As 2018 comes to a close, savvy restaurateurs are already looking ahead to next year’s trends. For some, this means reading up on hot new menu items and scheduling brainstorming sessions with your chef. Others are redesigning their restaurants to look even better on Instagram. But all restaurants should be considering the most important growing trend of all: technology.

In the past few years, restaurant tech has wholly transformed the foodservice industry. Restaurant websites now have a measurable impact on business success. Online ordering is more than a trend; it’s a new way of life for most of your customers. Large chains like McDonald’s are even starting to integrate in-store kiosks. It’s time for restaurant operators to consider which technology solutions will guarantee continued success.

Here are our predictions for the top trends in restaurant technology for the coming year. As the restaurant tech industry continues to grow, you may have more options than anyone can imagine. For now, it’s important to focus on the best solutions available, and invest in technology your restaurant can rely on all year long.

 

In-store Kiosks

As the minimum wage rises across the country, restaurant operators are looking for ways to cut costs and impress guests at the same time. Ordering kiosks are available in many nationwide chains, and customers are starting to expect them at major Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). Even independent restaurants can stand out from the crowd by providing this exciting new technology to their guests. Kiosks can cut down on wait times and improve order accuracy, boosting guest loyalty in the long term.

 

Online Ordering

Many restaurants use third-party services to facilitate online orders; others provide Online Ordering (OLO) directly through their own websites. Either way, your busy guests rely on this feature to connect with your restaurant. Some chains – most notably pizza QSRs like Domino’s – have started implementing delivery robots that can keep food warm on the way from your kitchen to your customers’ homes. If you’re not ready to invest in a fleet of drones, the right packaging can still go a long way. Make sure your guests’ food is arriving ready-to-eat – not cold or soggy due to delivery mishaps. A few minutes of research into affordable, eco-friendly packaging can do wonders for your share of the OLO market.

 

Impressive iPads

When your guests come in to eat at your restaurant, they’re looking for more than a delicious meal. If they just wanted food, it would be far easier to order online. If a customer is dining in, you can assume they’re craving an experience that includes delicious food, excellent  service, and a sense of connection. One easy way to impress them is with mobile ordering technology. iPad Point of Sale (POS) systems empower servers to take orders quickly and easily. Cut down on human error by instantly uploading each table’s order to your cloud POS. This cuts down on wait times by sending orders to the kitchen; it also improves bookkeeping practices. Keep your guests happy and your restaurant profitable, with one user-friendly Point of Sale system.

 

We, Robots

It all started with Flippy, the now-famous burger bot. Chefs around the globe are now getting used to working in tandem with kitchen robots who can cut down on time spent doing repetitive tasks. This technology is more than a time-saver; it’s also a valuable marketing tool. Guests are excited to see more tech involved in the creation of their meals. Whatever innovations you implement in the kitchen, make sure to take action photos and share them on your website or social media accounts. Keep guests involved in the process, and they’ll be even more excited about the end result: a delicious meal.

Technology has revolutionized the way we do business. That’s true in every industry, but especially in food service. Restaurant operators should take advantage of the exciting innovations now available to them. Stand out from the competition, run your business more efficiently, and you can be sure your guests will respond.