In the last few years meeting customers’ expectations has challenged brands in multiple ways. Their hybrid purchasing behaviors and heightened needs has required an elevated game plan from brands, resulting in one side of their restaurants and stores trying to be Amazon.com, while the other side is devoted to providing an amazing and rewarding customer experience. Initially, many brands made the investment in digital ordering, loyalty and marketing to deliver on the convenience and value propositions necessary to attract and retain customers during the pandemic and its aftermath.
Therefore in 2023, those same brands will need to start shifting their investment and focus from front of house to back of house. Innovation in the back of house and the back office will give brands the means to improve efficiencies that enhance workflow performance and increase customer and staff satisfaction.
With the right systems in place, brands will have the opportunity to properly scale and drive revenue into the next decade. Interested in learning what technologies are integral to the success of a brand and will gain adoption in the year ahead? Here are the top five restaurant technology trends for 2023 with insights from PAR CEO Savneet Singh.
1. Integrating products to create a unified experience
There are two main reasons why integrations to help the back of house catch up in 2023 will be paramount to the success of brands. The first is that brands are continuing to deal with labor and food costs and need integrated software that effectively manages these challenges. Secondly, restaurants have gotten far more complicated, and the back of house needs everything from automation to robots to basic workflow software to innovate this area.
Because of the pandemic, some brands rushed to adopt tons of software to solve a very specific need, like an online ordering presence or a mobile app. However, these different products if not connected to each other and not connected to the back of house or the kitchen remain partially ineffective.
“If I were an enterprise brand in 2023, I would spend my budget on unifying the products I already have because the technology brands use should be making their lives simple and delightful,” said Savneet Singh, PAR CEO. “It will no longer work to have a lack of integrations among products, getting them unified means, you can deliver so much more to your customers.”
2. Physically changing the shape of restaurants to address customer expectations
Another upcoming trend on the horizon is the form factor of restaurants will change. Today, most restaurants on the inside look the same as they did 20 or 30 years ago. However, the expectations of that restaurant are totally different. Customers want a branded experience while dining in, yet also want an Amazon.com experience when they have food delivered. Restaurants are trying to do this with the same dining room and kitchen they have always used.
Restaurants will change their shapes, their sizes, their layouts or buildouts, to address this total reality, which includes digital orders being here to stay. Taco Bell has made the investment and reimagined their four walls and drive-thru.
3. Optimizing customer relationships with next level personalization
Brands have an opportunity to innovate the customer experience through data and personalization. With Google’s plan to remove third-party cookies in the second half of 2024, brands can no longer rely on third-party data to map out their long-term strategy. The future of data-driven customer experiences will require brands to rethink their traditional practices and refocus on building a customer-first loyalty and engagement program. And in exchange for the zero-data customers provide they will want to be rewarded with better 1:1 interactions.
Personalization will need to move beyond customer segmentation toward following customers on their lifetime journey with a brand. With the help of AI, a brand can know more than – Jane comes in with her kids and likes green smoothies.” Personalization needs to become dynamic to signal an approach for when Jane comes in without her kids during the third week of June after dropping them off at summer camp and looks to try something new.
“It’s time personalization actually becomes personalized,” said Singh.
4. Developing a subscription model that embraces your brand
Subscriptions are going to help brands with high repeat customers differentiate themselves from the competition in 2023. Subscriptions offer customers an opportunity to lower their cost of ownership and helps them choose between two brands. Subscriptions are a really interesting aspect for repeat buyers in a market where there are competitive alternatives.
They also provide brands with the ability to grow customer relationships and generate more loyalty. As customers are in your store or getting delivery more, they are going to interact with your brand more, giving you the opportunity to take them from a loyal customer to a superfan.
5. Making the most of mobile payments
The stage is set for further growth of mobile payments. While you can’t operate a modern business without them, now it’s about turning the process into something of value for your customers. Brands need to determine how to take the experience that customers have when paying and engage them with a survey or maybe enrollment into a loyalty program. It needs to become something more than a transaction.
Brands that move in the direction of flexible payment options will be rewarded too as customers are more likely to spend more when seamless payment options are available as it helps speed up their decision-making process.
“Brands are ready for their software to be integrated and unified so they can derive the most benefits from it. It’s about connected tech that’s actually solving their needs,” said Singh.
If you’re interested in learning more about Punchh Loyalty solutions, try a one-on-one demo with our industry leading experts or schedule a demo to understand how PAR is delivering a unified experience for restaurant customers. We’ll show you how to drive ROI for your brand now and into the future.
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