The hospitality industry has had many disruptions over the last two years; it’s safe to say the restaurant landscape will never be the same. With these challenges also comes the opportunity for innovation. As we enter the second quarter of 2022, watch out for these significant restaurant trends.
Automation is not a word often associated with the foodservice industry. However, as it has become increasingly challenging to find and keep reliable employees, many are turning to automation to assist with labor shortages. For example, the Ovention Matchbox’s autoload /unload feature is a pizza-saver when you’re short-handed. You can take your time serving drinks while the food is cooking without worrying about rushing back to the kitchen only to find a charred pizza. Investing in technology allows restaurant employees to multitask, which can minimize cost and maximize efficiency in the long run.
It is predicted that half of U.S. Operators will implement automated, labor-saving technology over the next three years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most full-service restaurants operate with 6.2 fewer kitchen employees than before 2020. From self-serve kiosks to robot bartenders, it’s become increasingly apparent that relying on only manual labor is no longer a viable option.
When all dining rooms closed for dine-in service two years ago, some people tried their hand at home cooking, but many customers opted for food delivery and curbside pickup. Now, even as restaurants welcome back dine-in customers, many are still choosing to enjoy their takeout dishes at home.
When dine-in wasn’t an option, many restaurants had to rely on third-party delivery to get their customers fed; but it can be costly for both the consumer and business with the added fees. While having a dedicated delivery driver might not be the best solution for every business, partnering with another local restaurant near yours to offer in-house delivery could help your profit margins.
While customers may be looking to dine at home on their couch, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are unwilling to pick up the food themselves. On the contrary, many are willing to take ownership of that “last mile” to pick up their food if it means they will be saving a fee. Curbside was a great offering when dining rooms were closed, but as restaurants juggle dine-in and take-out orders, many have pivoted to having dedicated pick-up shelves and lockers to free up staff for other tasks. With these pick-up areas paired with online ordering, this takeout option is convenient for patrons and restaurants.
You might be surprised to hear those ghost kitchens have nothing to do with haunted houses or your friendly neighborhood ghost; they are delivery-only restaurants. While browsing delivery apps, you may have noticed restaurants listed that you’ve never heard of before. However, when searching for the restaurant online, you won’t find any branding or storefront. These delivery-only restaurants prepare meals in a professional kitchen without the need for face-to-face customer interaction.
Ghost kitchens also allow restaurateurs the opportunity to set up shop in an area with lower rent and less foot traffic, which means more profit. These kitchens are located in various places, from mobile units, closed restaurants, or even brick-and-mortar restaurants serving different cuisine from their dine-in menu. Additionally, the lack of brand recognition allows already established restaurants to test out new menus with low risk.
A single ghost kitchen can produce the food for multiple restaurants on these apps if set up correctly. A traditional in-house kitchen is designed to serve hundreds of diners a day, while a ghost kitchen can fill 1,000+ orders. With the help of automation, these kitchens, even small ones, can thrive in the competitive delivery market.
While offering the hottest food trends can help get customers in the door, the quality of the food and service will turn them into repeat customers. So, is your current way of operating working well for both you and your customers? If you’re considering how automation could be an asset to your kitchen, our team of experts can answer any questions and reservations you may have.
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