If 2016 was the year of finding sustainable, long term and realistic solutions to issues pertaining to food systems and restaurants, 2017 will be the year that these technological solutions will become prevalent. In 2017 food technology will be at the forefront and both restaurants and patrons will witness how technology will begin to help our food systems and make restaurants more efficient, sophisticated and customer friendly.
Here are some restaurant tech trends that will become more prevalent in 2017…
Food Delivery Apps
According to Morgan and Stanley the food delivery industry is a $10 billion industry that has a $210 billion dollar potential, which means that we have only seen the start of an industry that will continue to grow. Companies such as Grubhub and sister company Seamless were one of the first to capitalize on the need for delivery solutions for restaurants, yet in 2017 there will be a massive growth of this industry that everyone from Uber to Squareis going to bank in on. The industry is growing so fast and will be so prevalent that in 2017, we will see the rise of Bootler, an application as a search engine for all food delivery apps. As the technology gets more refined, delivery apps will be more efficient and effective than every before, and soon enough you’ll be able to have your any of your favorite restaurant foods at the comfort of your home or your office desk.
Food Waste Apps
2016 saw a surge of food waste apps and in 2017 more and more people are bound to use them. From apps such as Too Good to Go that take leftover food from restaurants and sell it for as low as 2€ to Unsung and FoodCloudtake food waste from restaurants and grocery stores and distribute it to those in need. Back of the house applications, such as SimpleOrder, will be the first tool to use automated inventory counting to make inventory management more transparent and efficient, leading restaurants to manage inventory better and substantially reduce waste. Imperfect Produce allows you to buy imperfect vegetables from farms and grocery stores at a reduced cost- and these apps are just the tip of the iceberg. Around the world food waste apps are becoming more and more common and will likely become a tool used by restaurants and patrons alike in 2017.
In any dining experience, no matter how pleasurable, there is a certain amount of impatience when a table is waiting for the check. Often times it just seems like a long process in the industry, which is why in 2017 you’ll see more and more restaurants utilizing apps that let you pay your restaurant bill online or tablet POS systems that allow you to pay your bill on a tableside tablet. Pay with OpenTable, Tabbed Out, and Dash of just one of the many applications that are making it possible for diners to pay their bill on their mobile phones. POS systems such as Square, Touchbistro, Toast and are integrating with technology to allow diners to pay their bills tableside- leading to better service and a speedier checkout.
Waiting List Apps
Along the list of restaurant technologies aimed at streamlining the restaurant experience, waitlist apps are on the radar. Some restaurants are developing their own apps to allow diners to get on a waiting list before they walk into the door. More and more restaurants are adopting apps such as Nowait and Waitlist Me to do the job, allowing guests to get on a waiting list through the mobile phones, receive SMS updates on their wait time, and manage the entire waitlist process.
Perhaps we wont see a menagerie of tech driven restaurants in 2017, but we will see the first restaurant that has a machine that is fully automated to make a hamburger, which will be the start of many “robot” driven restaurants to come. Momentum Machines will open their first location in SOMA area of San Francisco. In Hanoi at the Haohi Restaurant robots are running the entire show, perhaps a peek into more things to come.
Iwould say I am most excited about innovation in food ingredients through better vegetable protein technology.
The Impossible Burger is currently available at select restaurants around the United States, however as vegetable protein technology becomes more refined and less costly, we are bound to see more and more restaurants using plant-based proteins to create meatless “meats.” Vegetarian “butchers” will also grow as more and more patrons request meatless meat and more establishments see the benefits. According to Inc. Magazine, Hampton Creek raised $120M for their egg substitutes, while Ripple raised $46M, making milk out of peas. With this kind of backing, this industry is bound to grow and we will be seeing vegetable proteins throughout our dining experiences.