This Brand CMO Predicts the Technologies that Will Reign at Restaurants in 2019

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Technology has changed everything and will only continue to do so. When it comes to food, there's so much potential for technology to help make a positive impact.

So what does the future hold for the restaurant industry? How will technology help to enhance operations or the guest experience?

Nabeel Alamgir, the chief marketing officer at Bareburger made some predictions in a recent opinion piece for "Forbes" where he said that augmented reality is expected to take the dining experience to the next level.

"If your customer finishes their drink, the technology recognizes this and prompts their server for a refill. Additionally, augmented reality allows your customers to see a 360-degree, digital rendition of each menu item right in front of them," writes Alamgir.

Although Alamgir predicts that augmented reality will become more mainstream, he also thinks that table-top kiosks will continue to pop-up at restaurants.

This technology can be a waiter's best friend. It enables guests to order or ask for a drink refill without being asked by a server. They can even pay on the tablet.

"Kiosks have the potential to improve your turnover rate and keep your company on trend, assuming the initial growing pains are overcome," writes Alamgir.

Plant-based proteins are rooted in science and technology. In 2019, these innovations are only going to become more popular, especially as consumers gravitate away from traditional meat.

"Meat alternatives often work for everyone’s diet, religion and beliefs, so there’s no reason not to offer them as options for your customers.," writes Alamgir.

What other technology and food trends does this marketer think will take over the restaurant industry come 2019? Read more at "Forbes" now.

On a recent episode of The Barron Report, Host Paul Barron gave his own predictions about what the future holds for the restaurant industry. Six out of his eight predictions were spot-on. Watch the video to see what Barron thinks will take off this year.

Packaging is a Key Differentiator to Off-Premise

The wrong packaging can make or break your diner’s experience. With a growing demand for takeout, delivery, and catering, restaurant operators should embrace an increase in packaging costs. Something so little as a higher quality material, or something innovative like an indicator to let consumers know their food may have been tampered with in transit is critical.

On this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, Valerie and Erle speak with Jennifer Crawford, director of off-premise sales at Fazoli’s System Management, an Italian quick-service restaurant, and Ernie Davis, National Account Manager for Accurate Box, a box manufacturing plant that produces high graphics boxes. The group discusses what is quickly becoming a true differentiator for brands as more and more product is going the way of takeout, catering, and delivery.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next season, and if you have questions for Erle or Valerie, please reach out to us at producer@foodabletv.com!

SHOW NOTES

8:43 - The Challenges of Corrugating to Franchisees

11:39 - The Challenges In The Delivery Channel and Packaging Innovations

16:02 - Fountain Drinks and Sabotaged Delivery

24:14 - Off-Premise 2.0

28:19 - Marketing Tips for Packaging

34:15 - What is Accurate Box?

:50 - Packaging Is Critical to Off-premise

2:36 - Welcoming Ernie Davis, and Jennifer Crawford

2:57 - Fazoli’s Off-premise Over the Years

5:35 - Strategies Regarding Packaging Costs

7:15 - Packaging Continues the Consumer Experience


Synopsis by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


VIEW BIO

Your Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Questions Answered

The off-premise paradigm shift continues to force restaurant operators to change their operations or risk being left behind. Erle Dardick, a foodservice takeout, delivery, and catering expert and CEO and Founder of Monkey Group, and Valerie Killifer, editor of Catering Insights both know a thing or two about helping multi-unit restaurant executives create successful off-premise revenue channels and have been sharing their knowledge in The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show podcast. The idea is to provide you, the operator, with strategies and insights that will help you leverage your brand and make your off-premise initiatives smart, fast, and profitable. As a restaurant operator, if you have not listened to The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, then you are missing out on the only podcast that is tackling the many questions and challenges in the off-premise space.

We are nearing the end of the first season, so in this episode, we decided to answer some of your questions. From food safety issues in the delivery channel to social media marketing, we cover the gambit of the most significant problems facing operators today.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next season, and if you have questions for Erle or Valerie, please reach out to us at producer@foodabletv.com!

SHOW NOTES

26:48 - Question 5: What will impact the future of your off-premise business more, automation or AI?

36:35 - Question 6: What is the biggest challenge to growing takeout and delivery sales?

39:06 - Question 7: How does takeout fit into off-premise and how can it best serve the customer?

50:27 - Question 8: Who are my biggest competitors in off-premise?

00:42 - Welcoming Paul Barron, CEO to the show.

01:19 - Question 1: When it comes to delivery, how do you protect your business from a food safety issue?

07:22 - Question 2: Is there a way to reduce the costs of these third-party services.

17:42 - Question 3: Do you trust Facebook or Linkedin as a real catering marketing solution

21:25 - Question 4: Should we incorporate a pick-up counter in our fine dining restaurant? Take out is
exceeding 11% of sales.


Ghost Kitchens, Abandoning Third-Party Delivery Partners and More Challenges Operators Will Face in 2019

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While there is a lot of discussion surrounding cannabis within the restaurant space in addition to new spotlights on fermentation, craft ‘tea bars’, farm-to-table (2.0,) breakfast day-parts, and plant-based food – there are also some ‘trends’ we should expect to see from the operations side as we celebrate the beginning of 2019.

Each individual venue, whether it is a restaurant, bar, cafe, food truck, or lounge etc. has their own distinct problems to solve, but the one constant among successful operators that we see today is their ability to adapt to change.

This means adapting to a change in consumer behavior, cost structure, supply chain dynamics, labor dynamics, and their hyper-local market & competition, to name a few.

Striving to manage the ‘unknown’ within these categories, however, can be quite scary for many new or seasoned, independent restaurateurs.

Operators must innovate to adapt efficiently to the ever-changing external & internal economic conditions – something that is incredibly important, and is arguably more important than ever, as we shift focus into this New Year.

Let’s have a look at the most critical changes operators should be adapting to:

Third-Party Delivery Pushback

There’s no question, delivery, and off-premise dining has disrupted and caused havoc on much of the restaurant industry over the past couple of years – and more so in 2018. The economic models and regulations surrounding third-party applications have recently come under scrutiny by consumers, restaurateurs, governments, and even the delivery drivers themselves.

While delivery and off-premise dining as a revenue channel shows no signs of slowing down – expect independent restaurant operators to change focus and develop their own strategy (online ordering + delivery) to effectively control costs and improve profitability (no more 20-30% commissions) while protecting their brand (through better quality control and customer service) and keeping that invaluable consumer data in-house.

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The Rise of Ghost Kitchens

While independent operators are adjusting to the change in delivery logistics and off-premise dining – they also need to keep in mind another ‘disruptor’ that is starting to emerge. It is what’s referred to as the "ghost kitchen."

These ‘restaurants’ (we use that term loosely) are delivery only and have no typical restaurant venue; where guests can walk in, sit at a table or even pick-up their own takeaway order.

What’s the business model? Their food is only accessible online or through a mobile app, and is exclusive via home delivery.

Thanks to the data that has been made available now to tech giants such as Amazon and the leading third-party delivery platforms (UberEats, Foodora, Skip the Dishes etc.) – expect to see more of these ghost kitchens serving unique dishes with flexible menu options that they know guests will be eager to buy and pay more for due to its level of convenience.

Smaller Foot Prints

Coinciding with the increase in delivery, off-premise dining, and on-demand consumers, expect to see both traditional restaurant start-ups and even already established brands looking to operate out of a smaller footprint.

To maximize a small space that will also drive a high-profit percentage per square foot, restaurateurs need to truly understand their concept inside and out. Operators need to create a variety of financial scenarios and menu choices (and sizes) and determine the absolute minimum needed to execute the concept in terms of space and financial projections.

Smaller spaces utilize minimal expenses in rent, staffing, and other fixed costs - however, smaller spaces often bring in a smaller portion of customers in relation to its size. This is where the right balance in menu prices, menu options, productivity, and the understanding of one’s concept, demographics, and potential flow of traffic throughout its dayparts, is crucial; whether dine-in, take-out and/or delivery.

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Tablet Hell

How many restaurants are operating with the view of a cockpit at its point-of-sale? It seems every data provider, mobile ordering system, and POS solution provider needs to have their own tablet or screen, creating a nightmare for both front-line staff and management alike.

To ease operations as we roll into 2019 – expect to see further partnerships and all-in-one solution providers to hit the scene, consolidating all of the technology into one, easy-to-use platform.

As we know, communication is fundamentally important in the restaurant space, so it only makes sense that operators should be looking to combine their accounting, inventory, sales reports, labor management, vendor management, online ordering, catering, and delivery logistic communications into one database.

Every operation has a different way of doing business with different uses for data. That being said, while having consumer & restaurant data might seem like the goal, finding ways to turn analytics into actionable items for a restaurant should actually be the mindset; something that needs to be a focus in 2019 to remain scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent!

Labor Consolidation

With smaller spaces in addition to the ongoing changes in how we operate today, and not to mention the always increasing wage structure within the industry – it only makes sense for operators to consolidate their labor. This doesn’t mean burning out employees or giving them more tasks then they can handle. It means finding ways to maximize efficiencies.

As you can see so far, smaller is becoming better. With the increase of open concept kitchens in the smaller foot-print restaurants, why can’t cooks cross-over to be service staff when the meal is ready? Why can’t mixologists and bartenders help out in the kitchen and also close out food orders?

Expect to see more of a blended FOH & BOH operations or a ‘one-house’ approach in cross-training to control labor costs, lower turnover, and maximize efficiency.

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With all of this said, are dine-in restaurants or your neighborhood pub a thing of the past? Not necessarily, if the operators create differentiation and memorable experiences while they focus on their own branding.

Restaurants today have to compete with supermarkets, food halls, food trucks, meal kits, ghost kitchens, and other third-party applications. The time is now for operators to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing external & internal conditions of this cut-throat industry.

It is possible to be profitable with a strategic mix of dine-in, take-out, delivery, and catering revenue channels if they’re in fact - open to change!

Centralized Services Can Increase Your Restaurant's Efficiency and As A Result Your Revenue

Centralized services is one of the 5 Pillars of Successful Restaurant Takeout, Catering, and Delivery, and refers to the idea of minimizing the complexity of your sales, marketing, ordering, and even IT channels to one central point outside of the restaurant. This allows your restaurant operations to focus on what’s most important, the execution and presentation of your dishes.

For example in the takeout and catering channel, it is estimated that the average restaurant misses 6 - 12 calls a day that could be leading to additional sales and revenue. Enter Inktel and Voice Teleservices which provides centralized call center operations to make sure that your restaurant is not losing out on potential customers.

In this episode of The Takeout, Delivery, and Catering Show, Valerie and Erle explore how a call center can help you maintain your customer relationships and increase sales, how centralizing these services can save you money by reallocating your labor, and how you can take your consumer back from the third-party service provider.

SHOW NOTES

00:44 - Call Centers and Centralized Services.
02:54 - Introductions to David Sawicki, President, Voice Teleservices and Jason Schlenker, Executive Vice President, Inktel.
08:57 - Third-Party Marketplaces are Beating the Foodservice Operator.
17:21 - What Are The Cost Savings Of Centralized Call Center Services?

21:50 - Amazon is Just Going To Buy It All!
25:27 - These Services Are Critical To Build, Maintain, and Protect Your Customers.
29:24 - How Can Independents Make Sure They Are Not Getting Left Behind?