2022 Predictions: Technology to Play A Major Role in Casual Dining
According to the new research from CGA Strategy, consumer confidence in eating and drinking out remains high, despite the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Reassuringly, more than two thirds (70%) of those surveyed now feel confident about visiting pubs, bars and restaurants – more than double the number at the start of 2021 at 34% and a sharp increase on the 52% from its report in July.
So, what do operators need to do to retain consumer confidence and most-importantly, what key technology trends will they need to adopt in order to drive footfall and increase revenue streams?
Back of house tech will become a necessity
In a recent study from India, 80% of restaurateurs said deploying back-of-house restaurant technology is a necessity for running a successful restaurant. Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) will be intrinsic in 2022 to helping operators manage efficiencies across back-of-house. Directly linked to the POS, the technology streamlines operations, while increasing efficiencies to deliver consistent, quality plates of food quickly. From a business perspective, it is possible to view real-time data and insights to make informed decisions, which will impact the bottom-line.
Accelerated automation and AI
As brands continue to maintain a steady state of dine-in demand, it will be important for operators to utilize restaurant technology solutions to improve efficiencies and customer satisfaction. Adopting machine learning and AI technologies can deliver data to keep costs down and profits up.
For example, an AI can help predict inventory based on customer buying patterns and existing supply. Not only does this ensure the restaurant has the right food in place to fulfill orders and keep customers happy, but also helps the bottom line by reducing food waste.
Transaction data will become the star of the show
Today, technology solutions have to be about more than just handling transactions. In 2022, operators will have to focus on putting transaction data to work to better predict demand, control the supply chain, reduce waste and manage costs to remain agile.
QR codes set to move into the norm
Already a given in mobile-first societies such as China, QR codes will start to go global in 2022, popping up at restaurants around the world. In this ‘no-touch’ era, auto-scanning barcodes allows customers to access online menus, order and pay – and all without contact. The technology has also played an essential role in helping restaurants with contact tracing. Offering a number of convenient benefits at relatively low costs for restaurants, QR codes were a must for many in 2021 and will become a must-have in coming years.
That great British spirit seems set to continue. According to CGA, there are signs that footfall should increase in the months ahead, with 19% of consumers planning to visit venues more often than they did in the previous year and 33% stating they will increase their frequency of visits from February.
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About the Author
Nick Brown heads up Business Development for QSR Automations in the UK. Nick lives around west London (where he’s spent his life) and considers himself a bit of a foodie. When not at the latest restaurant, you can find him occasionally jogging or (more likely) binge-watching the most recent Netflix series.