The restaurant industry had to adapt to changes in consumer behavior during the COVID19 pandemic, testing out operational innovations and relying on technological solutions that allowed for social distancing and ensuring sanitation (1, 2). But even after the pandemic, sanitation and safety concerns are expected to remain, and the restaurant business model may have to evolve in a way that utilizes more tech-driven service systems. Here are some upcoming tech trends below:
With widespread concerns of a pandemic rebound, customers will now be more cautious of eating out in crowded places after the COVID-19 outbreak. According to Restolabs, a restaurant management software that offers online ordering systems, continued social distancing measures are expected to bring about an upward trend of automation for customers (3). New delivery systems are likely to be implemented so that food can be delivered in a faster, more convenient and more hygienic way, like drones and autonomous vehicles launched in some restaurants in California (4). Improved AI could even bring about cashier-less drive thrus—much like Amazon’s cashier-less automated checkout systems (3). According to Technomic, even the automat has returned with renewed interest for restaurants now turning to tech-driven service systems (1).
And clearly, online delivery will start to become an indispensable part of the dining culture as customers dine-in less. More restaurants may pivot to self-delivery instead of third party delivery to mitigate fees and have more control over the safety of their food (5).