Restaurant Industry InsightsTechnology

New Tech & Experimental Ideas in the Restaurant Industry

The restaurant industry constantly evolves, and keeping up with the latest trends and technologies can be challenging. From exploring new pricing models to diving deeper into tech integration, here’s a glimpse into some of the experimental ideas restaurants are testing:

Dynamic Pricing: A Backtrack or a Restructure?

Wendy’s recent backtrack on dynamic pricing, which would have seen menu prices fluctuate based on demand, highlights the potential pitfalls of this approach. Facing consumer backlash, Wendy’s clarified their stance, stating they have “no plans to raise prices when our customers are visiting us most.” This episode serves as a reminder of the importance of customer sentiment and the need for transparent communication when implementing new pricing strategies.

Rethinking Delivery Driver Pay: A Balancing Act?

DoorDash’s shift to a standard 18-hour minimum wage for its delivery drivers in New York City has sparked debate. While the move guarantees a stable income, it also reduces flexibility for drivers who may have preferred the previous system that offered higher potential earnings per delivery. This experiment raises questions about the future of delivery driver compensation and the need to balance worker well-being with operational efficiency.

Subscription Services: A Recipe for Retention?

Chuck E. Cheese’s trial of a tiered subscription service in California and Arizona is an interesting exploration of customer loyalty programs. The subscription offers various benefits like unlimited play, food and beverage discounts, and priority access. This experiment could continue the trend of restaurants dipping their toes in subscriptions, but its long-term success hinges on offering significant value and avoiding a pay-to-win perception.

Chipotle Doubles Down on Tech: A Sign of Things to Come?

Chipotle’s decision to double its investment in its tech venture fund highlights the growing importance of technology in the restaurant industry. The company aims to invest in areas like robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, potentially impacting food preparation, order fulfillment, and customer experience. Chipotle’s move emphasizes the potential of tech to streamline operations, improve efficiency, and enhance the dining experience.

Sweetgreen’s Robotic Kitchens Boost Efficiency and Sales

Sweetgreen, a salad chain, is piloting automated kitchens in two stores. These robotic kitchens have resulted in a 10% increase in average ticket sales and improved labor turnover. The company is also looking to refine its Sweetpass loyalty program further (their Sweetpass+ is another example of restaurants exploring subscriptions) to boost its effectiveness.

These examples showcase restaurants’ diverse approaches to navigating the ever-changing landscape. While some experiments may face hurdles, they all represent a willingness to innovate and adapt in a competitive and dynamic environment. As the industry continues to evolve, staying informed about these trends and exploring new possibilities will be crucial for restaurants to thrive.

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