How today’s technology could shape restaurants in the future.

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While a recent study might suggest that technology adoption for restaurants (which, in general, also includes food trucks and food trailers) is low, the numbers are rising ever higher than before. With the constantly explosion of current and emerging technolgies it’s time to take a look at what, and how todays’s technologies could drive restaurants of the future (short of having Star Trek-style replicators).

The growth of mobile payments could dramatically ease table turnover.

A cashless future? Depending on who you ask, it’s entirely possible. Not only does a cashless restaurant could reduce security risks, but an increasingly-wide adoption of mobile payment systems (like Square and Clover) could mean the elimination fo servers going back and forth from standalone POS stations and allow patrons to pay the bill right then and right there. And with the cross-adoption of digital rewards, it could be a way to incentivize every patron to earn rewards in your establishment (if your establishment has one).

The Internet of Things (IoT) could truly empower restaurant and foodservice establishment owners.

Whether you know about it or not (if not, Forbes has a pretty good explanation). In a way, this can truly change how people run a restaurant. Instead of venturing a guess or staying safe with decisions, having a completely-connected restaurant can remove a significant amount of guesswork on running a restaurant.

From knowing your establishment’s demographics, to checking the diagnostics of the commercial equipment, to even checking the supply status of the bathrooms, the average restaurant owner could have complete awareness of his or her establishment just from a phone or a tablet. This means you could have demographics reports, service histories of each piece of equipment, and bathroom supply inventories for almost any establishment. While some might cry “Big Brother” with such a wholly-connected technology, it’s entirely possible to say that it’s all for the greater good of the establishment.

VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality) can improve both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house

Not too long ago, Samsung had an idea about how their VR platform can be used within restaurants. Although it’s a noble, if imaginative, effort, we think it’ll go more than just digital fantasy scenarios.

In front-of-the-house, having VR at every restaurant table could resolve a problem many restaurants potentially face: Entertainment. While a lot of establishments seem to solve the problem by providing television to primarily show sports. Sure it might allow a lot of people to solve the problem, but with VR, patrons can have the opportunity to watch primetime television while ordering dinner, or even play VR games. If VR is too much, patrons can use AR technology (think Google Glass or Microsoft HoloLens) to bring virtual menu dishes to the table, or even provide live entertainment in a crowded area.

In the back of the house, chefs can use VR to better design how their commercial kitchen will look like (maybe we at the Frog will have it one day too), and provide a digital workspace for those who might not have room for an office (like people who run catering businesses, food trucks, or food trailers). In addition to VR, chefs can use AR to better train beginner chefs on how to prepare certain meals (which is especially useful if you run a chain restaurant or otherwise prepare fragile recipes). In addition, patrons can use AR to have a menu like never before. Imagine wearing something close to Google Glass and be able to have near infinite-amount of details on your menu, something that would be a lot better than a menu that’s as thick as a book.