Everywhere you look these days, technology is being incorporated into different aspects of our daily lives. Industries such as the travel industry have seen great technological innovations to improve the overall experience for consumers. The food industry is no exception to this, with technological innovation ingrained into all aspects of the food experience.
Today, 57% of consumers agree that technology in restaurants improves their guest experience. Knowing this, food brands and restaurants alike have started deploying tech into our food experience. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
Pizza Express has taken a big and pioneering step to enhance its customers’ food experience. The popular pizza chain has recently introduced its very own ‘booking bot’. The concept is very simple and is engineered to make the booking process stress-free and convenient at all times of the day. Taking little under 60 seconds to book, all the user must do is simply message Pizza Express on Facebook and follow the instructions the Bot gives.
Claiming to be the first UK restaurant to offer such service, the booking bot has enjoyed early success with 150,000 users engaging with the Bot to some degree.
“We were taken aback by how many people interacted with it, as Messenger Bots weren’t around 12 months ago. We worked for a good couple of months to get the customer journey right and make it as easy as possible. And a lot of people are already on the Messenger platform.” – Tim Love, Pizza Express Senior Social Media Manager & Content Creator, told Marketing Week.
Wearable-Tech for Staff
In a previous article, we told you what wearable tech was and how Snapchat is driving consumer demand with its snap spectacles. The food industry is also in on the action in numerous ways.
Other than enabling payments with wearables such as the Apple Watch through Apple Pay, restaurants have now begun issuing their staff with their own wearable tech to wear on shift, all in an effort to increase efficiency and create a quicker and smoother food experience for their customers. These can include tablets to take orders that get sent directly to the kitchen. Also giving staff their own smartwatches so they can be better alerted to customers’ needs and increase communication between the front of house staff themselves.
Order & Pay Apps
Apps that allow the customer to order and pay for their food & drink without the need for any human interaction have recently been introduced by popular restaurant chains Wagamamas and Wetherspoons.
There is certainly a demand for these apps and people are using them and reaping the benefits. For instance, the customer now has access to a wealth of information about each dish before they order including a comprehensive allergen guide and how many calories each meal has. Although these Apps are a new thing, there is no doubt order & pay apps are aimed at the Gen Z and millennial market and they could potentially grow to be a huge part of the food experience in years to come.
Delivery Apps such as Just Eat and Deliveroo have taken the takeaway food industry by storm. They are now huge players within the industry and have helped open food delivery doors to higher-end restaurants. It is no longer just about getting your local Chinese takeaway every week, the amount of choice now on offer has increased dramatically and essentially helped drive the whole food experience.
The opportunity for personalisation is most certainly there, such as recommendations based on previous orders, based on local areas, and if the opportunity to link with social media platforms is there, then recommendations from friends.
Robots & Drones
A world where we are waited on and served by robots used to be something we would see in the movies, which could never actually be achieved in reality. The idea is now looking more and more likely each day. Self-service machines and an automated ‘burger making machine’ is being developed by a tech start-up company in California – Momentum Machines. Potentially churning out 400 burgers within an hour, the machine would be more cost effective for burger chains than paying an employee by the hour.
With drones being described as the future, delivery drones are something that has gained momentum within the past year. Domino’s Pizza successfully tested and trialed the idea in New Zealand to a degree of success, and the chain now has big plans to roll out delivery drones across the world.
There is no doubt that technology will continue to find its way into many different aspects of the food industry in years to come. Of course, it has its many benefits and boosts our overall food experience whether it be in the restaurant or your weekly takeaway. But the question must be asked… how much tech is too much? Technology in the food industry could potentially have drastic impacts on people’s jobs and in the long-run, harm world economies and make the food experience unaffordable and inaccessible to ordinary people.
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