Grant Higgs from North Carolina is a classically trained culinary professional with over 20 years of private club experience. In the following article, Grant Higgs discusses how technology is changing the way restaurants do business, and how this technology can improve the customer experience.
In the competitive restaurant industry, little things go a long way.
Sometimes it’s the atmosphere. Other times, it’ll offer unique food that wasn’t previously available at that location. But at the end of the day, the name of the game is innovation, explains North Carolina’s Grant Higgs.
To keep up with the times, many restaurants need to evolve to keep up with 21st century technology standards. The problem is that restaurants are notoriously often allergic to change, although there are many forms of restaurant technology that can take a business out of the noise.
Below, Grant Higgs provides some of the top foodservice tech trends, a driver of the food tech market expected to be worth nearly $342 billion by 2027.
alternative payment method
The COVID-19 pandemic requires contactless payments. Contactless payments may have skyrocketed during the pandemic, but according to Grant Higgs, it’s a technology that’s here to stay.
Now, these payment options have gone a step further, with the option to pay via smart card, smart watch or smartphone becoming mainstream. This technology has benefits for both consumers and business owners. Grant Higgs of North Carolina explained that the payment is very fast and more convenient.
Another by-product of the pandemic, air purification systems have become part of restaurant cleaning protocols. Customers now expect advanced disinfection systems that focus on circulating cleaner air through technologies such as bipolar ionization for indoor and outdoor spaces.
Another approach, says Grant Higgs of North Carolina, is to use ultraviolet light to clean restaurant surfaces and the air, often in a technique not only accessible to the public.
QR codes, a form of barcode, are nothing new. It’s been fairly common in marketing and product tracking over the years. However, they are a novel implementation for restaurants, which now use QR codes to store menus and provide a different way to order, pay the bill and view the nutritional content of dishes, explains Grant Higgs of North Carolina Say.
Somewhat related is the use of augmented reality (AR) technology in menus. It’s likely that this approach won’t be available in the near future, but the technology has the potential to display 3D images of food that could also be linked to a restaurant’s ordering system.
Reservation and Inventory Software
Grant Higgs of North Carolina says technology is constantly evolving and these are the two most important aspects of running a successful restaurant. The new booking software eliminates the possibility of human error, making booking and storage as easy as possible, avoiding long waits and overbooking.
Accuracy is also a fundamental part of advanced inventory management software. Different technologies can organize inventory sheets and checklists on paper, providing insight into your sales and purchasing patterns to ensure your business is on the right financial track.
Grant Higgs says showing new hires the knack is a top priority for restaurants large and small. More and more restaurants are using virtual reality to help onboard new employees.
This virtual reality training allows new employees or potential employees to learn all about the ins and outs of a restaurant, from kitchen facilities to how it works on a busy night to the benefits of employment.
With such positioning, restaurateurs can even tailor specific content related to the restaurant and the community it serves.
Meal planning kits aren’t just for grocery stores or companies like Blue Apron. Restaurants are also getting in on the game, deconstructing their most popular dishes and selling them directly to consumers to make at home.
It’s a style that’s especially popular with younger generations, with 75 percent of them saying they’d consider buying such a meal, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association.
Still, about 50 percent of older Americans said they would try the option as well, seeing it as a way to both support neighborhood restaurants and score their favorite foods, Grant Higgs reports.
Cloud print order
For a long time, the way restaurants worked was waiters took orders and ran back to the kitchen to put them in. With a little refinement, restaurant workers can digitally record orders and send them to the back of the house.
But the new kitchen cloud printing resource quickly sends orders directly to the kitchen via the EPOS system.
The cloud-based system also lets staff log dietary requirements and can store product information, so restaurants can be alerted when stocks run low.
All of this is done with two technologies: a cloud printer and a regular tablet.