Beverage Trends for 2016: Technology

The world is tripping over itself trying to keep up with how fast it’s changing. New apps and gadgets are announced everyday. Some are simply cool ideas that don’t pan out, others can’t get enough users to become useful. But each year it seems we see a few products innovative and accessible enough to disrupt entire industries. The major effects these tech advances have had on the restaurant industry is in fast-casual restaurants and through delivery services. As these technologies become more focused on mobile, consumers will have easier access to food services than ever before. While more casual and quick eateries have successfully adopted new modes of operating, how will full-service restaurants be impacted by technology in 2016. 

Mobile Friendly Scheduling

As you may know, the biggest headaches for restaurant managers are caused by scheduling. It’s the worst. The restaurant industry is a fluid world – servers come, servers go – and at all points in-between servers are calling off or attempting to swap shifts. If you’re a manager that is constantly swimming against the transient tide, it’s time to ditch excel spreadsheets in favor of scheduling apps that utilize mobile communication. Think of apps like HotSchedules and Homebase as digital Advil to quell the throbbing pain of scheduling. These platforms give you added advantage in tracking payroll hours, calculating tip outs, and will streamline administrative duties and data collection. For 2016, relieve some pressure and take scheduling mobile.

Digital Inventory and Ordering

Restaurant managers spend the bulk of their time on the floor dealing with issues that constantly crop up during service. Unless you’ve got an isolation chamber, there isn’t a lot of uninterrupted time available for a manager. It’s often tough to properly manage and organize more tedious workloads like inventory, invoicing, and ordering. Inventory apps like Binwise or Partender have been around for a few years, but new portals like SevenFifty focus more on communication with distributors and ordering in addition to making inventory more efficient. As the market for inventory apps catches up to the number of apps available, look for restaurants to adopt more of these services in 2016. They can be significantly beneficial for tracking inventory, highlighting slow moving stock, and eliminating dead inventory that is anchoring potential profits.

Digital Menus

At Uncorkd, we know the market for digital menus as well as anyone. And the market is getting continually warm for digital tablet menus. iPad menus for restaurants have been on the radar for a few years now, and more and more restaurant managers are seeing their benefits. As restaurants continue to see the benefits of using digital menus – from cutting down costs, moving inventory faster, creating new marketing channels, and increasing sales – more restaurant’s will adopt digital menus in 2016. 

Tech Friendly Spaces

As the average consumer becomes more reliant on technology, so too will restaurant customers be more reliant on their smart phones, tablets, and laptops. This not only includes using these devices to find new restaurants and bars, but customers will continue to use them while dining with you.  Restaurants are responding to the needs of their customers and are offering more services like charging stations for phones, outlets on the bar to plug in laptops or tablets, and offering free wifi to guests during their dining experience. As restaurants continue to adopt services like Instagram and Facebook as means to market to customers, and see the added value of keeping technology and social media in mind, restaurateurs will continue to make more tech-friendly environments.

Kyle Thacker