2018 has been an exciting year for restaurant technology: the prevalence of delivery options, increased investment on kiosks, the rise and fall of cryptocurrency and the impact of social media. But what does the future hold as we make our way into 2019?
Today, we are putting together a quick list of what we think will be big trends in 2019.
#1. Virtual/Augmented Reality
The future of restaurant menu interactions will be coming in 2019. However, some folks are already experimenting with it. Augmented Reality (AR) is one of the biggest tech trends to look out for in 2019. This new form of technology will allow customers to have a visual experience like no other. AR allows customers to use their phones or restaurant iPads to view 3-D renderings of menu items. This gives customers not only an image of the food, but to view it as if it was right in front of them.
While this concept sounds very complex and expensive, it is actually quite simple.
Tech start up Kabaq is at the forefront of the AR trend. Its application allows restaurants to add the 3-D experience to their menu within just a few weeks.
With the use of high quality images and other image guidelines, Kabaq is able to process them and create a 3-D food model. The customer is then able to access the 3-D renderings through Snapchat. Customers are first prompted to scan a Snapcode and this gives them access to the 3-D menu items.
Why do this?
Remember the adage: people eat with their eyes? This system gets at exactly that sentiment.
A study conducted by Kabaq says that restaurants saw an increase of 25% in dessert sales alone with the use of AR.
The AR trend is still in the early-adapter phase. As a result, restaurants that choose to integrate this technology now will have an appeal that other restaurants do not. This can generate a plethora of marketing opportunities that will attract new customers vying for a memorable experience.
#2. Mobile Payments
In 2017, the use of mobile payments grew 75%, especially within quick-service establishments. For a consumer, the ability to order and pay from a mobile device speeds up the process dramatically.
For restaurants, mobile payments cut down the number of customer touch-points, thereby making it easier to serve more customers. Plus, it can provide a wealth of data about their customer base and spending habits. By doing so, restaurants can have a built-in loyalty program that incentivize customers to both return to the establishment and continue using mobile pay.
Mobile payments are great, but they are not without their own risks. All owner/operators need to be aware that data breaches are a real concern. 2017 and 2018 were full of large and prominent examples, including Cheddars, Adidas, Panera Bread, Verizon and most notably, Equifax.
#3. Self-serve Kiosks
Did you know: 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant tech improves their business efficiency and 65% of customers use an ordering kiosk when it is presented to them? That means switching to a mobile POS software or the implementation of an ordering kiosk would be an advantageous move.
In addition, 73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience. More specifically, 61% agree that handheld tablets improve the dining experience.
Do you have tablets in your restaurant? Test with one or two and see how your customers react. Be sure to track their tipping on IPad versus non-iPad users.
2019 will no doubt bring new and interesting things for the restaurant industry. We cannot wait! What trends do you think will be dominate 2019? Let us know on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages!
Serious about updating your POS? Check out the Northstar POS system to improve the power and effectiveness of your restaurant!