While many restaurants/bars used the simplicity of third-party integration, others took advantage of outside software development teams that wrote new code for proprietary systems. When the business need presents clearly defined requirements, technology has an outstanding ability to respond.
With the vaccines distributed and a return to normalcy in sight, what happens next? After such a massive wave of innovation implementations in multiple industries, where do we go from here?
Lessons from the past year provide useful information for the next year. One of the key reasons for such a massive investment in innovation was the lack of choice. If you didn’t have the technology, you wouldn’t be able to open your business. So we must ask ourselves, “Where else will there be a ‘no choice’?”
In the hospitality sector, once the pandemic is over, the subsequent extinction-level threats that are likely to drive further technological innovation may be:
Technology to deal with the minimum wage increase:
With the increase in minimum wage, expect companies to aggressively focus on eliminating all non-customer facing activities in the restaurant/store. Technology strategies will prioritize automation of store manager and front-line employee tasks. IoT solutions will be implemented to eliminate mundane tasks, such as temperature checks on food preparation lines, and to gamify operational activities, such as minimizing food waste wherever possible.
Conversion of third-party delivery services
As restaurants are forced to adopt third-party delivery services, high service fees are becoming an unsustainable obstacle to profitable recovery. The only way to avoid shipping fees is to convert third-party customers into direct customers. The next wave of technology initiatives will focus on motivating customers to encourage direct engagement. Initiatives may include AI solutions to offer a discount sufficient to persuade a customer to place a direct order while optimizing profitability.
When it comes to market threats that could put an end to a business, nothing moves faster and incurs more damage than a ransomware attack. Given the exponential growth in the frequency and magnitude of loss, restaurants must adequately protect themselves from cybersecurity threats. Technology has created an enormous dependence on that technology. Cybersecurity attacks disrupt a restaurant’s ability to use technology.
Flexible multiservice APIs
The pandemic has demonstrated that it is simply not possible to fully prepare for an evolving future. Restaurants must design with agility and flexibility to adapt to the unexpected. It is not enough to know what to do. It must also have the ability to adapt as the market signals a new direction. APIs will play a crucial role in enabling an ecosystem response to threats in this sector.
The pandemic has shown us that when business is at stake, the restaurant industry can accelerate innovation at an incredible pace. In the aftermath of a pandemic, it only makes sense for the industry to carefully align near-term technology roadmaps with actions to address immediate market threats.