Data IntelligenceEMERGING

Don’t Get Left Behind: Restaurants Embracing Technology & Sustainability

As technology redefined industries in ways once unimaginable, restaurants were slow to adapt. Then came the disruptions and challenges of the last few years, prompting a change of heart. To survive, restaurants had to turn to technology in ways never before considered. 

Today’s new world consists of digital menus, online ordering, contactless payment, chatbots, and restaurant management software. Restaurants are embracing artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce waste, saving money while creating a greener establishment. According to Deliverect, 43% of diners are willing to pay more for restaurant takeout in brands prioritizing sustainability.

The bottom line: Restaurants embrace technology to remain competitive and develop brand recognition through environmentally conscious efforts. Let’s explore this changing landscape. 

Top Restaurant Technology Adaptations

Incorporating technological advancements enables restaurants to increase efficiency and provide guests with the experience they’re searching for. A survey by SpotOn found that while 56% of independent restaurants use some form of technology, over 80% still use legacy POS systems. OnePoll reports that 57% of restaurant owners believe technology has been critical to their survival.

Advanced cloud-based restaurant POS systems integrate with the latest software that offers operational advancements, streamlining tasks and significantly reducing workloads. They’re essential in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing, and challenging hospitality sector. Top considerations include labor management and scheduling software, first-party and third-party online ordering, accounting platforms, employee scheduling software, and loyalty programs.

These systems also integrate with tabletop ordering or payment devices, inventory management, online reservations, catering management platforms, and customer relationship management. This level of integration offers a robust restaurant management system, providing detailed reports that drive beneficial insights.

Restaurants are also leaning toward automation in kitchen processes and using AI to optimize productivity and efficiency. Using data analytics software, operators can recognize trends, helping them with labor management and enabling them to offer guests customized items based on their preferences. 

It’s a lot to consider. Fortunately, you can work with experts in the field to determine your strongest needs and what technology provides the best ROI. 

Measures to Create a More Sustainable Restaurant

Today, restaurants are embracing sustainability in countless ways. Some reduce their carbon footprint by adopting plant-based menus, while others use recyclable packaging or significantly reduce waste.

Promoting Plant-Based Food

Our planetary food system is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the leading driver of climate change. According to the World Wildlife Fund, it accounts for about 27% of all emissions. EY Sweden noted an astounding fact: the GHG emissions produced by 100 grams of tofu are 4% of that emitted by 100 grams of beef. Offering more plant-based options also helps halt deforestation and the loss of biodiversity in spaces converted to animal production. To top it off, it’s trending. 

While replicating animal products had its hay day, consumers’ changing interests lie in innovative plant-based dishes with authentic global flavors. VegNews reports that the number of restaurants in the U.S. offering plant-based options has increased by 62% over the last decade.

Reducing Food Waste

The National Restaurant Association reports that restaurants generate about 22 to 33 billion pounds of food waste every year. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, food waste generates around 8% of GHGs, the same amount of emissions derived from the entire global transport sector. 

Today, AI is helping restaurants create a more sustainable environment. Using historical sales data and weather forecast data, it can optimize inventory management. Another technology advancement is smart meters. These use AI to track food waste and analyze the data to help restaurants change menu items or adjust portion sizes to reduce waste and increase profits. 

Winnow, a global leader in AI commercial food waste solutions, reports that their analytics platform drives operational improvements that cut waste by 50%, saving $42 million a year across 67 countries and preventing 61,000 metric tons of CO2e every year.

As you’ll notice, using technology to create a seamless experience doesn’t require robots in the kitchen. As with many things in life, simple implementations sometimes offer the most significant rewards. Consider working with people knee-deep in their prospective technical field, integrating the technology that would help your operations the most while enhancing the customer experience. As Niels Bohr said, “An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.”

At EMERGING, our divisions include data science, supply chain, real estate solutions, revenue, finance, and hiring tech, designed to help our clients increase profits and deliver the ultimate guest experience. To learn more or schedule a complimentary consultation, contact EMERGING today.

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