Restaurant Tech News

2024 National Restaurant Association’s Technology Report

The Restaurant Technology Landscape Report 2024 by the National Restaurant Association reveals an industry at a crossroads. Digital innovation is increasingly demanded by consumers and is crucial for operators to stay competitive.

Here are my key takeaways from the report for navigating this transformation.

Understanding Tech Appetite

The report highlights a crucial truth: technology in the restaurant industry is not just a trend but a core element of operations and customer service. While 76% of operators believe technology gives them a competitive edge, only 13% see themselves as technology leaders, indicating a significant gap and an opportunity for improvement.

Generational Divide

The report’s most revealing aspect was the breakdown of technology preferences across generations. For instance, 84% of Millennials and 89% of Gen Z prefer ordering delivery through a restaurant’s website or app, compared to 71% of Baby Boomers.

This divide extends to payment methods and the willingness to engage with newer technologies, like QR codes and digital wallets, suggesting a balanced approach to technology adoption should consider all customer segments.

Tech Investments

The data shows specific areas where tech investments could bring significant benefits. Smartphone apps are popular across all service models, with 70% of consumers open to using apps for ordering in limited-service restaurants.

The desire for a frictionless payment experience is universal. 62% of full-service restaurant customers are interested in contactless or mobile payment options. This highlights an opportunity to invest in developing or refining your restaurant’s app and payment systems.

POS Systems

48% of operators plan to invest in Point-of-Sale (POS) systems soon, with limited-service restaurant operators at 53%. This shows the critical role of these systems in transactions and overall tech integration in operations, from managing orders to analyzing sales data.

Read more:
GoTab Pocket POS: A Game-Changer in Tableside Service?
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Lightspeed Launches Tableside POS Feature

Managing Labor Challenges

One relevant section discussed how technology could address labor shortages. With 47% of operators expecting to use more technology and automation, it’s clear that integrating the right tech solutions could enhance efficiency and create a dynamic work environment to attract and retain staff.

chef in kitchen holding an iPad

Immediate Actions You Can Take

1. Re-evaluate Your Tech Stack

Your technology stack can either drive growth or hinder operations. As highlighted in the report, with 76% of operators recognizing technology’s competitive advantage, it’s crucial to assess whether your current tech tools meet operational demands and consumer expectations.

Evaluate if your POS system includes all the essential features. It’s not just about having technology; it’s about having the right technology that supports efficiency and enhances the customer experience for business improvement.

2. Double Down on Your Online Presence

The report shows a strong consumer preference for web and app-based ordering, especially among younger demographics. Improving your online presence is crucial. A well-designed website and a feature-rich app can significantly influence dining decisions.

For instance, 70% of limited-service customers prefer using an app to order and pay. Ensuring your digital touchpoints are operational and optimized for user engagement reflects your brand and meets consumer expectations for convenience and speed.

3. Implement Efficient Payment Solutions

The report’s findings on payment preferences highlight the growing consumer demand for quicker, safer, and contactless payment options. 62% of full-service and 68% of limited-service customers prefer contactless or mobile payment options, integrating technologies that facilitate these transactions can elevate the customer experience.

This might mean investing in NFC-enabled POS systems or partnering with digital wallet providers to streamline the payment process, reduce wait times, and improve satisfaction.

4. Explore POS System Upgrades

According to the report, 48% of operators plan to upgrade their POS systems, highlighting its crucial role in operational management.

A modern POS system offers much more than processing payments, providing insights into sales trends, inventory, and customer preferences. It is the backbone of your restaurant’s operations, streamlining processes and providing valuable data for business decisions.

Read more: SpotOn Launches AI Marketing Tool for Restaurants

5. Embrace Labor-Saving Technologies

The report highlights a strategic shift towards technology and automation to address labor shortages, with 47% of operators considering tech solutions to offset staffing challenges.

Implementing labor-saving technologies—like kitchen display systems to streamline order processing or automated scheduling tools to optimize staffing—can significantly reduce the strain on your team, allowing them to focus more on guest interaction and service excellence, aspects that customers value highly.

Automating repetitive tasks creates a more efficient workflow and a more attractive workplace for employees.

Read the whole Restaurant Technology Landscape Report 2024 report.

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Jan is a writer and content creator at with a focus on the restaurant and food service industry. Drawing from his background in tech and UX design, Jan breaks down complex systems into digestible, actionable insights.

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