reviews, orders, and other data, letting operators optimize menus, pricing strategies, and marketing campaigns.
How is technology transforming the restaurant industry?
Technology seems to be reshaping the restaurant industry on a monthly, if not daily, basis. Contactless dining solutions and technology that reduce the burden and increase profits in the fast-growing delivery and takeout segment are growing. Data analytics that personalize the dining experience and augmented reality dining are shifting the industry in ways once unimaginable. It’s a whole new world out there, and restaurants are getting on board.