Ankit Kumar
Ankit Kumar 14 January 2021

Key Technology Trends For Restaurant Marketing in 2021

One industry that is always progressing rapidly is the restaurant industry. Here are certain major technology trends that will brighten its future in 2021.

“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.” – Steve Ballmer

Technology has been an integral part of the restaurant industry for a long time now. But this year saw newer ways of embedding technology into restaurant operations, more because of the pandemic that shook the globe. Restaurants who were fast to adapt to these technical advancements did well, those who did not pick up pace lagged.

In this new year, there are many technological advancements that will lead the restaurant industry to newer heights and greater profits. Business owners are investing heavily in these restaurant IT solutions and services. Novel concepts and equipment are coming up for benefiting business revenue and upsurging customer satisfaction quotient.

The Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry is progressing rapidly and business owners are finding new ways and means of keeping customers happy, fulfilling orders and keeping on par with the fast paced restaurant industry.

How is Technology Benefiting the Restaurant Business?

Implementing modern-day technological software solutions and services has brought about revolutionary benefits to the restaurant industry and there is no looking back, here are some of the key advantages:

  • Automation of activities lead to enhanced accuracy, operational efficacy, and productivity
  • Customer service offered is of great satisfaction level, leading to increased loyalty quotient
  • POS systems offer a lot of advantages to different types of restaurants
  • Driving heavy traffic and sales, bringing in more profit and reduction in inventory cost
  • Effective employee handling of work, wages, and satisfaction levels

Key Technology Trends Revolutionizing the Restaurant Industry for 2021

  • Utilization of Mobile Devices and Restaurant Based Apps is Upsurging

Restaurant based websites and applications are now leveraged increasingly, world over. These apps are accessible over all types of mobile devices – laptops, tablets, smartphones. Most orders are placed through mobile-based apps. And, with the current pandemic situation, usage of such apps has increased by a great margin, mainly for home delivery and take away options, rather in dine-in facilities.

Even usage of hand-held POS devices is about to experience a great demand. These portable devices help big time in processing fast payment, delivering parcels effectively, passing on digital orders to the kitchen etc. Such apps prove highly convenient to the customers and business owners, alike.

These apps offer a farther audience reach, augmented client experience, flexible order placing and management, increased customer loyalty and transparent billing. It also helps the restaurant taskforce to ensure accuracy, transparency, and ease of operations.

  • Online Ordering and Delivery Systems Will be the New Normal

Though the dine-in experience is always more refreshing and preferred, the new normal right now has shifted its focus to online ordering and home delivery / take away. Either through restaurant-based apps or through third-party apps like Zomato, Uber Eats etc., business owners are managing a good chunk of business with increasing number of orders coming through from customers.

Restaurant owners may need to hire employees to get packets delivered and the mobile app that they use, may need to cater to that. The third-party systems may have to integrate the POS system. This brings in transparency in delivery methods, payment styles and sales management.

Ghost kitchens and kitchen display systems have garnered immense popularity in the year and shall increase more in the coming year. The food-on-the-go concept is being adapted in the new normal scenario. The kitchen display systems enforce a smooth communication between the front desk members and the kitchen people.

  • Online Presence, Review and Social Media Interaction Will Have More Focus

Those business owners who did not bother to create a social media or online presence have now bent towards doing so. The year to come shall see almost all restaurants having their online identity with a social media presence.

Businesses are now collaborating with third party websites for enhancing their customer reach. Restaurants can now talk with the customers and post relevant information such as notifications, campaigns, offers, discount schemes, exclusive deals etc.

Social media interaction in the form of feedback, inquiries etc. will lead to increased collaboration between business owners and customers. Reading online reviews posted by customers gives  transparent feedback about the restaurant, its food, ambience, service, costs involved etc. On a positive note, it is a good way of showing your business performance to all at one time.

  • Contactless, Secured and Flexible Payment Options are Much in Need

A wide range of payment methods with appropriate security measures is in demand today. Gone are the times when there used to be restricted modes of payment – cash / card. Now comes the time for a variety of payment gateways with appropriate security protocols. Such new advancements have encouraged the restaurant business to sustain the global crisis and maintain its position in the market.

All adjoining POS software and ordering software systems are following standard security compliance protocols, assuring safe and fast transactions. Looking at the pandemic, placing orders in a contactless manners and paying safely without any physical contact, is what matters most.

This has been one of the rising trends currently and shall continue so, more so, because of the pandemic. It is here to stay. Customers will get used to this new method of payment and ordering, even in normal times.

  • Need for Self Service Kiosks is Rising

This is the rising trend today – self ordering kiosks. Looking at the increasing rush at restaurants, many have started using the self-service portal that is well integrated with payment methods.

This increases speed of order delivery and reduces wait time by a large extent. These kiosks are well integrated with the software systems to ensure a centralized data monitoring. Such kiosks are more popular in QSR business owners where a quick placing of order and delivery matters the most.

These systems offer a transparent insight into what customers like the most, performance of delivery at outlets, orders received vs orders dispatched etc. Based on this, business owners can work upon enhancements in needed areas.

  • Cloud-based Point of Sale Systems are Being Leveraged

Putting aside the usage of traditional methods of computing, the restaurant industry is now making the most of cloud-based systems to fasten the entire installation and implementation process.

Especially for the POS systems, cloud related technologies help in a big way by synchronizing hand-held and portable instruments, along with relevant printers. Such systems offer cutting-edge features that can help get detailed insight into the business performance. One such feature is a touchscreen terminal that works seamlessly with cloud computing methods and offers great service by increasing efficiency levels.

Easy installation, lesser expense towards infrastructure and hardware cost, free updates, saving on maintenance expenses, robust reporting, offline system functioning are some of the key benefits of having cloud-based systems in this business. And the coming year shall experience more of it.

  • Implementing Kitchen Monitors and Automating Operations is Rising High

With increasing usage of order placement, having kitchen monitors helps a lot. Whenever a new order comes, the kitchen staff is informed through the monitor instantly, wasting no time in between. It quickens the entire delivery process and reduces usage of paper, with least chances of errors.

Kitchen display systems are being leveraged more and the coming year shall see more utilization of this. Acting as a direct bridge between the POS and the kitchen, these systems have proved beneficial in smoothening communication between the stakeholders.

These automated activities help the kitchen to work faster and smoother with high end efficiency. Menu items are shown in appropriate series to relevant screens and prioritizing is also done thoroughly.

  • Biometric Validation Will Give More Secure and Trustworthy Business

For customers and for employees both, biometric measures have proven worthy. Customers are using biometric verification through the apps for secure and fast recognition, excluding much of the data entry into the apps.

Even for managing the restaurant business, stakeholders find it easy to verify access and authority via biometric methods for employees. Face scan and fingerprint scan are two of the most popular methods that will be extensively used in the next year too. There are chances of newer technologies coming up in this arena soon that will bring fast and revolutionary results.

This also helps a lot in managing business activities like physical verification, inventory access, authorized access to cash registers etc. Even payment through biometric methods will be possible soon.

  • Offering Personalized Experience Through Chatbots is Being Preferred

Placing online orders was already the latest jargon but this year saw usage of chatbots while doing so. Chatbots offer a personalized experience making the customer feel homely and acquainted.

These chatbots are well programmed to answer customer queries, offer suggestions based on history, guide customers for payment methods, process orders instantly, send relevant discount / promotion messages and direct customers to newer items. This technology is seamlessly integrated with social media sites through which it can manage efficient marketing strategies.

  • High-end Focus on Security and Privacy Policies

With technology going deeper into restaurant activities, ensuring privacy and security of confidential information of all customers is the responsibility of the restaurant business owner. With this new year, offering superior security measures will come as a priority for all technological advancements.

The security policies will have to ensure proper measures for effective functioning of LAN and WAN, firewalls, and other appropriate hardware components. Having secure networks offers a lot of trust factor to customers, building up the loyalty factor.

  • Voice Assistance is Helping Restaurants in a Big Way

Automation is the key to success and voice automation is one leading arena in most segments today. Sparing the customer from keying in data, voice assistance enabled systems are helping customers place orders without any human intervention.

This reduces time taken to complete an order, especially when it is a takeaway or drive through order. Even restaurant kiosks are using this extensively. The coming year shall see more apps implementing the voice-based technology in their order placement module.

  • BI and Big Data Has Been Offering a Deep Insight into Restaurant Business

BI and big data have given their best to this business world in terms of extracting and analysing best of information from the huge bulk of information. Different tools and technologies have been instrumental in getting the best of results.

Restaurant marketing has turned data-driven and garnered increasing business. The coming year shall see a better time with the insightful information that is being processed through BI and big data measures.

Big data has been helping business owners to track the usage of special offers/schemes being placed. It helps in judging the effectiveness of the menu items, possible updates that could bring more business, running menu items, items which are not much liked, analysis based on customer feedback, probable business trend based on customer history. It also helps in maintaining and managing inventory stock amidst varying requirements.

As We Welcome 2021

Much is happening in the restaurant industry. The year 2020 showed many novel trends and the coming year has much more to offer. Especially with the pandemic still rolling over, these newer technology advancements will help the industry boom further.

As a business that barely sees a down fall, it will be interesting to see how technology creates a new wave of happening activities in the restaurant industry!

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