Experts at Restaurant Technology News say that in 2023, successful food and beverage businesses will be adopting five key tech-based trends.
With restaurants increasingly using quick response (QR) codes in lieu of paper menus, it’s clear that contactless dining is the first of these five game-changing trends. Digital menus were embraced more than ever as restaurants reopened in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and have caught on with restaurant owners due to their cost-cutting benefits and easy-to-edit formats. There are now menu management software options that help restaurants with customizations, such as specials or displays for out-of-stock items.
Delivery is, of course, the next significant trend — and third-party apps dominate the food delivery industry. Consumers dislike fees, taxes, and other added costs on these apps, but they love feeling like they get a good deal with discount codes. By enrolling in these apps, restaurants can become more visible to new customers and get ahead in the competition with other local businesses.
Next, "ghost kitchens" or "virtual kitchens" are another up-and-coming trend. Ghost kitchens, which first gained popularity throughout Asia, are restaurants without dine-in spaces. They can be rentable, shared by one or more businesses, and come stocked with all the necessary kitchen supplies. Virtual restaurants are similar, as they only make food for delivery apps or pickup. First-time restaurant owners are more likely to utilize this trend, as it cuts overhead costs dramatically.
Restaurant automation, like White Castle's Flippy, the burger-flipping robot, is also expected to grow throughout 2023. From digital kiosks for ordering to tabletop tablets or robot busboys, automation seems to be the way of the future. American chains with the capital to experiment, such as McDonald's, Olive Garden, Chipotle, and CaliBurger, are all frontrunners in this trend, which is expected to optimize and streamline food quality.
Loyalty programs are the final trend that will take over the restaurant industry in 2023. According to Restaurant Technology News, investing in regulars will help safeguard businesses against potential pitfalls during tough times. Offering free appetizers, drinks, or desserts after a certain number of visits is a common way to reward customer loyalty. Some businesses also make their programs more complex with apps, giveaways, and points all integrated into their point of service (POS) systems.