Have you wondered what the next step is for the restaurant industry? For the past decade, technology has been transforming the once-staid sector of the economy. Here are a few things that might surprise you as the year unfolds, and they’re not all about high-tech changes. Some are actually about food choices, ingredients, and healthy eating.
Throughout 2019, the restaurant will continue its speedy evolution into a high-tech, customer-oriented, frictionless service entity. But not all the fresh new industry trends are about technology. In fact, many are as old-fashioned as can be and include things like new cuisine choices, natural ingredients, and more healthful dining options.
What, exactly, is in store for consumers who plan to spend disposable income in restaurants this year? Here are just a few of the key trends that are changing the industry already and are poised to leave permanent marks on the eating-out experience:
Natural, Functional Ingredients
Consumers have been demanding less-processed eating options for decades, and now the restaurant industry has finally come around to offering more than a perfunctory nod to that desire. Whole foods, nutritional natural grains, vegan choices, fresh vegetables straight from local farms, and other health-friendly offerings are popping up in eateries across the U.S. One element that driving this trend began with consumer demand for vegetarian, vegan, keto, and gluten-free menu items. Now, everything is up for grabs, and smart restaurateurs are willing to cater to all sorts of specialized, health-conscious trends.
What’s the ultimate in delivery? Eating any restaurant’s meal in your own kitchen, and the current market is veering swiftly in that direction. The advent of vast sole-proprietor delivery businesses helped spawn this unexpected trend toward consumers who simply don’t feel like going out but still want the “house specialty” from their favorite local restaurant delivered to their dining room. If you want to take part in this modern way of “dining-out-at-home,” simply pick up your phone or tablet and order it “delivered.”
Secure mobile payment solutions have been around a while, but this area of restaurant management is finally beginning to mature and branch out. More restaurants in large and small markets are beginning to integrate at-table POS payment options so that customers never have to stand in line to pay for a meal.
For management, high-tech POS capability means never having to leave the cloud to access core data or analyze financial trends. A cloud-based POS system allows managers to conduct their job from any physical location. And customers who once worried about the “secure” aspect of secure mobile payment solutions have become accustomed to inserting or waving their credit cards when it’s time to pay up.
Avoid long lines and wait times by implementing self-ordering kiosks or tabletop systems. With the use of tabletop ordering, customers will no longer have to wait to get the attention of their waiter or waitress. Without the wait time, restaurants will also see an increase in check averages. With order automation, customers will no longer have to worry about if they have enough time or not to stop by a restaurant to eat.