2016’s Best Restaurant Technology Trends (And 2017 Predictions)

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2016 Has Been a Wild Year…

    From cheap and chic poke bowls to the now possible Impossible Burgers the hospitality industry is innovating with great traction, with restaurant technology services right along with it.  This year has brought us systems to help make everyday operations easier for both guests and restaurants.  With 2017 right around the corner, strides will be made to make all hospitality processes not only easier, but more comprehensive to track.  While nothing is written in stone, one thing is certain, restaurant owners and operators have a plethora of products to help them grow their businesses bigger and better.    

Track and Maintain Your Customer Base

Gone are the days of using binders and handwritten notes to keep track of guest preferences and reservations.  There are a number of restaurant technology companies, to give hospitality businesses closer insights on their guests and help front of house staff cater accordingly.  One of the more well-known companies in this arena is Sevenrooms.  The smart CRM system aids in booking reservations, providing guest data, even integrating with various POS systems - helping restaurants, hotels and clubs alike to cultivate regulars and drive up sales.

iOS POS Systems Are the New Norm

For many F&B businesses, the old days clunky POS modules are behind them.  Tablet and iPad POS’s are increasingly more prevalent, especially with the QSR boom.  With processing, reporting and being user-friendly to boot, it’s a win-win for many restaurants.  There’s no question that future restaurant technology will continue to come in the form of glossy glowing screens with sleek, streamlined hardware.  Even mainstays like Digital Dining and NCR are starting to make the shift to tablet systems.  Major players to watch: Brink, Revel, and Square

"The NRA found in 2016 that 43% of Restaurant Operators said they offer Mobile Payment Options, 25% More will in 2017"

Getting on the Mobile Payments Bandwagon

In the past, it may have been difficult to conceive that one of the most important devices in your life would be able to fit into your pocket- but here we are!  App developers have recognized the restaurant technology competitive advantage: The smartphone is the new wallet.  Although Apple and Google have jumped onboard with “mobile wallets”, the ones appearing in the restaurant space are becoming more common amongst frequent restaurant goers.  Look into: Pay with OpenTable and PaidEasy

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It’s All In The Wrist

    While there are mixed reports about the supposed dives and spikes of smartwatch sales, restaurant groups may want to at least look into them for their FOH Managers.  Industry trailblazers, Union Square Hospitality, announced their partnership with the reservation start-up, Resy, that will integrate with the Apple Watch.  As of the anticipated Union Square Cafe 2.0 opening, every manager on the floor will be able to receive alerts on their wrists to make sure guests get optimal service.  

"Using stats from the NRA, The Rail estimates the level of turnover will cost the average full-service restaurant operator $146,600 annually in 2016"

Paperless Smart Hiring

Recruiting staff and handwriting new hire paperwork is the bane of every restaurant operator.  Luckily, Harri’s Total Talent Solution allows restaurants to source, hire and manage their talent all in one system.  Providing a powerful way to help them attract the best talent for their hospitality business. Harri has created the most user-friendly and capable platform on the market to hire the right employees and retain them.  Made for the hospitality industry by a hospitality veteran Harri allows you to hire smartly.   

While we’re only mere weeks away from 2017, there has been signs of new restaurant technology trends for the year ahead.  Developments in mobile are moving forward with both visual and vocal aspects gaining prevalence as well.

  • Handless Payments - Google has already been testing this out with some big industry names like McDonald’s, Chick-fil-a and Papa John’s.  Guests would just say “I’ll pay with Google” and a photo of them would appear on the POS verifying their identity- a terrific solution to long lunch rush lines.

  • Communicating with Guests Via SMS - Everything from orders, ads to general customer feedback appear to be headed to text communication.  Companies like EZtexting, Optit and Slicktext are all leading the way here.

  • Visual Marketing Continues Upward - Social media marketing will keep heading in the direction of video and images, there’s even talk of Snapchat driving more guests into restaurants.  

  • Using Systems to Track Employee Productivity - With such a high saturation of new restaurant tech systems, like Harri’s TeamLive. Tracking workers' efficiency and sales will begin to gain popularity.