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 on customers entering restaurants. Much of the research on the web by restaurant owners has focused on how to sell food and products online? As is known, there are many food delivery services that do not have the place that people usually enter, the so-called “black kitchen”. These companies operate through online marketplaces, for example, Uber Eats, Grubhub, where there are many business advantages. Restaurants could create their own food delivery systems, which should include:
– possibility to choose specific meals among many
– payment gateways to process card payments
– food preparation monitoring systems
– delivery status review systems
– analytical statistics and orders
Point of sale systems
Every restaurant that accepts any type of payment gets point-of-sale software. Its main purpose is to process transactions made with cards, cash and printed receipts as well as display all order information on the screen. Nowadays, outlets can also provide sales metrics and analytics and even record payments for each guest. Dynamics and innovations in development of payment processing software are incessant and taken seriously. There are many point of sale providers around the world and restaurant managers should thoroughly investigate each one as this software could be expensive.
Banks often provide point-of-sale terminals and software for free only to use their services.
Pay at the table
The next generation of POS systems will be self-contained, that is, devices placed near the dining table or bar, so you shouldn’t wait for a waiter to pay. New POS technologies aim to simplify the payment process for customers. Nowadays, many startups produce IoT devices installed directly at the table, for example, Kate. Visitors could use their smartphones with NFS to pay for their dinner directly at the table. There is a popular, simpler alternative where visitors scan the QR code of the table they were seated at while the code is automatically transferred to the web page with orders placed and the final price.
Reservation, table management software
To exclude customer dissatisfaction or long waits, restaurants have reservation and table management software. This became very important once the pandemic restrictions were lifted and there was an influx of new customers. Modern Restaurant Websites and reservation systems have integration with mobile phones and could automatically reserve a specific table for the called customer.
So, the process goes as follows: the potential visitor calls the restaurant manager and tries to reserve the table, the manager sees who is calling on the computer and automatically reserves the table.
Next-gen waitlist software is essentially an AI service that could replace the human and talk to calling customers and reserve the table for themselves. As technology rapidly evolves, such services will soon be indistinguishable from the voice and behavior of the real restaurant reservation manager. For example, Google Duplex technology created to allow people to have a natural conversation with computers.
Menu creation software
As a trend for 2021, people would be more likely to have a diverse menu that they are able to change on their own. Restaurant chefs could cook meals according to customer requests. This type of software is more likely a specific market with extended functionality. But there are many Dark Kitchen startups with daily food ordering strategies (HomeChef, Blue Apron, Sunbasket) that provide services to update their menu for customers through their website.
Inventory management software
Every restaurant, big or small, needs to have an inventory management system in place to eliminate food poisoning and make the right purchasing decisions for new products. There are many solutions that have features like CRM systems. Modern inventory management systems have a built-in QR or barcode scan that makes it easy to find and track the location, description, and expiration date of the product.
Tight integration with restaurant analytics services could help predict demand for specific meals and products throughout the timeline.
Hands-free menu review and ordering
Due to COVID, customers are more likely to leave paper menus that were in the hands of many others. Additionally, visitors might have the option of ordering items directly from the menu they viewed. There are many web pages created with such functionality by different restaurants around the world. As mentioned earlier, payment could also be integrated into the same webpage functionality.
Social login apps
The environment of the restaurant is full of interesting people and there is a great chance to establish new relationships. However, there are many who are afraid to connect with people even in this relaxed atmosphere. Thus, restaurants could create a new type of application that will allow their visitors to easily get to know each other during or after the meal. It could be an app that uses bluetooth to track nearby visitors, or it just monitors the precise location with GPS and gives suggestions who to talk to.
The diversity of different restaurants and bars around the world is growing exponentially and people are starting to decide where to go out based on the opinions of other visitors. In addition to specific apps like TripAdvisor, there is a trend for region-specific apps that could bring specific reviews from locals as well as special promotions or benefits for using the apps.
Restaurant analysis software
It is true that every business needs to have insightful analyzes on performance to make operational and strategic decisions. Every restaurant should have this software that collects data such as:
– Product repository with production and expiration dates
– Statistical by-products on food / meals sold
– Visitor statistics including length of stay and final check size. It is also good to have data on age (which could be selected in one of the applications used by restaurants)
There are many devices used by restaurants that already collect such data, for example, point of sale systems (the one mentioned earlier). However, companies may consider purchasing a separate system that collects all data and provides analytics reports. There are many. There are two important points to consider when choosing the system: the size of the business and the key issues expected to be addressed when using the system.
Real-time manufacturing review software
There is always a trend towards organic and healthy food. However, people are generally afraid of being scammed for not having what is written on the packaging. Food and beverage companies might consider developing a special application that will allow users to examine the food manufacturing process from order to delivery.
It is a good idea to attract new customers by providing transparency in this way. It can be a simple web application connected to a video camera in the production room.
Autonomous production systems
Due to the pandemic and border closures, there was a problem of importing food into remote areas. This is an important food security issue for many countries.
The new technology of autonomous farms began to appear. These farms are able to grow different types of vegetables completely independently. Basically, the specific software controls the sowing, fertirrigation and post-harvest process. Many new developments have been made by iCultivate.
Autonomous cashier-less systems in retail
Of course, you’ve heard of the Amazon Go store, which just lets you grab and walk out with groceries out of the store. There are a bunch of sensors installed in the store that monitor the products that are taken and then autonomously wipe the money from your bank account.
This is a new trend for many retailers around the world, especially during times of a pandemic. Software development companies might take this chance to develop new software for this task.
Functional food applications and well-being
As mentioned earlier, there is great interest in healthy living globally. A complete solution that includes wellness tutorials with the ability to pre-order functional foods for individual needs is a great idea today. The functional food market should be $ 267.92 billion by 2025.
Functional foods are good because they combine all the necessary nutrition in the simplest form for consumption. The wellness solution could monitor physical activity, assign new exercise tasks, and check results. Based on the performance, the specific meal plan is generated and can be ordered online.