The Real Hunger Games: Why Restaurants are Off to the Races

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In 2019, it is virtually a necessity in the restaurant industry to invest in technology that facilitates mobile ordering. Many restaurants are building on this and trying to utilize all available technology to make the customer experience as streamlined as possible. Other restaurants are investing early in newer technologies, such as augmented reality menus. Perhaps the biggest necessity of 2019 for restaurant success is having a self-hosted delivery system.

G2 predicts that “at least 40% of restaurants will begin to accept mobile payments in 2019.” Mobile technology is making the restaurant experience timelier and more convenient for consumers in a myriad of ways.

For instance, mobile payments “cut down on the number of customer touchpoints,” meaning more customers can be served in the same amount of time, and they also provide demographics information about the customer base. This information along with that gathered by restaurant-specific mobile applications helps restaurants cater their promotions more to their specific client-base.

Many restaurants, such as McDonald’s and Starbucks, have benefited immensely from having their own mobile applications and featuring app-only promotions. Burger King even managed to reach the number one spot for free downloads in the Apple App store when it offered a 1-cent Whopper to anyone who downloaded their app within 600 feet of a McDonald’s location.

With consumers being able to order and pay from their phone, as well as use delivery service, “ghost restaurants” have been on the rise as a way for restaurateurs to save money. Ghost restaurants remove the expense of maintaining a front of house and operate as a kitchen with delivery-only service. This concept is helping new restaurants survive in a delivery-centric culture where 26 percent of independent restaurants fail during their first year in business.

Another concept that is expected to grow dramatically in 2019 is augmented reality restaurant menus. This technology allows the customer to use a phone or iPad “to view 3-D renderings of menu items.

KabaQ, an augmented reality food application, allows restaurant-owners to purchase a photoshoot set. They will then use those photos to render 3-D images that a customer can view either through the app itself, or through other platforms such as Snapchat. This service allows customers to feel more informed about their food decisions while increasing sales, and the relatively limited implementation of this technology affords the novelty appeal to those restaurants that are pioneering it.

Online ordering has increased drastically in recent years and for restaurants to keep up with this trend they will need to set up their own online ordering system, complete with their own delivery service. While many restaurants are content to contract out their delivery to services such as GrubHub, as the industry faces increased challenges it may turn out that the “30% commissions” that these services can charge for repeat costumers may begin to be significant portions of the restaurant’s overall revenue. To stay relevant in the industry it is crucial to build an online ordering delivery platform.

In a climate where “73% of restaurant-goers think technology improves their dining experience,” restaurateurs must prioritize delivery-convenience, mobile-friendliness, and innovation or risk obsolescence.

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