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The best new restaurant technologies you'll need in 2022

This year's 5 top restaurant technology trends When it comes to adopting new technologies, the restaurant industry has typically been slower than most other sectors. However, the COVID-19 pandemic forced restaurant owners to think beyond the traditional dining experience in order to stay relevant and afloat. As of January 2021, on-site dining had decreased worldwide by 63%. Technology was a life raft for those willing to learn and lean on new ways of doing business. Forced to look past conventional models and methods, successful restaurateurs turned to technology to better serve customers at home. Two years later, consumers and restaurant brands alike are still adapting to a fluid “new normal.” The dining experience of tomorrow has revealed itself to be a mix of in-person, curbside and contactless everything. Along the way, restaurant technology has morphed from a life raft to a trusted partner in helping restaurants reinvent and future-proof their business. Here are five restaurant technologies that can help your restaurant become more efficient, provide more memorable dining experiences and thrive in a post-pandemic world. Contactless payments Mobile and digital payment options have shifted from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” offering in the minds of customers. Mastercard reported that 80% of consumers polled in 2020 were using contactless payments, and 74% said they planned to continue using mobile payments after the pandemic ended. Online ordering is no longer the only experience customers expect to be contactless. Today’s patrons want a dining experience that’s fully contactless, from perusing the menu and ordering to paying. In fact, it’s estimated that contactless payments will triple from $2 trillion to $6 trillion from 2020 to 2024. Not only does this option reduce close contact and person-to-person interactions, but it also provides a quick and easy cashless payment method many customers are looking for. What’s more, less cash exchange between guests and restaurant owners means less money in the till, therefore less risk of human error or theft. QR codes Piggybacking on the demand for a contactless payment option spurred by the pandemic, QR code payments are predicted to grow by up to 240% leading up to 2025. QR codes have actually found a niche resurgence among restaurant guests in recent years, providing the new guest experience of choice. From cashless payment opportunities to self-order kiosks, menu sharing and reviews, the formerly forgotten QR code is making a strong comeback among many restaurants and being welcomed by patrons with smart devices. Whether interacting with curbside customers to help run orders and pickups seamlessly, or allowing inhouse diners to order drinks, appetizers or entire meals without having to flag down a server, QR codes are increasing restaurants’ bottom lines by making it easier and safer for customers to dine in or out. They’re also making it easier for servers, managers and owners to meet all customers’ needs. AI (times two) Automated inventory (AI) and artificial intelligence (also referred to as AI) are working hand–in–hand to push traditional restaurant boundaries. Automated inventory is increasing restaurants’ bottom lines by closing the loop on food and beverage orders, inventories and food waste. And with increased challenges in the supply chain, food delivery and lead times, automated inventory management can alleviate shortages and keep more items on your menu. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, has allowed restaurant owners to navigate new ways of doing business with less human-to-human interaction, helping existing establishments keep doors open and making it easier for restaurateurs to open new eateries. From burger-flipping to predictive ordermanagement software, AI is changing the way restaurants interact with guests, improving customer experiences and adding efficiencies. Digital kitchen & menu boards According to Presto, using digital menu boards can increase yearly restaurant sales per unit by $16,000 by linking front-of-house operations to back-of-house operations seamlessly. Kitchen Display Systems (KDS) are digital menu boards for kitchen staff that work directly with customer-facing boards and restaurants POS systems, simplifying the ordering process and improving the dining experience. Digital boards also improve communication between staff and guests, they make ordering, tracking tickets, and item updates faster and easier, and they reduce instances of human error. All of these factors lead to better customer satisfaction and profit margins. Reviews & high-tech feedback Whether online or by word of mouth, reviews have always been an important factor in building a restaurant’s reputation, capturing new customers and incentivizing repeat business. However, with less and less face-to-face interaction, restaurant managers are looking for new ways to stay in close communication with their guests. Enter high-tech feedback systems. In just a few clicks, owners and operators can establish relationships with customers and collect immediate feedback via their digital ordering platforms. The addition of a guest feedback platform allows restaurant owners to collect reactions, answer questions and send responses in real time, taking the ever-present concept of instant communication beyond the table and even off premise. While the past two years have no doubt brought substantial change to the food and beverage industry, restaurants that have been open to rethinking how they do business are taking huge strides in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Utilizing new technologies continues to allow restaurant owners to stay nimble and reinvent themselves as we enter the next phase of post-pandemic life

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