PSFK’s professional-grade research platform, featuring access to our full-report library and on-demand research services.Take me to PSFK iQ
This PSFK guide is a digital transformation report uncovers the elevated services, platforms, and solutions that are changing the restaurant industry landscape and reshaping the diner journey.
Digitally driven sales and delivery enabled the survival of restaurants during the pandemic, and these new capabilities were powered by cutting edge technology like AI, robotics, customer intelligence platforms plus innovative fulfillment and last-mile delivery solutions. These systems have reshaped the industry landscape and created new opportunities for restaurants to win loyalty and differentiate.
The restaurant, cafe and food service industry has witnessed a rapid adoption of contactless, mobile-first, and automated digital omnichannel experiences as the consumer dining journey underwent a decade’s worth of recalibration in just a single calendar year. To help our members better understand the ways in which restaurants are innovating to provide superior customer experience, the PSFK iQ research team has identified 9 key trends that highlight innovative ways in which technology and transparency are being utilized to strengthen bonds.
This food service innovation report includes:
This food service innovation report was developed by the same PSFK research department that since 2004 has provided trends-led innovation consulting advice to Apple, BMW, Facebook/Meta, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Volkswagen.
The digital-first practices of today’s consumer have given rise to greater flexibility, transparency and speed regarding fulfillment practices, from at home delivery to curbside pickup. To deliver against consumer expectations, and provide end-to-end convenience, online delivery platforms are expanding beyond just food-related orders, autonomous robots are completing final handoff, and geofencing tools are being incorporated into delivery platforms to provide ease of mind for both consumers and associates.Dining Subscription
While the core of any restaurant’s revenue is its daily food and beverage sales, the pandemic demonstrated how quickly this business can go away. In an effort to create additional income streams, while deepening their relationship with their top customers, many restaurants are implementing subscription and membership-based models that include insider access alongside lifestyle-related offerings like meal kits and merchandise.Ghost Franchise
Ghost kitchens have become a staple in the restaurant industry, reducing friction and wait times for customers in search of at-home delivery. As restrictions continue to limit social outings and visits to local favorites, ghost locations and partner restaurants or franchises are supporting entirely virtual restaurants to connect with customers and fulfill their online orders.
Fast casual chain Chipotle Mexican Grill launches “Real Foodprint,” a first-of-its-kind sustainability impact tracker that provides the chain’s guests with detailed data about the environmental impact of an order’s ingredients.Restaurant Chains Pivot From Dine-In to Drive-Thru With New Concepts
Multinational restaurant chains Taco Bell and Burger King have introduced new, innovatively designed store concepts that focus on the mobile customer experience and offer freshly redesigned brick-and-mortar offerings like 3-and-4 lane drive-thrus and suspended kitchens.Wendy’s To Open 700 Ghost Kitchens By 2025 With Start-up REEF Technology
Fast food chain Wendy’s will open 700 delivery-only, virtual ghost kitchens through a partnership with Softbank-backed Miami start-up REEF Technology.