By Karen Bremer, Today's Restaurant Contributor
When new technology and trends emerge in the restaurant industry, operators and owners will likely embrace the changes if it means helping their bottom-line and allowing their operation to run more effectively. With 2015 underway, the restaurant industry is gearing up for another year of exciting trends to implement.
According to the National Restaurant Association's (NRA) annual What’s Hot culinary forecast – which surveyed nearly 1,300 professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation to gather the results – local sourcing, environmental sustainability and healthful kids’ meals were featured as the top trends for 2015.
Social media, another evolving and important tool in the restaurant industry, was also surveyed. According to the forecast, nearly three in five chefs said customers taking photos of their food and posting it on social media was free advertising and should be encouraged and about a third said it is acceptable as long as the customer is discrete. One in 10 chefs said it is disruption and should be discouraged.
To help make the day-to-day operations of our members run more efficiently, the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) works in partnership with several companies that provide innovative and beneficial services to restaurants to help them implement the latest trends.
One of the reasons restaurants invest in technology is to make their daily work more cost-effective and efficient. GRA’s allied partner, Orderly, does just this by using technology to streamline the restaurant ordering process. Operators can order ingredients and supplies on any mobile device while making informative purchasing decisions for their restaurant. Another partner, Barmetrix, uses combinations of technology, process, information and training to maximize inventory and service experience, while Easy CO2 helps operations by using innovative technology to supply CO2 for restaurants by eliminating venting and product loss.
Advanced reporting and measurement tools are also beneficial for restaurants. GRA partner Guestmetrics offers a free enterprise reporting solution as well as competitive benchmark reporting for beverages and food while Wyngspan, Inc. is an online community where consumers, professionals and businesses share resources they trust.
Mobile apps are also a key industry trend that many restaurants are taking advantage of to help their businesses. For example, the mobile app and GRA partner JoinMe@ gives restaurants an easy and flexible marking tool that utilizes their current customers to perform digital word-of-mouth marketing with their friends. The Mobile Vine is another tool for restaurants that designs mobile apps and websites that increase orders, visits, customer loyalty and ultimately revenue.
The restaurant industry continues to embrace the technological changes that are ever evolving in the industry to meet the needs and trends of their customers. Each trend is unique to an operator and implementing all or some of these trends depends on the restaurants. Ultimately these trends will allow operators to stay competitive, innovative and ahead in the industry while helping their business grow.
Karen Bremer is Executive Director of the Georgia Restaurant Association. The GRA can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (404)467-9000.