Blog / October 4, 2023 / Jeff Stumpf / UPDATED February 17, 2024

Innovative Restaurant Technology Trends

Table of Contents

    Ghost kitchen food prep

    As the restaurant industry continues to shift more and more to delivery, new innovative food service tech is emerging to help restaurant businesses thrive.

    Business owners must embrace new restaurant technologies to enhance customer experience and remain competitive. Whether it’s tapping into new revenue streams, implementing contactless delivery systems, navigating new food and beverage trends, or leveraging smart technology, restaurant owners will need to continue to adapt more to this ever-changing landscape for their own operational efficiency.

    In fact, it’s estimated that 50% of restaurant owners are tapping into new revenue streams, such as grocery, retail, and meal kits.

    What we consider the traditional restaurant dining experience is rapidly changing, and a new age of restaurant tech is upon us.

    To help you stay ahead of these growing trends, we’re diving into the top trends that will be making the largest impact this year.

    New delivery app features

    Major third-party food delivery apps like Uber Eats and Grubhub are continuing to add new features as more hungry customers return to each app for a new online food order. 

    Uber Eats is now offering searchable pickup maps on their mobile app, which allow customers to simply search for a cuisine by using an emoji. Hungry customers can also start ordering ahead for pickup at airports, to avoid waiting in line at the counter before their flight. Delivery apps for all different types of restaurants across the globe are becoming more and more convenient for hungry customers searching online. 

    Grubhub is helping football fans get back to the game with order pick-up at sports stadiums. It’s estimated that this will help cut wait times in half at major sporting events.

    From airports to sports stadiums, customers are expecting more convenience when it comes to online food ordering. 

    If you’re ready to test out new delivery app promotions, DoorDash is now offering sponsored listings where you’ll only have to pay for orders placed. None of your ad spend will have to go towards impressions and clicks.

    The use of this restaurant technology trend by restaurant operators is becoming increasingly important in meeting the expectations of customers who demand more convenience in their food online order experience. It’s vital to stay on top of new delivery app features to ensure you’re adapting to new technology trends and staying ahead of the curve.

    Major restaurant brands are even testing out automated cooking and order-taking to streamline operations at each restaurant location. We’re diving into that next.

    Autonomous delivery and pickup robots

    McDonald’s is testing out new innovations when it comes to cooking and taking orders. At a handful of locations, they’re already testing out bots that are used to cook orders, Alexa-style voice ordering, and self-serve kiosks being used to drive pickup orders.

    The fast food chain is also testing delivery meal drops using drones as part of a partnership with Uber Eats. The top delivery app is continuing to test out new delivery drones across the U.S. to help cut delivery times for quick-service restaurant customers.

    Autonomous delivery vehicles are also underway, which means longer hours of operation, with the help of artificial intelligence. 

    According to Forbes, it’s estimated that by the end of 2022, dozens of cities across the U.S. will have delivery robots in use to help cut labor costs and food delivery times.

    In addition to delivery drones, there is new restaurant tech emerging in the restaurant industry to help automate tasks. 

    Automating customer service

    With labor shortages across the country, more restaurant brands are adapting to new tech to help streamline operations and automate tasks. By automating customer communications and payments, you’ll be able to quickly fill any gaps so you can get back to business. 

    In fact, up to 46% of restaurant owners are already automating their customer communications to help streamline their business.

    Think of how much more time you could spend on revamping your restaurant menu or testing out new concepts when you have tech automating different tasks for you. As delivery continues to rise, it’s vital for restaurant owners to maximize efficiency to stay ahead of the competition. 

    We’re diving into contactless deliveries next, so you can learn how to offer even more online ordering options for hungry customers.

    Customer service chatbots

    Customer service remains an integral part of your business model that should be considered in your restaurant business plan. Fortunately, restaurant owners can optimize customer care by implementing a chatbot into the restaurant’s website infrastructure.

    With the advancement of AI technology, chatbots can streamline restaurant operations to:

    • Intuitively guide customers through a website
    • Take customer orders
    • Offer special promotions
    • Answer customer questions

    The intuitive interface of many chatbots provides customers with quality service in a snap that garners customer loyalty and encourages repeat visits.

    Restaurants can also use chatbots to cut down on incoming calls, providing more time to attend to in-house customers and provide a quality experience.

    Contactless payments

    The biggest 2022 restaurant technology trends deal with contactless service. With the rise of Apple Pay and mobile wallets, more consumers expect contactless payment options.

    Contactless payment through apps and QR codes can add another layer of convenience to your delivery process by:

    • Cutting down on customer wait times
    • Improving customer satisfaction
    • Providing more opportunities for exceptional service

    In addition to streamlining the check-out process, contactless payment can also reduce germ circulation that may spread around the restaurant and kitchen when waitstaff handles cash and credit cards. Fortunately, contactless payment technology can help your customers and your staff feel more comfortable—and reduce trips to the sink.

    Owners can also maintain hygiene by implementing air purification technology that filtrates and disinfects the air.

    We’re diving into contactless deliveries next, so you can learn how to offer even more online ordering options for hungry customers.

    POS System

    Contactless deliveries 

    QR codes are here to stay, as contactless payment and ordering options have become the new normal.

    But what about contactless deliveries? 

    More restaurant owners are providing contactless food delivery options to their customers. Through enabling doorstep delivery, curbside pickup, or pre-payment options, you can offer your customers peace of mind whenever they order from you. 

    Large chains like Papa John’s are offering no contact and touchless deliveries, even including a quality seal on each pizza order.

    As you implement new tech to automate workflows and expedite the delivery process, you can also explore additional revenue streams to capitalize on market demand. 

    Online table reservation system

    If you want to improve your restaurant’s dining room flow, an online reservation system may increase your turnover rate.

    Online reservation systems have become an industry standard in recent years. Not only is online booking more accessible for guests, but it can also help your staff plan and execute a well-coordinated rush. Most systems offer various functions to help manage:8

    • Reservations
    • Waitlists
    • Contact lists

    Customers can book directly through the reservation system rather than calling in and disrupting in-person service. Plus, most reservation systems allow you to predetermine how many reservation slots to release to the public to avoid overbooking.

    You can even check the timing of individual reservations in real time. Monitoring this can help ensure steps of service are being completed at the appropriate time markers to provide customers with an excellent dining experience.

    Your staff can also look to your virtual waitlist for guidance as the dining service progresses. Most systems will allow staff to add time markers and client descriptions to avoid confusion.

    Keep track of your regulars and any necessary client notes with an online contact book. This tool can help nurture customer relationships by keeping track of important information. Take note of allergies, birthdays, anniversaries, or any special notes to enhance customer experiences.

    Inventory Management Software 

    Expand your restaurant technology beyond the front of the house with inventory management software. Inventory technology provides your kitchen staff with tools to centralize restaurant operations and visibility into supply chain needs.

    More specifically, automated inventory and kitchen management software can help your team:

    • Keep track of ingredient stock levels
    • Purchase orders
    • Store recipes
    • Adjust menu costs
    • Reduce food waste
    • Manage vendor relationships
    • Increase profits

    With a streamlined inventory process, your kitchen manager can finish the job in a fraction of the time.9 Additionally, an easily accessible stock list that can be viewed in real-time allows restaurant managers and executives to understand trends within your restaurant, take note of popular menu items that need priority, and stay on top of ingredients that often go to waste.

    Staff can easily identify ingredient levels and recipes in one digital space to mitigate time spent rummaging through cabinets, refrigerators, and freezers and improve communication with vendors.

    Some inventory management software also uses AI prediction technology to enhance your ordering process. By analyzing stock longevity, portion sizes, and waste levels, this tech can help optimize and automate purchases.

    That said, the benefits of inventory management software extend beyond the back of the house. Ensuring that your restaurant has everything it needs to craft every item on your menu can improve customer satisfaction and establish your restaurant as one that rises above the rest.

    Digital kitchen boards and cloud-based POS

    Many restaurants have started utilizing digital kitchen boards and cloud-based POS to streamline workflow at the cash register and beyond:

    • Digital kitchen boards: Often mounted as a digital menu behind the ordering station, digital kitchen boards make the menu easily accessible and readable for customers. Restaurant owners can quickly update menu items, expedite customer wait times, and provide an engaging menu that appeals to customer needs and interests.
    • Cloud-based POS: With a cloud-based POS system, staff can use tablets, computers, and phones to receive real-time data on wait times, facilitate contactless payments, track inventory, manage reservations, and input orders.

    Digital customer loyalty incentives

    Another new restaurant technology trend is one designed to boost customers’ spending and encourage customer loyalty. Customers can sign up for a loyalty program either online or via an app, using contact information such as a phone number or email. The program then tracks their spending and recommends rewards based on their previous purchases. This provides a seamless and personalized experience for customers where a restaurant owner can also suggest new dishes to try and encourage them to spend more.

    New revenue streams 

    In order to diversify revenue streams, restaurant owners are shifting to grocery, retail, and meal kits to turn profits. The convenience of these options is resulting in up to 40% of customers ordering items outside of their standard meal order from a restaurant.

    Now you can diversify your restaurant business while maximizing revenue online through a variety of revenue streams. 

    Explore ghost kitchen locations across the US:

    DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only and the content does not constitute an endorsement. CloudKitchens does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, images/graphics, links, or other content contained within the blog content. We recommend that you consult with financial, legal, and business professionals for advice specific to your situation.


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