Technology is shaking up and waking up the restaurant industry like never before, with the goal of improving efficiency and saving time. A closer look at three developments shows how technology is working for early adapters.
THE FASTEST WAY TO PAY
Waiting for a server to drop the check is a thing of the past at restaurants like Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, which include Pricci in Atlanta, Lobster Bar Sea Grille in Fort Lauderdale and Chops Lobster Bar in Boca Raton, Florida.
They’re among the thousands of restaurants worldwide, from quick service to fine dining, that have adopted end-to-end technology solutions like Toast and Sunday. They’re fully integrated with a variety of POS systems, so guests can simply scan a QR code, split the bill, pay the bill (using Apple Pay, Google Pay, American Express, Visa and Mastercard) and leave a tip at their own leisure.
The payment process is fast, helping restaurants turn tables more quickly, saving servers’ time and surprisingly increasing check averages and tips. There’s no monthly subscription or setup fee, just a processing fee based on usage, which is lower than most credit card processors.
“Most importantly, our guests love getting their check at their convenience and quickly paying with their phone when they want to leave,” says Niko Karatassos, president of Buckhead Life Restaurant Group, who uses Sunday.
Servers still place orders and answer questions about the menu but have more time to upsell menu items, rather than spend time away from guests and bogged down at the POS system.
REMOTELY PILOTED ROBOT DELIVERY
When delivery demand outpaces the availability of drivers, robots like Coco fill in. Coco’s fleet of remotely piloted robots delivers food more efficiently, sustainably and reliably than human couriers within a two-mile radius, operators say.
“Delivery doesn’t always bring your food in the best condition,” says Coco CEO Zach Rash. “We typically get it there 30% faster than other services, and it is preserved much better since it’s in the robot the whole time. Plus, having an organized line of robots instead of couriers coming in has been one of the biggest selling points. We make sure the order’s cooked and out the door as fast as possible for the customer.” Robots are fully operated by remote human drivers, who are full-time Coco employees with extensive training. The job is much more accessible and less taxing than being a delivery driver, since drivers work from home and don’t need a car. Coco robots can fit 18-inch pizzas and up to four grocery bags in an insulated container, with an advanced suspension system to navigate uneven terrain. Merchants scan any robot, put the order in and Coco handles the rest. Coco, which works especially well in dense areas such as college campuses, is already integrated with delivery platforms like DoorDash and UberEats and is currently available in Los Angeles and Miami, launching in more U.S. cities soon.
EXTEND THE SHELF LIFE OF COOKING OIL
Sustainable, cost-efficient and now fully biodegradable, FreshFry pods save operators time, labor and cost by extending the life of cooking oil by two to three days, with no additional equipment needed.
Simply drop a FreshFry pod into your commercial fryer at the end of the day, and it attracts and catches the water, metals and acids that come from the food and destroy your oil. The next day, toss the pod in the trash and resume cooking with your clean oil.
“We fry a lot of chicken at Hattie B’s, so oil is an essential ingredient for us,” says Executive Chef Brian Morris. “FreshFry oil filter pods allow us to fry perfect Southern-fried chicken all day, every day. The pods capture and remove impurities that make oil smoke and taste bitter, ensuring cleaner cooking oil – and it’s a sustainable, plant-derived product.”
FreshFry pods eliminate the laborious, time-consuming need to dispose of oil on a daily basis. And with ingredients across the board, including cooking oil, skyrocketing in price, it’s nice to save money whenever you can. New this year, FreshFry also launched frying oil test kits, which test the contaminant levels in your oil, so you know when to filter or change out your oil.