Chain Store Guide’s (CSG) Foodservice and Retail Technology Databases include information and analysis on technological advancements in the foodservice and retail industries. CSG’s foodservice database contains listings for all chain restaurant operators, foodservice management operators, and hotel/motel operators with 20 or more foodservice units in the U.S. and Canada.

With the number of tech-savvy consumers on the rise, the foodservice industry must stay two steps ahead. In recent years, companies remain technologically relevant by implementing mobile platforms which include mobile-friendly websites and interactive apps. By transforming the company’s website to fit 3-6 inch mobile screens, a consumer would then be able to view a company’s website in the palm of their hand. Progressing even further, many foodservice companies built a mobile-friendly app that can be easily downloaded with a single click and allows the consumer to access restaurant locations, view menu items, download coupon deals, and even pay for their meal.

Another technological advancement that has become very popular in the foodservice industry is the introduction of tabletop tablets. According to CSG, 77% of companies implementing this technology reported using Apple tabletop tablets while, 13% reported using Ziosk, LLC, 3% Acer, and 6% did not specify. These tabletop tablets have the capability to expedite the ordering process by allowing the customer to order their entire meal as soon as they sit down, play one of the many games while they wait, and even pay for their meal with little human interaction with their server.

Not only are customer technologies captured in the Foodservice Technology Database, but also the point-of-sale hardware, software, and printers each company uses. According to CSG, the point-of-sale hardware reported being used throughout the foodservice industry was NCR at 20%, MICROS Systems, Inc. at 18%, and Sharp at 7%. Both NCR and MICROS Systems, Inc. were reported being used by the companies for point-of-sale software with 26% and 14%, respectively. Additionally, 5% of the companies reported using Restaurant Data Concepts (RDC) or an internally developed point-of-sale software. As far as point-of-sale printers, nearly half (47%) of the companies reported using EPSON America, Inc., 25% Integrated Printer, and 13% other.

It can be hard to predict what is in store for the foodservice industry when it comes to technology, but we can say that this is only just the beginning. Each year, we suspect that our dinners will be less about the food and more about how to order it or what do to while we are waiting for it. Apple will surely dominate the market, while others will try to compete by putting more technology in our hands and food in our stomachs.

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