Hospitality Technology Magazine released their 16th annual Restaurant Technology Study this week. Did it foretell the coming of a new age in restaurant tech? No, but it did confirm that spending on innovation is on the rise – a steady adoption of the tools that make up the modern marketplace.
The study is divided into 5 categories – technology budget, business strategy, front-of-house, back-of-house, and payment security.
Here are my favorite bits of knowledge I thought worth sharing from a few of these sections.
IT spending was segmented out by technology type, with POS solutions leading the pack at 33%. HT Mag introduced the category of Customer Engagement this year, which immediately ranked 4th behind Store-level Back-office Solutions and Enterprise Software.
store-level back-office solutions
networking & data security
It will be most interesting to see if customer engagement (such as CRM and loyalty programs) moves alongside the other types in the coming years. As CMOs begin to influence technology investments more regularly than CIOs, we expect a sudden lurch in customer-facing tech to replace older, tried and true methods that no longer satisfy.
Restaurant-goers expect to reserve a table, order food, and pay their bill before they even arrive – actually, while they’re on the way. And in doing so, they want to be rewarded for their regular visits. Services like SpotOn are filling the gap with an out-of-the-box quick solution for loyalty programs.
Enterprise Solutions (with allocated spend of 13%) include such things as ERP systems, business intelligence and analytics, supply chain management, and more. It’s worth considering that solutions such as FoodOps, that mobilizes operations and store-to-store BI, transcend several of these technology types and can be considered an investment in business strategy as well. And speaking of…
Restaurant executives were asked where they stand in terms of business and technology innovation.
Most think of themselves as a leader in innovation when it comes to business innovation, but a close follower in technology innovation. From the study, “The gap is concerning. While business innovation could include menu or service changes, technology still plays a significant role in innovation for all industries.”
The largest growth area for BOH technology is no surprise – mobile. It makes sense though, of 15 technology types surveyed, mobile devices for manager use was the least implemented to date.
There’s no doubt that mobilizing management could mean spending more time where they’re needed most, but still access the information that keep operations going. We’ve seen it before with quick-service, fast casual and fine dining restaurants that have implemented tools like FoodOps. Not only do they break free of the back-office tether, but they are empowered by additional intelligence that gave them insight into promotions, customer behavior, store evaluations and more.