The 5 tech trends turning the dial in hospitality

Come Sunday morning, people may always need their smashed avocado, but the way hospitality businesses plates up that smashed avo will change over the next five to ten years. Here’s how.


1. Robo-baristas are coming


Those who have slung beans will know that making coffee in the morning rush can reduce an artisan to a machine. This is set to go one step further.

Robots will punch out soy lattes, using machine-precision so that every single latte is made to the exact user specifications.

It may seem a bit sci-fi, but it’s already happening in Australia.

Based out of Collingwood, pop-up café Once Alike had a robot making coffee for sleepy punters.

Customers could place their iPad order, get a time estimate for making their coffee – and at the end of it, they’d get their coffee.

The robot was on the slow side and nothing beats some banter with a human barista (well, depending on the barista), but as the costs dip and the robo-barista improves, steel arms are heading their way to coffee machines.


2. Multi-screen dining scene


One of the more annoying tasks café owners face is changing the physical café menus when the chef jazzes up the dishes – but what if you could update all of the menus in five seconds?

Some cafés around the world have ditched the paper menus for tablet displays, where diners order their food without relaying their choices to the kitchen through a third party.

For small businesses, buying a set of tablets may break the budget – but eventually the customer preference will dictate this change.

Gen Z’s transaction experience, in most cases, starts and finishes on a screen of some kind.

READ: Meet your new customers

And while on the screen idea, everybody brings screens with them when eating out – so could we see a day when ordering is handled by the customer’s phone?

Watch this space.


3. How would you like to pay for that?


If your business hasn’t already embraced contactless payment options, that whoosh sound you hear is your competitors flying past you.

Customers have honed contactless payments for transactions as small as their morning coffee.

From cards to phones to wearables, the current trend is being driven by the convenience offered by RFID tech.

In just a couple of years, it’s become the first option. Now, people behind the counter assume card is your go-to for payment.

Where will payment tools head in the next five years? Who knows, but there’ll be more changes to transactions so businesses get their tech on.

RESOURCE: Find out more about payment tech here


4. Dark kitchen sharing


So-called ‘dark kitchens’ have sprung up around Australia as part of the rolling juggernaut of meal-delivery platforms.

These kitchens only exist to fulfill orders from those wanting home delivery – there’s not a restaurant table in sight.

For example, Deliveroo recently opened its largest dark kitchen in Melbourne, enabling 25 brands to cook and deliver from the one space.

In this new era of sharing so operators benefit from such efficiencies, is it too wild to suggest that smaller operators form their own mega kitchen?

So far, the dark kitchens have been owned and operated by the delivery companies, but if dark kitchens turn out to be way more effective, expect to see newcomers edging their way in.


5. Data coming at you from all sides


A lot of hospitality businesses create data by the plateful. This could be distilled for insights into more efficient business processes, but often owners rely on their gut instinct.

There’s nothing wrong with using intuition in business, but when it’s not backed by hard data, it’s basically an informed guess.

While some hospitality businesses whip their data into shape by tracking orders, traffic, average transaction values and rostering – others are still getting their heads around it.

Soon to enter the market is the next gen business owner, who’s well versed in how data quantifies decisions since they were kids. So leveraging data to make business decisions will become the norm, not the exception.

RESOURCE: Top hospo apps to help you track your numbers