Are you one of the 73% of restaurateurs planning to upgrade business technology? According to a survey reported by FSR Magazine, a high percentage of restaurant managers, executive chefs, bar owners and the like have acknowledged the importance of advancing their systems and software programs to keep up with younger generations, higher demands in customer service and increased competition.

Modernizing technologies in restaurants, bars, catering facilities, cafes and bakeries have boosted sales and improved customer satisfaction. Some trendsetters include the Cupcake ATMs by Sprinkles, electronic host system for seating by Kula Revolving Sushi Bar, and automated everything at Eatsa. In 2016, the direction for technology in the foodservice industry is aimed at digital menus, electronic scheduling, media integration and inventory management.

Digital Menus
Tabletop tablets are making their way into restaurants ranging from fast food, to fast-casual, and full service. This new technology allows management the flexibility for quickly changing menu options. The tablets improve service speeds, save on labor costs, and allow diners to order online for ‘to go’ orders.

These features are a growing trend to enhance service and reduce the cost of continually updating and reprinting menus. Various algorithms may be customized to offer wine pairings, chef recommended meals, special promotions and upcoming events. The ordering power and customization options of tablets continue to attract and accommodate the younger, tech-savvy customers. Simple, intuitive and user-friendly designs are key components to transform this growing tech trend in restaurants into powerful selling tools.

Whether you’re buying commercial, off the shelf tablets or customized interfaces, be wary of functional errors and technical glitches. Invest in quality products and perform due diligence for selection of a proven service provider to fulfill maintenance and upgrade needs.

Electronic Scheduling
Foodservice managers are finding great ease with the use of electronic platforms to plan restaurant promotions and manage an ever-changing work schedule for employees. Straying away from paper documents, this new digital trend is allowing both managers and employees to set and review schedules, request time off and swap shifts from their personal computers and mobile devices.

These tools also provide employees a means to track time sheets, communicate with other staff members, report tips, track overtime, and maintain valuable employer resources. Beneficial to all restaurant team members, this electronic trend will continue to be adapted into foodservice establishments well into 2016 as free applications continue to sprout. Restaurant Business Online discusses the pros and cons of scheduling software which is a must read before making the dive into an electronic scheduling platform.

Media Integration
Save time and costs while improving reliability by integrating media technology into your dining establishment. Electronic menus, attractive signs and automated order-taking were headliners during the 2015 NRA Show. These easy-to-use systems allow operators to update menus, play music and display various advertising, marketing messages and videos.

Many places that are restaurants by day and nightclubs / event venues by night such as Parq, have already begun to utilize media to advance their ambiance. Advertising and promotional messaging during brunch, displaying relevant imagery during busy lunch hours and playing music videos in the evening set the tone to appease the varying crowd gatherings for these eclectic businesses.

Inventory Management
A significant trend in restaurant kitchens is the ability to track current supplies and order additional items in real time. This advanced inventory system allows chefs to get ingredients from vendors that are in stock while saving time and cost by ordering menu essentials as needed.

These tools all play a critical part in the technological movement as restaurants evolve into smart kitchens. By the end of 2016, these easy to use systems will undoubtedly find themselves in commercial kitchens across the hospitality industry landscape.

Consider TriMark to enhance your commercial kitchen operation for improved efficiency and to garner higher profits.

The 8 most high tech restaurants have been identified by Digital Trends. You won’t believe the level of innovation from these establishments!