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Technology in the Foodservice Industry Connects Operators and Consumers

02:22:22 PM

There is no shortage of exciting new technologies in today’s foodservice industry. Many technologies have developed as a way to keep pace with growth and customer demands, particularly the younger tech-savvy generation. As with any innovation in the foodservice industry, the main driver behind technology is the customer experience. Foodservice operators are embracing solutions that make lives easier – both their own as well as the consumer.

Here are four foodservice technologies that will keep operators and customers better connected.

Tablets and mobile apps
Customer-facing technologies and self-service kiosks allow consumers to perform essential actions (such as ordering) without needing assistance from staff members. This allows operators to make establishments more efficient by better using employee time.

In the NRA’s 2015 Culinary Forecast, 29% of respondents said that tablet computers (e.g. iPad) for menus, wine lists, and ordering would be the hottest technology trend in restaurants for 2015. Similarly, 26% felt that smartphone/tablet apps for consumers (e.g. ordering, menus, daily deals) would be the hot trend and 22% felt smartphone/tablet apps for chefs/restaurateurs (e.g. recipes, table management, POS tracking) would be popular in the New Year. No matter how they are used, tablets and mobile apps are impacting the foodservice industry in powerful ways.

Mobile payment
58% of American adults have a smartphone as of January 2014, according to Pew Internet Project’s Mobile Technology Fact Sheet. As mobile adoption rates continue to rise, it’s easy to see why the foodservice industry is eager to respond. Major brands like Starbucks, McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, and Wendy’s are already taking advantage of mobile payment technologies and many others are following suit. Foodservice operators wanting to implement mobile payment technologies should work to ensure that these technologies enhance and improve the customer experience, not interrupt it.

Digital signage
There are a variety of reasons that have spurred foodservice establishments to upgrade to digital signage, including decreasing technology costs and recent menu labeling requirements from the FDA and the Affordable Care Act. Panasonic is also betting on digital signage to become more popular in foodservice, as they recently unveiled a new digital drive-thru menu board solution. Digital signage makes dynamic content a possibility for operators, meaning they can better connect with customers through changing menus, daypart changes, and promotional items.

Beacon technologies allow operators to target consumers in brand-relevant locations. They are low-cost and are small enough to attach to countertops or walls, and use Bluetooth connections to display messages on nearby tablets or smartphones. The technology can communicate with customers to provide them with information, offers, or even assist in the checkout process.

For example, Hillshire Brands used beacons in ten cities in the US to track shoppers’ journeys through the aisles of a supermarket. Discount coupons and advertisements for Hillshire Brands’ craft sausages would be sent to the shopper through apps like Epicurious when they approached that area of the store. Hillshire Brands reported a 20% increase in purchase intent.

Are you interested in learning more about how foodservice trends and data can improve your sales and marketing programs? If you’d like to speak with one of our representatives, please email [email protected] Or, feel free to give us a call.

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