7 trends in 2019 that could impact innovation in the F&B industry
In turn, the food and beverage industry is also feeling the effects of a multitude of new technological additions that enhance the efficiency of restaurants and restaurant owners.
Business managers, keep your wits about you! Disruption could be just around the corner.
Here are a few trends in 2019 which could potentially impact how the F&B industry innovates its processes.
IoT continues to make its mark
IoT may have taken the retail sector by storm for some time now but developments in the ‘cloud’ could put new tactics in the hands of business owners. Starbucks baristas now have screens behind them that display data on the number of cups that have been brewed.
New menu additions can now be remotely updated on different devices. This is not only an improved form of efficiency but aggregate sales and other data can now be tracked to see what's popular with consumers when and where (in real time!)
Automation in the way QSR is handled
You could say that automation is already here and is happening in various retail outlets and restaurants. Look around and you might already find pizza parlours using robots as well as semi-automated restaurants serving quality meals.
Humans being replaced by automation probably isn't a new phenomenon either. However, the attack of the robots may be hitting restaurants and retail with even more ferocity. This is in line with a growing perception that robot labour can sidestep a lot of other issues in the future, including food safety concerns (like improper storage of food or employees forgetting to wash their hands).
Restaurants may also typically struggle with availability/cost of labour. The prospect of an automated workforce could prove to be a promising solution to these troubles.
On top of all this, potentially helping to ensure consistency and eliminate human error can make this trend all the more appealing.
Robot store employees as helping hands
You may also find that, at the same time, retailers are beginning to focus on an approach which uses technology to free store employees from menial tasks so that they can spend time on more human work like servicing customers. Take a step back from being intimidated by the march of the robots and see technology for what it can be, a great way to optimise the ways in which humans run their businesses. Retailers can use drones and pretty sophisticated machines to help track what's missing and misplaced on shelves or manage the inventory in stock.
You might also see a rise of mobile technology in the form of tablets and smartphones being used in the restaurant industry, however, instead of simply replacing traditional cash registers, applications could even go all the way to customers’ phones in 2019. Think about incorporating mobile payments and other solutions into your restaurant's business model. In 2017, the use of mobile payments grew 75% (especially within quick service establishments). The ability to order and pay from a mobile device can speed things up considerably. Consumers can't seem to get enough of this so expect to see more and more restaurants beginning to up their mobile payment game.
A shifting focus on experiencing physical stores
Online spending is probably increasing exponentially, which is why delivering an experience for shoppers/visitors that actually drop by brick-and-mortar stores should be a focus. The question many retailers might be asking themselves in 2019 is "What keeps my physical store relevant to the customers that walk in?”.
Restaurants should pay more attention to the customers’ experiences and not just the quality of the food, leveraging on technology like a state-of-the-art point of sale systems or automated drones to take over systematic tasks while human employees focus more on engaging customers.
The end of single-serve plastic packaging?
It seems that the convenience that single-serve packaging may offer is no longer worth the environmental degradation. Coffee stirrers, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and plastic straws are all at risk of being ditched very, very soon. According to the World Health Organization, 50% of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable. This year, expect to find many environmentally conscious individuals looking to change that statistic and many retailers accommodating the movement.
A shift in preferences of sweetness
Processed sugar? That’s sooo last century…
As the awareness of unhealthy sugar addiction begins to grow, you may find that many people have begun to change the way they define/experience sweetness. Some could start to reduce sugar in their diets, opting for sugarless beverages and watching out for excessive sugar in foods while others keep their eyes open for safer alternatives. This can chart a path for innovation in the F&B industry. Either way, as consumers get savvy about resetting the societal norms of sugary taste, retailers and restaurant owners should start taking note of their customers' demands.
Last Updated 15th March 2018
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Last updated: 15th March 2018
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