5 Technology Trends That Can Bring Restaurants More Profit in 2021

Woman holding food bag in front of chalkboard for tech trends.
Ayseli İzmen
Ayseli İzmen
December 7, 2021

2020 was one of the most challenging years for the hospitality industry. According to the National Restaurant Association in the USA, “Restaurants lost $240 billion in sales during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 75% of the operators expecting the downturn to keep them unprofitable until at least the year.”

Heading into 2021, the restaurant industry expects another challenging year. However, it is essential to stay optimistic because technological developments rapidly improve the dynamics of the gastronomy industry. Those outlets that adapt well to digital transformation will see increased sales and profits.

So here are the top 5 technology trends that can bring you more profit in 2021.

The Rise of Ghost Kitchens

Ghost kitchens are kitchens without dining rooms. They are designed for delivery and probably never become a bricks-and-mortar destination for diners. Ghost kitchens contain different brands within themselves. Kitchen machinery like dishwashers and stovetops can be shared across these brands in one space. Ghost Kitchen not only lets brands manage their inventory, data, and sales but also allows a space for co-shared suppliers. In this new-generation market space for restaurants, delivery is controlled separately. The concept is cost-effective and will shake the industry in the upcoming years. According to a recent report from Euromonitor, the ghost kitchen sector could create a $1 trillion global opportunity by 2030. Hence, it might be a good time to jump into this new-generation co-space workspace.

Focus on Digital-only brands!

Digital-only brands are quite similar to ghost kitchens. They are also designed for delivery and are not available in brick-and-mortar destinations for diners. The main difference is digital brands work like tool manufacturing or licensing models. The ingredients and the cooking instructions are given by the brand to the restaurant, and the preparation is taken care of by the restaurant. When customers order the food, the item comes from the nearest store that carries the digital brand. Besides, some restaurants also introduce digital-only items in their menus. By not making particular dishes available online, restaurants aim to increase online presence and delivery.

Digital-only Restaurants are coming

The Digital Kitchen concept is focused on increasing the digital business in non-traditional locations. It is exceptional because it does not include a dining room or front service line, and guests must order in advance via an app. Orders can be picked up from a lobby or a designated area. The new model allows restaurants to enter urban areas that wouldn’t support a full-size restaurant and allows more flexibility for future locations.

Curbside, the trending star

Curbside pickup became the typical way for customers to get their food without possible contamination. Customers order their items via an app, select a collection time, and receive their orders from a designated location. This channel adds value to guests’ dining experience because customers do not need to go inside the restaurant to grab their dishes. This system not only increases sales but also eases the delivery process. However, to keep curbside available ongoingly, diners must provide a designated pick-up area.

No more 3rd party apps for delivery!

Currently, the majority of restaurants use 3rd party platforms such as DoorDash or Uber Eats to deliver their food to their guests. In 2021, it is estimated that restaurants will now take charge of their delivery via their app and reach their customers without third-party platforms. According to research conducted by Zagat, those customers who don’t outsource delivery via third parties saw around 200% increase in their revenues. When restaurants have a customized app, they can communicate directly with their customers, leverage data to track and analyze consumer behavior, and offer deals and customized bundling opportunities based on this information.