Commentary
EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS | Tim Charlton, UK
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How technology is triggering international restaurant trends

Nick Hucker, CEO of Preoday, says in the UK:

We’re used to turning to the US to see what the latest market trends might be. In foodservice, there have been some innovative concepts springing up in the US recently; the best of these can now be seen appearing right here in Britain.

Many are driven by evolving consumer demand and made possible by emerging technologies. McDonald’s has been leading the way by trialling innovation stores and
introducing ordering technology. One in New Jersey is without seats; in an effort to speed up service, the store introduced ‘walk up’ windows which are similar to the ‘drive thru’ but which specifically target commuters passing by on foot. This has proven a commercial success and wait times have been drastically reduced; sales at this single outlet are up by 5.7%. 

Another trend is the virtual kitchen. Powered by digital ordering technology, these delivery-only restaurants don’t operate out of a physical location with a shop front, but interact with customers online. The format, which allows for greater menu fluidity and flexibility, caught on quickly in North America and is now proving a success outside of the US.

None of these innovations would be possible without the support of powerful software. Core to these is digital ordering, a technology that facilitates online or mobile ordering, gathers customer data and feeds into food delivery. The technology is so popular that the ordering and delivery market has been seen to rise by10% in the last year, compared to a 1% increase in to restaurant visits.

For restauranteurs around the world, seeing what is happening in different regions can be enormously beneficial. However, every region is different and with local rules and culture, somethings may translate better or worse, country by country. As the UK and the US look backwards and forwards at each other to see the latest trends, the people that benefit most are the consumers.

The views expressed in this column are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect this publication's view, and this article is not edited by QSRMedia UK. The author was not remunerated for this article.

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