The food tech industry is nascent but one of the fastest growing in India today. It has given a new dimension to the customers who are more than happy to experiment with these technologies. Similarly, we have seen that food-tech players have got the nerves of the customers and hence they know how to focus on right marketing by introducing new ways to attract customers and guests. According to a report by BCG-Google on digital trends among consumers, the reach of food tech aggregators has grown six times from 2017 to 2019. At the same time, we see consumers spend more than double the time to explore and order online, from 32 minutes per month in 2017 to 72 minutes per month in 2019. Riding on the wave of higher consumption in a growing market and maturing dynamics on the supply side, the report also mentioned that it expect the industry to grow from $4 Bn to $8 Bn in next three years, a massive 25% growth rate.
New and innovative technologies like, adoption of AI, QR based ordering and payments, Voice technology are transforming the way we have been ordering and dining at a restaurant. And, so far Restaurant industry is not immune to it. Technological advancements are innovating every element of a typical restaurant operation, from how diners make reservations to how managers track inventory. Food apps are even playing bigger role in tech upgrade of restaurants. Here are top tech trend according to experts in the industry that will re-shape the customer experience and change the way restaurants operate in a post pandemic world:
Digitisation is the future: “A 100% digitised food ecosystem is the future. Today, it’s still in bits and pieces but with more tech players entering with innovative alternatives that are challenging the status quo, every aspect of the food industry is bound to get digitized,” shared Renjith Prahladan of Urban Piper that is Saas based platform helping restaurants in digital transformation.
Rise of single kitchen concepts: By just scanning a QR code, you can now place your order without even an attender/ server coming in to help you out in a fine dines setting. That’s transformation right there. Leveraging technology, a single kitchen is now able to power multiple brands, each serving a different cuisine and a different customer - what we call as a cloud kitchen. To sum it up, yes, within a few years, the food industry should get 100% digitised with the end customer also being hooked and driving the trend to set in.
AI will change the sector: From top restaurants brands to independently owned cafes, restaurants are collecting personal data and are hungry for it. By using Artificial Intelligence (AI), restaurants can mine the data for food trends and consumer habits. They can extract information and use it to develop new products or change current items. “Apart from food safety, another important trend will be the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) across the food industry. For instance, voice-command features for ordering food are expected to hit the scene soon. The power of AI can be used in multiple ways due to its intuitive nature and recommending customers as per their tastes and likes on various dishes while ordering,” pointed Ankur Sharma, CBO, Rebel Foods that has become the top cloud-kitchen in India.
Facial recognition and digital menus: Food tech is on the rise, there has been a huge push globally on adopting digital advancements at commercial kitchens, and India has many players that provide excellent solutions in the space. “Brands like Chaayos has taken this to the next level by bringing in facial recognition, digital menus, app-based orderings, and fresh food vending machines also claim their market share,” added Eshwar Vikas, CEO & Co-Founder, Mukunda Foods.
Digital waiter is the new fad: The digital waiter is a voice and AI-driven solution that acts as a waiter and caters to the dining needs of a user. “The digital waiter is a compact hardware powered by ToneTag sound-based tech that is capable of intuitive interactions with the user. For example, when a person takes his/her seat at the table, the digital waiter automatically wakes up and greets the diner. It displays the menu on the diner’s mobile phone and subsequently accepts the order through voice-based commands. The Digital waiter then relays the order to the kitchen and keeps the diner company through smart interactions such as informing about order readiness etc. Once the diner is done with his/her meal, the digital waiter displays the digital bill, which the diner can pay via the in-App feature or using a voice signature. The whole dining journey with the digital waiter is completely personal, contactless, and digital,” said Anil Kumar, CTO, ToneTag by adding that the digital waiter only streamlines and digitizes a diner’s experience which in turn helps the staff manage the restaurant better and serve the diner without any hassle or long wait-time.