Restaurant Technology Trends for 2022

Restaurant Technology Trends for 2022

The growing demand for off-premise dining has made it even more attractive for restaurants to expand operations. Investing in the latest restaurant technology and digital innovations can help with everything from streamlining order taking to managing multi-channel marketing. Your ability to incorporate technology into your restaurant can have a huge impact on customer experience. The modern diner is tech savvy, and expects their favorite places to grab a bite to be up to date with the latest tech trends.

The online food delivery industry currently generates more than $26.5 billion a year. By 2024, that number is projected to surpass $32 billion. Technology has changed the way we dine and connect with restaurants. Keeping up with these trends can help you secure a loyal customer base and grow your ROI.

Here are the emerging restaurant technology trends every restaurant owner/operator should be mindful of and a few tips to help you as you leverage technology to take your restaurant to the next level.

1. Branded online ordering sites are now a necessity

The online food delivery industry is booming, with restaurants generating an impressive $26.5 billion annually, and considering that online ordering is growing three times as fast as in-house dining, that number will continue to rise. Even as in-person dining is back in full force, online ordering is growing 300% faster than in-house dining.

In a way, hungry diners searching for their next meal via the internet are a captive audience. Typically, they’ve already decided they want delivery or pickup – they’re just waiting to see which dish, cuisine or restaurant promotion piques their most interest. To stay competitive, it’s crucial that restaurants not only understand the importance of online ordering but also that they have a system in place to accommodate the flood of orders that are just around the corner.

Digital innovations in restaurant technology like digital menus, online ordering and secure mobile payment options appeal to consumers. Best of all, they help your restaurant stand out. But putting all that together on your own can be both daunting, time consuming and expensive.

That’s where Direct comes in. Direct is a commission-free online order platform that can be customized to fit your restaurant’s brand. Our easy-to-use ordering system has all the tools you need to create unparalleled ordering and delivery experiences that will keep consumers coming back for more.

The Direct Success Playbook by Grubhub

2. Digital loyalty programs are evolving

Sometimes having incredible food and top-notch customer service just isn’t enough. Restaurants need an edge in order to outsell the competition. With new restaurant technology, loyalty programs and promotions can be used for just that.

While loyalty programs have been around forever, digitizing these experiences has made it easier for restaurants to reach customers and grow their ROI. 45% of consumers say that mobile ordering or loyalty programs would encourage them to use online ordering services more.

Offering customers an opportunity to turn loyalty into savings forgers a bond between consumers and corporations that’s proven profitable time and time again. Promotions can have the same effect by giving prospective customers a reason to try out a new establishment. It also gives existing customers a reason to come back and try a new dish.

Tie together your loyalty program and food promotions for deals like:

  • Discounts or a dedicated mini menu tied to a national food holiday
  • Deals linked to repeat visits, such as a free appetizer after five takeout orders
  • Dollar deals awarded to customers who refer friends and family that afterward place a successful order
  • Discounts celebrating a loyal customer’s birthday or program anniversary

Restaurants that join Grubhub get access to our Grubhub+ customers, where there is an audience of hungry, order-primed and subscription-paying diners waiting to see what your restaurant has to offer.

Direct users can also use built-in tools like direct-to-customer email lists and data streams to run tailored promotions or build a loyalty program from the ground up. Digital-based rewards programs allow restaurants to track customer data to provide more personalized rewards programs tailored specifically to their customers.

Restaurants that are on Grubhub Marketplace also get access to our powerful promotions and loyalty tools: A few of these tools include:

  • Targeted promotions that offer superior value by targeting the right demographic
  • Increased ROI thanks to smart marketing algorithms and detailed customer data
  • Options for multiple campaign goals including attracting new customers, bringing back previous customers, starting a loyalty program or promoting specific menu items or order types

3. Contactless payments brings a new way to check out

The way diners pay for a meal looks a lot different these days. More and more customers have stopped carrying around cash, opting to pay for their food with cards, smartphones and even smartwatches. Contactless payment allows customers to pay for their meals without physically exchanging money.

While over 80% of US consumers have used contactless payments, only 67% of US retailers offer this payment option. Contactless payments are quick and secure, making the checkout process effortless for your customers. Restaurants who don’t incorporate contactless payment options into their business risk losing out on this large chunk of customers who resort to digital transactions.

How can you incorporate contactless payments into your restaurant? Adopting a digital point-of-sale (POS) system is the best place to start. POS technology allows small businesses to digitally manage transactions.

POS integration can also help you aggregate all your restaurant’s digital orders. Your restaurant technology no longer needs to operate on different wavelengths with the latest improvements in POS Integration. Big chain restaurants around the country are getting on board with a new post-pandemic business model that uses emerging restaurant technology to include multiple service channels. When you partner with Grubhub, you can easily integrate your POS system with Grubhub to simplify your order and menu management.

4. QR codes spread the word about your restaurant

Contactless consumer habits have extended beyond just payment with QR codes. A QR code gives consumers the ability to scan a code with their smartphones. Once they scan the code, they will be taken directly to a webpage of your choosing. QR codes allow digital materials to be more accessible – whether that be your restaurant’s menu, website or ordering platform.

QR code menus skyrocketed at restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic. Diners appreciate the contactless way of placing an order, and the popular technology spread across the restaurant industry. QR codes give you the creative freedom to spread the word about your restaurant. Here are some places you can paste your QR codes to make them pop:

  • windows: For potential customers who are trying to decide whether or not to eat at your restaurant, having access to the menu on the outside of windows can help them easily make their decision.
  • walls: If you happen to have lines fairly often, then having the QR code menu on the wall where people can see it while waiting can speed up the ordering process.
  • Tables: It’s common to see table toppers or small cards attached to tables in restaurants. This can be an easy way to give people more flexibility and time to decide what they want to order.
  • Flyers: Print out the QR code menu and spread them all over town. This is a fun way to draw people’s attention to your restaurant, and you could offer a promotional deal for anyone that brings on the flyer the next time they eat at your establishment.
  • Stickers: To be extra creative and spread the word about your product offering, you can turn your QR code menu into stickers to give to people or to hang around your community.
  • Business cards: Similar to stickers, a business card is an easy item for people to grab and take with them either to their table to order or when they leave the restaurant.

Check out more tips on how you can implement QR codes at your restaurant.

5. Delivery packaging is getting an upgrade

As the channels that customers use are evolving, the way restaurants prepare and send out food has changed as well. Staying up to date on takeout packaging innovations is the key to maintaining customer satisfaction. While food quality has always been top-of-mind for diners, the integrity of the containers that keep their food safe in transit has also become an interest. Sustainability matters when it comes to packaging:

  • 80% of consumers are concerned about how food packaging impacts pollution and animal safety
  • 63% of the solid waste produced in the US is derived from packaging materials
  • Choosing the wrong containers for your food can ruin the appearance, quality and taste of your dishes

No customer wants soggy fries trapped in a sweaty foam container, nor does a hungry family want to open their Mexican takeaway to find their salsa tubs popped open in route, spilling spicy sauce everywhere.

Take advantage of technological advances in container manufacturing by choosing the best to-go food containers that are not only designed for durability, but are also secure, environmentally friendly and crafted with specific types of food in mind.

Sustainability is a hot issue for many diners, and packaging is an area where restaurants can fall short of being eco-friendly. Recyclable containers that use biodegradable plastic, aluminum foil or recycled paperboard are not only good for the environment but can also keep your food safe en route to its destination. Learn more about how you can maintain food quality with sustainable packaging.

6. Third-party delivery is here to stay

Arguably the most significant new technology in restaurants isn’t truly in restaurants, it’s in the hands of customers ready to place an order. Third-party delivery apps have made delivery and takeout trends possible. Over one-third of Americans use a third-party delivery service at least twice a week, proving that third-party partnerships can have a huge impact on a restaurant’s ROI.

These unassuming little apps take care of everything from marketing and promotions to keeping customers up to date on when the order is prepared, packaged and on its way to their front store. But not all delivery apps follow through on their promises.

When you’re looking for a reliable delivery service app, look no further than Grubhub Marketplace. Here you get access to the largest online food delivery marketplace in existence, tied of course to an app that connects you with an audience made up to some 33+ million diners looking for restaurants just like yours.

Here, Grubhub has harnessed the power of restaurant technology to bring together cooks and consumers. Diners get to quiet their hungry bellies, while restaurants get great benefits like:

  • Free merchant welcome kit
  • A free tablet and/or POS integration for managing orders
  • Free photo shoot and expert advice to make your meals look incredible
  • Menu consultation services
  • Access to a branded ordering site
  • Promotional and loyalty tools
  • Ability to respond to ratings and reviews

And that’s just the beginning. Partnering with Grubhub is a fast-ticket to better functionality, on-trend restaurant technology, and stress-free integration that powers more effective and efficient restaurant operations.

Restaurant technology in the bigger picture

The food we eat has always been a reflection of larger cultural trends and current events. With everything from the holistic wellness movement to sustainability affecting what we order, cook and consume.

Now, that same trend continues with restaurant technology shaping how we structure our work-from-home days, what we get hungry for when we’re gaming online, and how we expose our taste buds to exciting new cuisine.
Interested in seeing how Grubhub can help you stay on top of restaurant technology trends and usher your business toward a more successful future? Join Grubhub today and try it out free for 30 days. You’re going to love what you discover.