From tabletop ordering to fully robotic restaurant kitchens, restaurant technology continues to evolve. And as consumer needs and desires change, the restaurant industry must stay on top of these trends or risk being left behind. This article will explore five new restaurant technologies that are poised to impact the industry in 2020 and beyond. 

Artificial Intelligence and Restaurant Technology 

Many consumers are already taking advantage of “robotic butlers” like Siri and Alexa to assist them with everything from ordering groceries to checking the weather.

Extending this artificial intelligence to the restaurant industry is a natural progression, and can provide consumers with an interactive experience while also eliminating many of the ordering and food delivery mistakes attributed to human error. 

1. Tabletop Ordering

Twenty years ago, it was rare for someone to use a phone in a restaurant—today, it’s often unusual to see a restaurant patron who isn’t focused on their mobile device.

Restaurants can capitalize on this trend by moving toward tabletop ordering, allowing patrons to input and customize their orders at their leisure and instantly transmit them to the kitchen.

With five integrated ordering modes controlled from a single online database, NorthStar’s point-of-sale (POS) system can facilitate tabletop ordering for every restaurant.

2. Robotic Restaurants 

Although “robotic restaurants” haven’t quite taken hold in the U.S., these eateries are incredibly popular in China and Japan, where programmed robots can take orders, mix drinks, prepare and serve food, and clear tables.

Because the overall dining experience creates so much of the appeal of eating at a restaurant, incorporating these unique and useful robot companions can be a game-changer for both marketing and overall efficiency. 

3. Online Ordering and Delivery 

mobile food delivery

Online ordering isn’t just for retail products — and while fast-food restaurants have long been capitalizing on consumers’ love of convenience, fast-casual and fine dining restaurants can capture a whole new realm of sales by offering online ordering options for pickup or delivery.

And by getting real-time data on what customers are ordering most frequently, restaurants can adapt their menu (and their weekly supply orders) accordingly.

Restaurant Technology in Kitchen and Food Preparation

Not only can technology be used to provide a better experience for customers, but it can also increase efficiency and cost-savings in the kitchen.

4. Smart Kitchen Appliances

If a restaurant’s walk-in freezer goes out overnight, it may not be discovered until just before the doors open.

Web Popup Graphic POS eBook

This can ruin the entire flow of the day (and possibly thousands of dollars of food).

But with smart kitchen appliances managed through a single POS system like NorthStar, restaurant managers can check and adjust refrigerator and freezer temperatures, see which employees have clocked in, and even adjust menu offerings — all from the convenience of a smartphone app.

5. Maintenance Forecasting

The same technology that allows for remote control of smart appliances can also help restaurant owners forecast when to repair or replace certain fixtures.

By constantly monitoring the temperature inside and around these appliances, restaurant owners can ensure that they’re working as intended.

Readings that edge up over time could indicate a major problem waiting to happen, and nipping this issue in the bud by scheduling a repair visit can avoid an expensive and time-consuming equipment breakdown.

Each of these technological advancements once seemed far-fetched or impossible.

But today, these options are not only more affordable than ever, but they’re also important investments for restaurant owners who want to stay relevant during the upcoming decade.