Different Tech, Different Takes: The future according to two foodservice suppliers

How has technology imposed itself on your restaurant? Do you rely on online reservations to fill your dining room? Do you run a seatless, delivery app-dependent ghost kitchen? Does your ambience depend on a music streaming service? It’s a truism at this point, but the march of technology is inescapable, and foodservice isn’t an exception — but exactly how tech will change it is an open question. After all, who first saw the original iPhone and thought ghost kitchens would be a thing, anyway? Below, two professionals working at the intersection of foodservice and technology share their view on what we can expect next in the space.

Marc Italia — Lightspeed, Cloud POS provider

Cloud-based POS has enabled table-side ordering and seamless communication between front and back of house. Food allergies, dietary preferences and the nutritional value of menu items can be instantaneously communicated back-and-forth, speeding up the overall time it takes to process orders. Guest turnover is faster, and with fewer mistakes. For customers and operators, it’s win-win. Look at Sapporo Revolving Sushi, based out of Las Vegas. Customers send orders directly to the kitchen via iPad, while conveyor belts bring food to the tables.

Moving forward, increased demand for tech-based solutions will continue to push providers like Lightspeed to develop new tools, like system and service integration such as planning finances and organizing work schedules. Lightspeed’s recent integrations with Intuit QuickBooks Online accounting software and Planday are prime examples of this. Looking to the future, we can also anticipate a greater shift toward mobile and contactless payments.

Erik Koenig — Heritage Parts, Foodservice parts distributor

The internet of things and connected kitchen has changed how we think about the role Heritage Parts can play in foodservice. Our customers want a 360-degree view of their kitchens, and the tools we’re developing are geared toward responding to that want and quickly delivering information on a phone or tablet.

Equipment downtime is lost revenue; getting it back up is imperative. The connected kitchen makes it possible streamline that process and improvement of equipment generally. With data delivered via mobile, the connected kitchen brings the necessary data together in a single, easy to access platform that provides operators, service technicians and manufacturers a one-click view of performance, and the means to assess problems, employ solutions and involve our customer service representative and technicians at both the level of operator and the level of the equipment.

Going forward, technology will allow us to enhance our customers’ education. Online materials, including video, that promotes cleaning and simple repairs and in-depth factory-authorized service training will be key for us moving forward. And, of course, having live experts on hand who can answer the inevitable question quickly and efficiently.

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