Let’s review the most modern software trend in the F&B industry:
Online Food Ordering Software During the pandemic period the Food and Beverage industry suffered from restrictions for customers to enter the restaurants. Most of the searches made on the web from restaurant owners were how to sell food and products online? As known, there are many food delivery services that don’t have the place where people usually come in, the so-called “dark kitchen”. Such businesses operate through online marketplaces, for example, Uber Eats, Grubhub, where there are a lot of business benefits. The restaurants could make their own food delivery systems which should include:
– ability to choose specific meals from many
– payment gateways to process card payments
– food preparation monitoring systems
– delivery status review systems
– analytic and orders statistics
Point of Sale Systems
Each restaurant that takes any payment type gets POS software. Its main aim is to process transactions made with cards, cash, and print receipts as well as display all the information about the orders on the screen. Nowadays POS could also provide sales metrics and analytics and even record payments for each guest. The dynamics and innovations in payment processing software development are non-stop and taken seriously. There are many POS providers worldwide and restaurant managers should thoroughly investigate each one because this software could be costly.
Banks often provide terminals and POS software for free just for using their services.
Pay at the Table
The next generation of POS systems will be autonomous meaning devices that are placed near the dining table or bar so you should not wait for a server to pay. The new POS technologies are aimed to simplify the settlement procedure for the clients. There are many startups nowadays that produce IoT devices installed right at the table, for example, Kate. Visitors could use their smartphones with NFS to pay for dinner right at the table. There is a simpler popular alternative where visitors scan the QR code of the table they were sitting at whereas the code automatically transfers to the webpage with orders made and the final price.
Reservation, table management software
To exclude customer dissatisfaction or long-time waiting restaurants have reservation and table management software. This become very important once pandemic restrictions went over and there was an influx of new clients. Modern restaurant websites and reservation systems have integration with mobile phones and could automatically reserve the called client a specific table.
So, the process goes the following: the potential visitor calls the restaurant manager and tries to book the table, the manager sees who is calling on the computer and automatically reserves the table.
The next generation waitlist software is basically an AI service that could replace the human and talk to the calling clients and reserve the table for themselves. As technology rapidly evolves, such services are soon to be indistinguishable from the voice and behavior of the real restaurant booking manager. For example, Google Duplex technology which is created to make people have a natural conversation with computers.
Menu building software
As a trend for 2021, the people would be more likely to have a diverse menu they are able to change themselves. Chefs of restaurants could cook the meals based on the requests of the clients. This type of software is more likely a specific marketplace with extended features. But there are many Dark Kitchen startups with Daily Food order strategies (HomeChef, Blue Apron, Sunbasket) that provide services to update their menu for the clients through their website.
Inventory management software
Each restaurant no matter small or large should have an inventory management system in order to eliminate food poisoning and make the right purchasing decisions for new products. There are many solutions that have functionality like CRM systems. Modern inventory management systems have an integrated scan for QR or barcode which helps to easily find and track the location, description, and expiration date of the product.
Close integration with restaurant analytics services could help to predict the demand for specific meals and products through the timeline.
Hands-free menu review and order
Due to COVID, clients are more likely not to touch paper menus that were in hands of many other people. Also, visitors could have the ability to order items directly from the menu they have been looking at. There are many web pages created with such functionality by different restaurants all over the world. As mentioned previously, payment could also be integrated into the same webpage functionality.
Social connection applications
The restaurant environment is full of interesting people and there is a great chance to set up new connections. However, there are many who has a fear to connect with people even in that relaxed atmosphere. So restaurants could create a new kinds of applications that will allow their visitors to easily get acquainted during or after the meal. This could be an application that uses Bluetooth to track the nearby visitors or simply monitors precise location with GPS and giving suggestions with whom to speak.
The diversity of different restaurants and bars all over the world grows exponentially and people start to make decisions on where to go out based on the reviews of other visitors. Besides specific applications as TripAdvisor, there is a trend for region-specific applications that could bring accurate reviews from locals as well as provide special promotions or perks for using the apps.
Restaurant Analytics software
It’s true to say that each business should have insight analytics on performance to make operational and strategic decisions. Each restaurant should have that software that gathers data as:
– Product repository with production and expiration dates
– Sold Food/Meals statistics by-products
– Visitors’ statistics including time of stay and final check size. It’s also good to have data about age (what could be picked in one of the applications restaurants uses)
There are many devices that restaurants use that already gather such data, for example, POS systems (the one that is mentioned previously). However, businesses might consider purchasing a separate system that collects all the data and provides analytics reports. There are many of such. There are two important points to consider while choosing the system: the size of the business and key issues planned to be solved while using the system.
Real-time manufacturing review software
There is always a trend toward organic and healthy food. However, people are usually afraid of being scammed for getting not what on the package is written. Food and beverage businesses might consider developing a special application that will allow users to review the food-making process from order to delivery.
It’s a good idea to attract new clients by providing transparency in such away. This could be a simple web application that is connected to a video camera in the production room.
Autonomous productions systems
Due to pandemic and closed borders, there was an issue of importing food in far regions. This is an important question of food security for many countries.
The new technology of autonomous farms has started to arise. These farms are capable to grow different types of vegetables fully autonomous. Basically, the specific software controls the seeding process, fertigation, and post-harvesting. Many new developments were achieved by iFarm.
No-cashier autonomous systems in Retail
For sure you have heard about the Amazon Go store, which lets you simply grab and go out with groceries out of the store. There is a bunch of sensors installed in the store that monitors what products are being taken and then autonomously writes off money from your bank account.
This is a new trend for many retails all around the world, especially during pandemic periods. Software development companies could take that chance in order to develop new software for that task.
Functional food and wellness applications
As mentioned previously, there is a high interest in a healthy lifestyle globally. A complete solution that includes wellness tutorials with the ability to preorder functional food for individual needs is a great idea today. The market of functional food is expected to be $267.92 billion by 2025.
Functional food is good because it combines all the needed nutrition in the simplest form for consumption. The wellness solution could monitor physical activity, give new tasks for exercises, and check the results. Based on the performance the specific meal plan is generated and could be ordered online.