Hello Computer: Meet the Restaurant of the Future
The fast food and restaurant sector is characterised by a high level of innovation. This is set to continue and accelerate with the increasing technology adoption. Technology will drive faster food service, efficient kitchens, real-time customer relationship management and marketing via mobile phones.
In the future we will most likely see fewer humans and more computers operating in our favourite restaurants. In fact, some experts predict that most restaurants will be operated remotely from a corporate computer lab in the not-too-distant future.
Sounds a bit far-fetched? Not so. Leading franchisors such as McDonalds, Wendy’s and KFC are all experimenting with restaurant robotics in the quest for greater efficiencies, standardisation and lower costs.
For McDonalds, a potential big game-changer is the expansion of the Create Your Taste kiosks, a personalised meal platform providing more flavour combinations that is rolling out globally in countries including Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Then, last month, KFC’s first automated restaurant was launched in Shanghai, complete with an artificially intelligent robot manager named “Du Mi” who works at the front counter.
Here is a taste of some of the trends that are sure to hit our fast food and restaurant franchising sector in time to come.
Automation is everywhere
Forward-thinking restaurants have already introduced table-top tablets for placing food orders while others have introduced gesture-based tech with futuristic installed iBeacons that register when visitors sit at tables, and trigger a menu to appear on the table. Digital payments will be standard with the smartphone becoming the wallet of 2020.
Big-data drives customer interaction
Big data is a set to be a big deal. Big data, or extremely large data sets that are analysed by computers to reveal patterns, trends and associations especially related to human behaviour and interactions, is going to strongly influence what products are sold, how they are sold and how they are promoted. There is no industry that will escape the reach of big data analysis – including the restaurant and fast food sector. This will give chains and franchises a huge advantage and they’ll be able to invest in the IT systems required to churn customer transactions into reports that assist with decision-making.
With an eye on rising electricity costs, restaurant brands are bound to invest in LED lighting, reduced-consumption equipment and smarter air-conditioning systems. They will also look at reducing, recycling and composting waste. They’ll communicate their environmental credentials to increasingly conscious customers.
Forward-thinking restaurant innovations
From robots that flip burgers, fully automated self-service to technology that tracks your dinner preferences: you can bet that there’s someone thinking of it. Here are some of the more interesting restaurant concepts and that are currently in operation somewhere in the world:
- Find your fish
As concerns around food safety and sustainability mounts, consumers will appreciate greater transparency when it comes to ingredients. For a taste of things to come, look to Harney Sushi in California where QR codes are printed on to rice paper using edible water-based ink. When scanned, these reveal where the fish was found and current ocean stocks.
- Create your own cocktail (and earn)
We live in an age of increased consumer-brand collaboration. Futurists predict that this will lead to the rise of the ‘co-creational menu’. Customers will grow used to customizing their own food as they search for new food trends, nutritional information or allergy warnings. Tokyo’s Logbar, for example, allows people to create cocktails from a selection of bases and mixers on iPads, then post on a public timeline, earning a commission when someone else orders their creation.
- Drone delivery
We can expect drone technology to pop up in many different sectors and food is no exception. In fact, some forward thinking restaurants are already trying drone delivery. Russian pizza house Dodo Pizza began delivering pizzas by ‘domicopter’ last year. Able to cut fuel and labour costs for companies, airborne drone deliveries could become standard in the not too distant future.
A menu of different franchise options
It’s clear that the restaurant and fast food sector offers exciting and innovative business opportunities. At whichfranchise we have a wide range of rewarding franchise brands for sale including Hot Dog Café, King Pie and Pizza Perfect amongst others.