NRA 2018: Three Technology Trends Restaurant Managers Need to Know

Bematech Blog - July 31, 2018

technology trendsThis year’s National Restaurant Association (NRA) show may have come and gone, but many of the technology trends on the showroom floor won’t be going away any time soon. Here’s our take on the top three technology trends from NRA 2018 that operators need to consider for implementation in their restaurants.

1. Kiosk Ordering

There was a definite emphasis on placing orders more conveniently. One technology trend that creates this customer convenience is the use of touchscreen kiosks — in the lobby or in the drive-thru. With kiosks, customers can take their time to get their orders exactly as they want them, customized according to dietary restrictions or personal preferences. Not only are errors reduced, but customers tend to order more, increasing average ticket size.

While there might be some concern that the adoption of kiosk ordering would eliminate jobs, that has not been the case. Instead, employees can be shifted to food preparation and order fulfillment, resulting in faster turnover times and more efficient service. And kiosks eliminate the problems of orders being taken by flustered new employees who haven’t yet mastered the point of sale (POS) system.

2. Beacon Technology for Order Pickup

Another technology trend aimed at improving customer experiences is the use of mobile apps to place orders for pickup. Today’s consumers love using their mobile devices for just about everything, and that includes ordering ahead. According to a study by global information company The NPD Group, restaurant visits paid by mobile app have increased by 50 percent since 2017. Having a mobile app that lets diners place, pay for, and receive orders can help your restaurant provide the convenience your customers are looking for

At NRA 2018, some companies demonstrated innovation in order pickup with the use of lockers or cubbies that hold orders. Beacon technology recognizes customers’ mobile devices when they enter, triggering a locker light or, customers can use the mobile app to get an access code to open the locker that contains the correct order. Other apps allow diners to remain in their cars while the app signals employees to bring the order out to the curb. Customers receive accurate, prompt orders, and your staff has more time to devote to other areas of your business.

3. Increased Appetite for (and Accessibility of) Big Data

Other technology trends at NRA 2018 highlighted the massive amounts of data now available to restaurant managers. Using Internet of Things (IoT) technology continues to grow in all types of restaurants. For example, automated bartenders can be programmed with 300 to 2,000 recipes and gather valuable data such as inventory tracking and drink trends. The more data generated, however, the more managers want fully integrated systems that can process and analyze it, providing insights that allow owners to make better-informed business decisions, increase profits, and improve customer experiences.

Staying on top of technology trends such as those featured at NRA 2018 is crucial for restaurants that want to remain competitive in today’s environment. Bematech offers the restaurant technology that helps grow your business today and in the future. Download our product catalog to view our complete suite of state-of-the-art hardware and software solution to meet your POS and kitchen display system (KDS) needs.