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How The Digital Transformation Revolution Is Changing The Restaurant Industry

Restaurant fast food

Over the past five years, the net worth of the global food market has more than tripled and stands at an impressive $150 billion (approx. £118 billion). For restaurants seeking to embrace an ever-growing industry, digital transformation stands as a major market opportunity. 

For some restaurant owners, the concept of digital transformation can seem like something for online businesses. However, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown that food and digital solutions can go hand in hand throughout a number of areas of a culinary business. 

Plenty of restaurants have incorporated digital elements into their processes such as booking apps, smart shift technology, robot bartenders, AI inventory management, and even digital collaborations with food delivery companies such as DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Technological advancements mean that there are now more ways than ever for restaurants to embrace digital transformation. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how restaurant owners can improve their operations by going digital: 

1. Life in the Cloud

Embracing cloud technology can help to take all areas of a restaurant to the next level, regardless of their particular industry niche. 

To illustrate this, Carrie Tharp, Industries vice president at Google Cloud points to the journey kitchen and delivery service ClusterTruck took in utilising the power of digital transformation. 

Thanks to cloud technology, ClusterTruck owns the customer experience end-to-end and uses AI to optimise every aspect of its processes, including sourcing ingredients, updating menus, preparing and cooking food, the delivery process, and customer loyalty schemes. 

“Our software controls everything, even telling different stations on the line when to fire,” explained Chris Baggot, ClusterTruck CEO. 

Using Google Cloud, ClusterTruck has unlocked more efficient data storage, AI optimisation, and machine learning to improve operations. Algorithms can help to improve efficiency according to Baggot. “If the ingredient can’t be used in multiple menu items, we won’t use it,” he added.

2. Chatbots Improve Experiences

Chatbots have become one of the most effective assets for restaurants in terms of improving the experience of their diners. 

Artificial intelligence conversational interfaces can be integrated into websites, social media platforms, and mobile apps to bring automation to customer services such as responding to questions, instant booking reservations, and processing orders online. 

Automotive tasks can add personalisation to customers based on their history of preferences and reduce labour costs at restaurants. 

3. Leverage Engagement Through Apps

Statista suggests that quick-service restaurants in the US are set to see over $38 billion generated through online food delivery by 2025. This makes leveraging mobile food delivery services an essential component of digital transformation within the industry. 

Apps help to eliminate friction throughout the ordering process both for delivery and dine-in experiences. They can forge a stronger connection with customers and operate as an excellent platform for delivering loyalty schemes and customer incentives. 

4. Menu Optimisation Brings Profit

Another key component of digital transformation is menu optimisation. This can help you maximise the potential of your digital menu platform for higher sales and embrace more strategic engineering. 

Menu optimisation can bring many benefits to businesses. It can help you to better understand your overperforming and underperforming dishes as well as offer a better chance to compare and contrast your menus with those of your competitors. 

Crucially, menu optimisation also helps restaurants to better align their dishes with their brand, helping you to cater to your target segment and match customer expectations. This can empower you to build a digital menu that reflects the demand for your dishes and the fluctuations in customer demand. 

5. Building a Social Presence

Social media has evolved to become a core component of digital marketing for restaurant businesses. 

The technology is now prevalent in the daily lives of many consumers, and a recent survey of restaurant owners found that 36% believe that their growth is propelled predominantly by social media. 

KFC offer

Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, and even TikTok can help to engage directly with customers to showcase dishes, build a community surrounding a restaurant, and even generate a buzz surrounding offers. 

An Industry-Wide Revolution

Digital transformation is reshaping the restaurant and food delivery industry at a rapid pace. While the pandemic prompted a rapid acceleration towards an online presence for many restaurants, processes have now matured to deliver a more responsive and functional experience for diners. 

Over the coming years, we’re likely to see digital transformation provide more focused insights for websites and generate better customer experiences as a result, helping all industry participants to unlock new audiences and access better revenue streams in a more automated manner. 


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