A technological evolution: the saving grace for the restaurant industry
Article written by Michael Schatzberg
The demand for digital automation in restaurants continues to skyrocket as the hospitality industry navigates a return to normalcy with more reliance on reducing costs, maximizing employee performance and retaining customers.
More … than 80% of business leaders accelerate the digitization plans of their work processes using new technologies, according to data from the The World Economic Forum published last fall. What else, 50% of employers should in fact automate more roles in businesses, especially restaurants.
This is because restaurant automation occurs with point-of-sale integrations, applications that enable remote management, and bespoke beverage delivery services, among other innovations in food technology. And savvy startups targeting these market niches are already one step ahead.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE AUTOMATION
Food technology innovations have fueled restaurants and big tech in recent weeks. Amazon introduced a palm-of-your-hand payment service at a Seattle Whole Foods. Domino’s announced its driverless pizza deliveries through a partnership with robotics company Nuro. And, on the food and beverage front, the New York-based online beer platform TapRm earlier this year, we tested a stand-alone beer service using robots that can carry up to 36 beers (up to 50 pounds).
TapRm continues to capitalize on its business model by working with brewers to achieve some of the most unique hard brews, ciders and seltts by distributing them to supermarkets and restaurants and also making them available direct to the consumer for delivery. The goal of these automated efforts is to reduce delivery costs and keep consumers safe by emphasizing contactless interactions.
Employee management in restaurants has also become more automated, especially at a time when many owners struggle to rehire employees and need to streamline their efficiency. Blanket helps automate day-to-day operations – from food safety to repairs, maintenance and planning, allowing managers to manage and solicit employee feedback remotely as needed.
DIGITAL ORDER BY HOME
Even as restaurants reopen for full service and capacity, many continue to operate offsite dining models. And while third-party delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats have seen extreme growth during the pandemic, new technology that allows a restaurant to build its own food delivery or ordering platform while helping it avoid marketing commission fees are growing in popularity. Channels like JuicePress rely on startups like GoParrot, which creates digital ordering platforms for restaurants so customers can buy food, personalize their orders, and get dish recommendations based on previous orders, all in one place.
GoParrot has helped Juice Press and other food business customers pivot their digital operations during the pandemic to enable the purchase of groceries and drinks online through its app.
DIGITAL REWARDS FOR ORDERING INCENTIVE
After more than a year of restaurants without seeing many of their customers in person, with a slight increase in delivery and take-out options, loyalty programs are a major way for operators to win back customers.
LuckyDiem, a marketplace that offers cash back rewards to over 200 million users, serves as an advertising platform for businesses that only pay for the service when customers purchase a meal at their restaurant, an incentive for the customer and operator. The platform promises to increase the number of new customer visits by over 50 each month and increase check size by over 30%.
Other loyal startups like Spend create personalized loyalty programs that include point systems for rewards, payment options with points and other incentives. The startup is also integrating with point-of-sale systems to help optimize customer service through things like table-top ordering and contactless payments.
Michael “Schatzy” Schatzberg is the co-founder and managing partner of Branded strategic hospitality and the general manager of branded restaurants. He has over 35 years of experience in marketing, brand development, management, business development and hospitality. Schatzberg began working at Duke’s in 1995. He then transformed a one-concept restaurant into a multi-unit hotel group – opening a second Duke’s location in Manhattan and renaming Big Daddy’s from a 1969 soda store into a variation of the classic American dinner. Schatzberg has developed, developed and managed 6 hospitality concepts and advises over 22 restaurants in New York. He is a founding member of the NYC Hospitality Alliance and a member of the New York State Restaurant Association.
After being one of the first to adopt hospitality technology as part of his concepts and having served as an advisor for many HI-Tech start-ups, Schatzberg founded Branded Strategic Hospitality, an investment and consultancy firm, which leverages its ecosystem of places of hospitality, expertise and relationships to influence, redefine and develop hotel technology (“HI-Tech”) and innovation in food and beverages. To date, the company has made 21 direct investments.