Restaurant Development & Design

July-August 2015

restaurant development + design is a user-driven resource for restaurant professionals charged with building new locations and remodeling existing units.

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3 0 • r e s t a u r a n t d e v e l o p m e n t + d e s i g n • J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 5 I magine your new restaurant 10 years from now. It has a noticeably smaller footprint than previous incarnations, including reduced countertop space and just one POS device. A shelving system located near the entrance is for customers to pick up pre-ordered, pre- paid-for food. Most days, at least half of the orders come in via mobile electronic devices. Customers order on premise from a tablet computer-enabled kiosk that instantly transmits each ticket to monitors in the kitchen. Servers deliver the food to the customer's table where they ensure that the order was complete and ask if the guest wants anything more. In the back of the house, part of the operation is automated. Pizza and burgers are made to order automatically by robotic cooking sys- tems. All this technology has allowed the restaurant to cater to a larger clientele with a smaller staff. Guests love the swift, effcient service. Profts are up. This visionary future is actually possible today. The technology portrayed is available, albeit in the case of robotic cooking, a bit on the cutting edge. Some restaurateurs and large chains have already adopted the front-of-the-house gadgetry mentioned above. However, these early adopters represent a small minority in an industry typically slow to adopt new technology. With the promise of more effcient service and labor savings from these de- vices, the restaurant industry might just buck its tendency to be a technology lag- gard. In fact, we may be at an infection point in the adoption of some of these technologies, if the industry's recent spike in technology spending has legs. Restaurants invested an average of 5.8 percent of revenue on technology in 2014, up from 3.5 percent in 2013, according to the "2015 Restaurant Technology Study" by Hospitality Technology magazine. The study found that 15 percent of restaurants accept mobile wallets, up from 7 percent in the 2014 study, and 37 percent plan to add that capability in 2015. About 13 percent of restaurants surveyed currently offer tableside payment via wireless credit card readers. Among those not yet offering this technology enhanced option, 29 percent are considering implementing it in 2015. Digital menus and payment options, along with features such as devices dedi- cated to gaming and entertainment, have the potential to signifcantly alter the guest experience. Some caution that the trans- formation could adversely affect service, but even critics acknowledge the upside is so compelling that widespread adoption of many of these features is inevitable. Most restaurateurs continue to take a wait-and-see approach to new tech- nologies, says Griz Dwight, president, GrizForm Design Architects. Whether and how soon these technologies take hold will depend on a perceived return on investment. "If you can spend $10 to show you can make $20 later, then you can justify it," Dwight says. Early adopters seem happy with their results. Here's a look at how they TECH TOOLS Panera 2.0 enables mobile ordering and payment, as well as easy custom- ization. Stores include shelving areas near the door for quick pick-up of orders placed remotely.

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