Technology

Technology and Tomatoes—What’s Up With Restaurants in 2024

Technomic, a leader in food service insights, recently came out with their What’s in Store for 2024 report. On the downside is higher prices and sagging consumer confidence. Their suggestion? Lean into technology and look to innovations in menus and service.

They suggest the breakfast boom will continue as customers enjoy the restaurant experience without having to pay for lunch or dinner. The same goes for brunches as a replacement for dinners.

Let’s explore some of their trending predictions, including the unique ingredients they expect to see on menus and the technology that will help restaurants ride out changing consumer sentiment.

Practical Technology

Technomic sees restaurants transitioning from technology that delivers a wow factor to technology that provides practical support. Examples include tech that enables kitchens to operate as central hubs, such as online ordering systems integrated with kitchen display systems. These systems offer your customers a flawless takeout experience while freeing up FOH staff. A popular brand in this arena is Chowly, an all-in-one digital ordering platform.

More restaurants will also turn to predictive analytics, integrating sales data, supply chain management, and marketing software. This technology gives operators the information they need to successfully predict supply and demand, staffing their restaurants, and purchasing inventory accordingly.

These systems use advanced data analytics and machine learning to analyze historical sales data, special events, seasonal trends, and possible weather patterns to forecast demand accurately. This allows restaurants to proactively manage their inventory and streamline operations.

In the realm of automation, it’s increasing in the kitchen, with technology automating repetitive and dangerous tasks. And, as with every other industry, artificial intelligence (AI) will further immerse itself in restaurants. 

Food for Thought

Interestingly, they are forecasting 2024 as the year of the tomato. Why? Because of its health benefits and numerous applications. It also aligns with the global flavor trend, enabling chefs to create tomato-based sauces from around the world. 

One of the suggested leaders in this category is Mayan sikil pak, a pumpkin seed salsa derived from the Yucatan peninsula. Another prepared tomato dish on their list is Philippine sarsiado, a dish combining fried fish, sauteed tomatoes, eggs, and aromatics.

Some additional predictions include fat-infused fried desserts, bizarre beverages, and pungent ingredients. If there’s one thing you can count on in the restaurant industry, it’s remaining on the cutting edge of changing consumer preferences. Along this same line, more restaurant menus will display the regions or country of origin of their various global dishes, such as Senegalese-style chicken. 

Leveraging Technology & Reducing Carbon Footprints

One of the increasingly popular innovations in restaurant technology is food waste management strategies using advanced analytics and AI. These systems can recognize food that’s thrown away, recommend changes in the menu, and record how much of your guests’ meals end up in the trash.

They may also integrate with inventory tracking software, determining how much inventory goes bad before it even makes it into your recipes. They recommend portion control and purchases, cutting back substantially on inventory waste. 

More restaurants are turning to this technology, as well as recycling systems for managing package waste, to save money and reduce their carbon footprint. As extreme weather events increase and the 2024 El Nino takes hold, you can expect more operators to turn their attention to technology that can decrease their environmental impact.

Tell Your Story

Virtual reality (VR) has been making its way into restaurants for some time as operators look for ways to provide guests with unique experiences. One way they’re using this technology is to provide brand storytelling. This interactive journey takes guests through the sourcing and creation of the items on their menu. For restauranteurs who purchase locally or forage for wild plants, VR offers an exciting way to engage and share this experience with your customers.

From advanced technology to changing flavor profiles, there’s much to consider. That’s where EMERGING comes in. As a strategic partner with today’s leading entertainment concepts and restaurants, we coordinate the execution of a brand’s business strategies in the supply chain, data science, technology, growth, finance, labor, and more. We help you identify opportunities that can take you to the next level or your next location.

To learn more about our services or to schedule a consultation, contact EMERGING today.

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