Technology as it relates to the restaurant industry: Information Technology, Cooking Tech, ...


5 Technologies Changing the Restaurant Industry

The foodservice industry is poised to outpace the economy for the 12th consecutive year with sales expected to reach $632 billion, a 3.5 percent increase over 2011, according to the National Restaurant Association. And restaurants will reinvest a lot of this money in technology that gives them an edge. Customers already are signing credit card bills with their fingers on touchscreens and using apps to order at fast-food restaurants. But those are just the beginning. Entrepreneurs in the foodservice industry should keep an eye on the following five innovative technologies that are improving the way restaurants do business -- in kitchens and front of the house.

Technology and the Restaurant Industry: A Work in Progress

Over the years the traditional dining experience has steadily evolved due to technology's influence on the restaurant industry. From table reservations to wine pairing to inventory control, technology is making dining out far more enjoyable. Increasingly, iPads are being used in restaurants to order food or pay the bill while wireless headsets allow the staff to communicate better, making the entire dining experience run smoother. This trend has been met with seemingly open arms: as reported by the National Restaurant Association, 40 percent of adults said they would be likely to utilize a smartphone app if it were offered by a quick-service restaurant and 32 percent of adults said they would use a mobile or wireless payment option if it was offered by a full-service restaurant. All this technology saturating the restaurant industry has sparked the idea for an app that could potentially decrease waiting times at restaurants. Often, when popular restaurants do not take reservations, patrons must arrive, put their name on a list, and sit and wait for an excruciatingly long time for a table to open up. There has to be a more efficient way to do things! There are some restaurants that have picked up on paging systems such as Table's Ready and WaitAway that notify their guests when their table is ready via text message, rendering the traditional buzzers obsolete. This allows guests to wander away from the restaurant and stay entertained exploring the surrounding area and likewise lets restaurants collect data on the number of parties they seat and typical wait times for different nights.