The restaurant industry is changing at a rapid pace. Fast casual, technology-focused concepts are taking hold of the market and threatening traditional sit-down restaurants. As a result, many traditional quick service operators are trying to adapt to this new landscape.
We plan to explore some technology that you will see more of in the restaurant industry in 2023. This article looks at how changes within the quick service segment will influence operations over the next few years, including common challenges and solutions that operators should consider when planning their operations for the future.
What is happening in the restaurant industry in 2023?
In 2023, the restaurant industry will be in a state of flux. The growth of the fast casual segment will continue to be a major challenge for traditional quick service restaurants. Online ordering and payments will be more prevalent than they are today, further impacting the traditional in-person dining experience.
E-commerce will continue to expand and become more comprehensive. Smart appliances, such as refrigerators with built-in, automated meal prep systems, will help reduce the amount of staff required to operate a restaurant.
These appliances will make in-house meals more accessible to diners. Customers will also have the option to customize their meals with different add-ons like sauces, dressings, and sides.
Technology and automation: The need for it
Automation and technology have the potential to fundamentally change the restaurant business model. However, the pace of change is slower than some would expect. There are currently about 6.4 billion people on the planet and the global population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050. These numbers pose significant challenges for the restaurant industry as demand for food grows.
The adoption of automation in the restaurant business will vary by market and by concept. This is due to many factors, including location, customer demographics, and the type of food being served. However, automation has the potential to positively impact all aspects of the dining experience. Automation is expected to impact operations in three major areas: food preparation, service, and delivery.
Rising minimum wage and labor shortages
The increasing minimum wage will impact the restaurant industry. Similar to automation, the impact of a minimum wage increases will vary by market and by concept. However, there is a high likelihood that some quick service concepts will be unable to remain in operation. Many restaurant concepts are likely to be unable to operate at full capacity with this added cost – there is where technology such as self-service kiosks become important.
Crowdsourced, online ordering and payments
The popularity of crowdsourced online ordering services has grown significantly since their inception. UberEats, Amazon Restaurants, ChowNow, and Seamless are examples of popular online ordering platforms. In addition to serving as a source of online ordering, these platforms are also used for payment.
Most platforms feature in-app billing, making it easy for customers to pay for their meals with a credit card. The popularity of online ordering and in-app billing has significant implications for the restaurant industry. More customers are opting to order their meals online, which is diminishing the need for quick service operators to have an expansive menu with an abundance of different items.
Additionally, online ordering provides a level of convenience and security that is missing from the in-person ordering experience. Consumers can order food in a comfortable environment and use a payment method that is more secure than cash.
Parters such as EZ-Chow, offer online ordering solutions such as web/mobile online ordering, QR code ordering, order/pay at the table and self-service kiosks.
Bottomless and all-you-can-eat dining with self-order and table service kiosks
The emergence of bottomless and all-you-can-eat dining options will become more common. Currently, these options are available at select restaurants and primarily in vertical concepts, such as steak houses, seafood restaurants, and fine dining concepts. Bottomless and all-you-can-eat dining has the potential to become more popular.
The traditional restaurant industry has been slow to adopt self-order kiosks, which is limiting their widespread adoption. As online ordering becomes more popular, it is likely that consumers will begin to prefer self-order options.
By eliminating the need for diners to wait in line for a server, self-order kiosks can increase throughput. Some quick service operators may choose to invest in self-order kiosks to increase efficiency. However, these systems will likely become more common as online ordering becomes more prevalent.
The restaurant industry is changing quickly and many operators are struggling to adapt. In order to survive in the future, operators should consider adopting automation and use emerging technologies to their advantage. In particular, self-order and table service kiosks, self-ordering and table-waiting, and bottomless and all-you-can-eat dining options will be more widely used.
EZ-Chow has solutions such as an Online Ordering, Self-Ordering Kiosks and Rewards/Loyalty Solutions that integrate into your existing POS systems. To learn how EZ-Chow can help you with these initiatives and more, get started by contacting us here.