Restaurants and technology go together like burgers and fries, and 2022 is already seeing brands using technology as as way to solve some of their biggest challenges. For example, several brands are relying on contactless ordering, POS systems that allow them to multitask and anything to streamline kitchens.
|Rise has a kiosk and heated locker system.|
North Carolina-based Rise Southern Biscuits & Righteous Chicken, for example, is tackling the labor shortage with a tech-forward approach to contactless ordering. It recently deployed a touchscreen ordering kiosk and heated locker system at its 932-square-foot location in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Early data has shown that the system has helped the brand increase sales as well as create operational efficiencies into its labor model, CEO Tom Ferguson said.
Where many limited-service restaurants aim to keep their labor cost percentages around 25% of sales, Rise’s model helped keep the Durham location’s labor cost percentage at an average of 18.18% throughout the first half of 2021, even dipping as low as 16.14%.
“We knew the locker system and ordering kiosks would be a great concept to reduce guest and employee interactions during the pandemic, but after evaluating the ROI in only a few months, we quickly realized it’s helping our bottom line, increasing convenience for our guests and allowing our employees to perform their jobs more effectively,” Ferguson told FastCasual. “We’re encouraging new and existing franchisees to take advantage of this new feature that has been an absolute gamechanger for our corporate stores.”
Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is another brand relying on contactless service but in a different way. Utilizing the once common Automat format allows the brand to keep customers and employees safe by eliminating a point of contact while also regulating the temperature of each locker to ensure that food stays hot or drinks stay chilled with red and blue UV lights. The brand also has a robot-making dumpling lab in the store front and will soon add a thermal-temperature scanner converted from a metal detector upon arrival for added safety during the pandemic. Lastly, it is working to allow Bitcoin payments through a BTM, which can convert a customer’s cash.
|Utilizing the once common Automat format allows the brand to keep customers and employees safe by eliminating a point of contact while also regulating the temperature of each locker to ensure that food stays hot or drinks stay chilled with red and blue UV lights. Provided.|
“The Automat was single handedly the greatest fast food distribution equipment ever designed,” Founder Stratis Morfogen said in an interview with FastCasual. “The technology we’ve brought to Brooklyn Dumpling Shop is unlike anything seen before, which will allow us to create an Autoflow from a customers’ cell phone, to our POS ordering kiosks, right to our lockers to bring quick serve restaurants into the 21st century.”
Not to be outdone, Taffer’s Tavern, created by hospitality expert and TV personality, Jon Taffer, is building a technology ecosystem within his restaurant. It features a streamlined hoodless/ventless restaurant format with a small footprint, which eliminates the need for costly traditional commercial equipment, leveraging advanced sous vide food preparation methods, Taffer told FastCasual.
The innovative and simplified cooking techniques cut the labor staff in half, eliminate the need for raw proteins in the kitchen and help reduce cook time by 50 to 90% compared to traditional kitchens. Last September, the tavern opened its first technology-forward, turnkey kitchen satellite location at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland, which does not require hoods or vents. In addition, Taffer has introduced a thru-wall, contactless locker system to provide a contactless pickup experience. The lockers are loaded from inside the Taffer’s Tavern kitchen and accessed from the exterior of the building.
“Not only do we want to give our customers an outstanding dine-in experience, but also ensure when they carry out, it is just as exceptional,” Taffer said. “Using the most advanced restaurant technologies in both the front and back of the kitchen, catering to our clientele is the most important job we have. With this in mind, we chose the most innovative, safest and convenient option available to meet the high expectations of our take-away customers.”
Another must-have technology for 2022 is a solid point-of-sale system that streamlines operations, helps with marketing and provides the flexibility for brands to choose the third-party solutions that best fit their needs, said Ryan Hillis, VP of Revenue of Meltwich Hospitality Group.
When the Ontario-based grilled cheese brand entered the American market, it relied on point-of-sale technology from Givex to leverage customer data pulled from POS to guide promotion efforts.
“(We) were able to use insights gained from the POS system and implement system-wide changes quickly rather than scrambling to keep pace with the seemingly immediate shift in the restaurant landscape happening throughout the pandemic,” Hillis said. ” As a result, (we) maintained strong sales numbers throughout 2020, allowing the brand to continue its forward momentum and further propel its successful expansion into the U.S.”Article from Fast Casual