The past year marked a significant shift in restaurant operations as more restaurant chains began to resemble tech companies. From mobile apps, which incorporated ordering and payments, to delivery, restaurants began to understand the importance of maintaining a digital presence.
The threat to brand comes with staying true to their core principles as they emerge as tech companies.
Nation’s Restaurant News predicts these will be the most innovative tech trends of 2016:
Restaurateurs saw profitability in digital platforms and began investing in a new kind of executive or vice president. Starbucks employed former Adobe executive, Gerri Martin-Flickinger, while Chiptole hired former Starbucks CIO, Curt Garner. Similar acquisitions took place among various restaurant chains.
New executives will aid in digital expansion and consumer engagement through digital platforms. As the digital age plays out, incorporating technology into business models for all types of industries becomes an important aspect for growth.
Mobile Ordering, Payments, and Delivery
Throughout 2015, restaurant and quick service chains worked to incorporate delivery into their operations. Third party delivery services, such as Postmates and DoorDash, have become a hot commodity. Various operators, including Taco Bell, Starbucks, Panera, and Chipotle, tested delivery in certain areas. This year what will be significant is the integration of delivery services.
DoorDash and GrubHub offer consumers a single platform to order all of their favorite restaurants. A few third party ventures suggest having multiple apps for the consumers preferred restaurants will undermine their experience. These business models offer the user a simple and easy marketplace.
Other propose restaurants will want to keep consumer experience under their supervision by integrating delivery into apps and websites. Most notably at the forefront of delivery integration is Starbucks, who is harmoniously combining ordering, payment, and delivery into the Starbucks App.
An emergence of software companies are also offering digital payment and delivery solutions for restaurants. Operating systems are built to allow the consumer to make purchases and select delivery options directly from the restaurants own App.
Trying to take a piece of the restaurant and delivery markets are meal kits. Providers are offering partially cooked or uncooked effortless meals that take little skill or time to complete. Most notably are companies such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Plated that offer restaurant grade meals and delivery at reasonable prices.
Whether it be a trend or a withstanding market is debatable. Some predict restaurants could start producing their own meal kits delivered by Postmates or DoorDash. Meal kits are definitely a niche to closely watch.
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