2020 was one of the most difficult years for the hospitality industry. According to National Restaurant Association in the USA, “restaurants lost $240 billion in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 75% of the operators expecting the downturn to keep them unprofitable until at least the year.”
Heading into 2021, the restaurant industry expects another difficult year. However, it is important to stay optimistic because technological developments rapidly improve the dynamics of the gastronomy industry. Those outlets that adapt well to digital transformation, will see an increase in sales and profits.
So here are the top 5 technology trends that can bring you more profit in 2021.
The rise of Ghost Kitchens
Ghost kitchens are kitchens without dining rooms. They are designed for delivery, and probably never become a bricks-and-mortar destination for diners. Ghost kitchens contain different brands within itself. Kitchen machinery like dishwashers and stovetops can be shared across these brands in one space. Ghost Kitchen not only lets brands manage their inventory, data, sales but also allows a space for co-shared suppliers. In this new generation market space for restaurants, delivery is controlled separately. The concept is pretty cost-effective and will shake the industry in the upcoming years. According to a recent report from Euromonitor, the ghost kitchen sector could create a $1 trillion global opportunity by 2030. Hence, it might be a good time to jump into this new generation co-space workspace.
Focus on Digital-only brands!
Digital-only brands are quite similar to ghost kitchens. They are also designed for delivery and are not available in bricks-and-mortar destinations for diners. The main difference is digital brands work like tool manufacturing or licensing models. The ingredients and the cooking instructions are given by the brand to the restaurant, and the preparation is taken care of by the restaurant. When customers order the food, the item comes from the nearest store that carries the digital brand. Besides, some restaurants also introduce digital-only items in their menus. By not making particular dishes available online, restaurants aim to increase online presence and delivery.
Digital-only Restaurants are coming
The Digital Kitchen concept is focused on increasing the digital business in non-traditional locations. It is exceptional because it does not include a dining room or front service line and guests must order in advance via an app. Orders can be picked up from a lobby or a designated area. The new model allows restaurants to enter urban areas that wouldn’t support a full-size restaurant and allows more flexibility for future locations.
Curbside, the trending star
Curbside pickup became the typical way for customers to get their foods without possible contamination. Customers order their items via an app, select a collecting time, and receive their orders from a designated location. This channel adds value to guests’ dining experience because customers no need to go inside of the restaurant to grab their dishes. This system not only increases sales but also eases the delivery process. However, to keep curbside available ongoingly, diners must provide a designated pick up area.
No more 3rd party apps for delivery!
Currently, the majority of the restaurants use 3rd party platforms such as DoorDash or UberEats to deliver their foods to their guests. In 2021, it is estimated that restaurants will now take charge of their delivery via their app and reach their customers without the third-party platforms. According to research conducted by Zagat, those customers who don’t outsource delivery via the 3rd parties saw around %200 increase in their revenues. When restaurants have a customized app, they can communicate directly with their customers, leverage data to track and analyze consumer behavior, and offer deals and customized bundling opportunities based on this information.