Technology has become a key tool for business innovation in many fields. The restaurant and food service industry has, however, been famously reluctant to embrace it. But is the situation changing? In their latest report, Hospitality Technology surveyed around 18000 quick service and full service restaurants to identify how restaurateurs currently use technology in their establishments – and how they plan to use it in the future to make their operations easier, simpler and faster. Here are 4 top trends relative to the use of technology in the hospitality industry:
1. As hardware costs decline, restaurants spend more in software
According to the research, since 2013 restaurateurs have steadily increased their IT budget and almost duplicated it from year to year. Thanks to declining hardware costs, the IT budget allocation is also shifting, with more money now being spent on software.
2. Technology should help restaurants grow - by improving the customer experience
Polled restaurateurs would rather spend less on operational technology, and more on transformative technology that can help grow and transform the business. Restaurants have started realizing that customer engagement is the key to success – and technology can be a critical tool in improving guest experience. In the past, most technology projects were aimed at increasing business efficiency and employee productivity. Since then, the top priorities are business efficiency in the back of house, but customer engagement and loyalty in the front of house.
3. Old challenges remain, new ones arise
What is hindering technological innovation in the restaurant industry? The two main challenges that technology teams face remain unchanged: on the one hand, tech budgets are too low; on the other hand, rising customer expectations for advanced technology are hard to match. Some new challenges are also materializing: poor integration among different system used in house is bringing about various problems, from production of inaccessible data to loss of revenue.
4. Mobile and security technology are top priorities in the hospitality industry
IT projects appear to be aimed mostly at mobility and security, in and out of the kitchen. Surveyed restaurants are most interested in investing in disaster recovery plans for IT systems, food safety management systems, and applications that can help them get the pulse of their clientele – from social CRM to loyalty apps. Mobility goals translate into a growing interest in mobile POS for tableside payment and mobile apps for customers. Find out more on how restaurateurs can capitalize on these industry trends in our second blog in this series. [hubspot id=2]