Discover some of the key restaurant technology trends we expect to see in 2024, with guidance on how staying on top of them can give your operation the competitive edge.
Things don’t sit still for long in the restaurant business, especially when talking about the technology restaurant operators and customers use.
Barely a month seems to pass without a new technology arriving and promising to radically alter the dining experience, or how the industry operates behind the scenes.
So to help you keep track – and stay ahead of the curve – we’ve collected some of the most important restaurant technology trends we expect to see in 2024. From more self-driving delivery robots to fewer iPads in kitchens, we’ve got it covered.
The top six restaurant technology trends to prepare for in 2024
1. Integrated technology systems will boost efficiency and growth
Restaurant operators are continuing to struggle with managing the day-to-day tasks required to keep their brands going.
Thanks to fragmented tech stacks spread across multiple providers, simple tasks like managing menus or accessing data take up the time operators could be spending on growth plans.
And when we partnered with KAM for our report Hospitality Tech 2024, we uncovered how this inefficiency is stopping restaurants from achieving their growth goals:
64% of operators
reported increasing profitability as a top focus area for their business.
54% of operators
reported that growing customer numbers is a top focus area.
Over 50% of operators
report that a lack of time is stopping them from achieving these goals.
But the good news looking forward is that the industry is embracing new technology systems; systems that combine all the tools for order management into a single, streamlined tech stack.
This significantly reduces the stress of managing disparate systems, saving time, reducing admin, and making things easier to use for owners and staff.
Last year, Deep Blue – the UK’s largest fish and chip chain – saved 500 hours on menu updates by moving operations to a single order management system, and reported a 30% increase in average transaction value, too.
After years of dealing with rapidly-multiplying tech solutions, we expect to see plenty more operators unlocking control and future-proofing their business by moving to a centralised platform in 2024.
2. Easy to read data and reporting will become even more crucial
We’ve seen an increase in restaurant operators embracing the importance of data in personalising dining experiences, improving loyalty programmes, and making more informed operational decisions.
This data-led approach is becoming increasingly vital for restaurant growth: it helps operators recognise opportunities for revenue growth, identify areas that need operational improvement, and empowers them to keep their finger on the pulse of the entire business.
But one of the largest challenges businesses face here is the sheer number of data sources available. And when you do manage to get it all in one place, it’s often near impossible to make sense of, let alone make decisions from.
Again, we expect to see operators moving to a more consolidated data process. Instead of spreading data across different platforms and systems, a centralised reporting platform provides a complete picture of customer behaviour and preferences.
3. Advanced delivery and order fulfilment options will become more common
The landscape of our industry is rapidly evolving, largely due to the rise of online ordering
and delivery apps. It’s an exciting time, with innovative features like real-time tracking and integrated maps becoming the norm.
Initially introduced by pioneers like Uber Eats, these functionalities are now essential elements of the customer experience.
Drones and self-driving vehicles are now stepping onto the scene as significant innovations, a notable example in the UK being StarShip’s use of food delivery robots in Milton Keynes. They offer not only cost-effective solutions, but also environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional delivery methods.
On another front, restaurants are adapting to this new era by introducing versatile pick-up options. Curb-side services and locker systems are examples of how they’re providing more flexibility and convenience to their customers.
These advancements are a clear response to the modern consumer’s demand for speed and convenience in food delivery, highlighting the industry’s commitment to evolving with the times
4. There'll be fewer tablets taking up space in the kitchen
If you went back-of-house in a QSR at the beginning of 2023, you’d likely be confronted with enough iPads to rival an Apple store.
Unfortunately working with one tablet per delivery partner and order channel creates chaos in the kitchen, often leading to rushed, low-quality or inaccurate orders. Not to mention the stress it creates for the team.
But as operators have started to sway more towards a streamlined tech approach, the number of tablets taking up counter space has started to decrease. Instead, a Kitchen Management System that reflects every order – no matter where they come from – on a single screen is transforming the order fulfilment process into something much more efficient.
This new approach is allowing teams to work from a single source of truth, helping them fulfil more orders with more accuracy, and less chaos.
5. Fast Casual operations will embrace mobility for streamlined service
In today’s fast-paced restaurant scene, mobile technology is becoming a key player, especially in high-volume settings. It’s all about boosting service speed and ramping up customer satisfaction.
By equipping staff with mobile devices for order taking, restaurants are breaking new ground in efficiency. This approach, often called ‘line-busting,’ is particularly effective during those busy rush hours.
The real magic happens in how this mobility streamlines the entire dining process. Orders taken on handheld devices are sent straight to the kitchen, speeding up food prep and slicing down the wait times for customers. It’s a clear sign of how technology is making restaurant service more agile and responsive.
This mix of tech and service is not just about impressing diners; it’s also about turning tables faster, which means better turnover for the restaurant. It’s a win-win scenario where technology meets hospitality.
6. Data security and customer privacy will become a priority
Restaurants have always been keen on using customer data to enhance their services – think loyalty programs and fine-tuning menus. But as we move into 2024, there’s a crucial aspect that will become more of a focus than ever: data management and security.
With the increasing volume of customer information that restaurants gather and store, it’s vital to put strong security measures in place. This means not only complying with privacy laws but also adopting best practices. We’re talking about secure payment processing, encrypting data storage, and conducting regular security checks.
Why is this so important? Well, protecting customer data isn’t just about keeping their trust and loyalty; it’s also a shield against potential data breaches. These incidents can hit hard, not just financially but also in terms of a restaurant’s reputation. In today’s digital age, prioritising data security is no longer an option – it’s a must for the integrity and long-term success of any restaurant business.
Use the right technology to capitalise on trends in 2024
The landscape of tech is always changing.
But as we look into 2024, it’s clear that when it comes to order management the key to success won’t lie in simply adopting technologies, but in streamlining them.
Want to learn more about how to stay ahead of this trend? Book in a chat with one of our restaurant tech experts below to learn how an end-to-end order management system will unlock streamlined operations, helping you grow into 2024 and beyond.