Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

MAY 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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consultant's viewpoint customer experience, front-of-the-house staff used handheld devices to check on a meal's calorie count, take the order and settle the guest's check. Seasons 52 turned some heads with its approach to technology because not many, if any, U.S. restaurants were using it despite the fact that it was common in Europe at the time. Envisioning the Future Fast forward seven years to 2010, when I was serving as an adjunct professor at the University of Central Florida's Rosen Hospitality School. For one class, I invited a panel of industry experts to participate in an exercise with the students. Together we would try to come up with our vision for the next big restaurant concept that would hit the U.S. market. After an hour and a half of lively and contemplative discussion, here's our idea: We projected the operator would use a space that previously housed a restaurant. Instead of customers coming in to order their food, they would do so via the internet or by using their smartphones. The class felt this approach would reduce the amount of labor necessary to run the restaurant and it would limit construction costs. One interesting trend of late is a variety of delivery-only restaurants opening. Like the concept described above, customers order their food online and it gets delivered to them. In other words, these concepts have no front of the house to staff or maintain. This also reduces the operation's insurance costs. So, let's turn back to the original ques- tion: What's in store for the future of the restaurant industry? My 39 years of experience points toward continued use of smartphones in restaurants and other foodservice operations. Operators will marry their guests' use of smartphones to a hologram at each table. Using voice- command technology, a three-dimensional figure will walk the guests through the menu and take their orders. Guests will also settle their tabs tableside using payment information stored in the restaurant's data- base. In other words, a cashless future may not be too far off. Predicting exactly what the future holds for the foodservice industry is a complicated business. That's because a variety of factors, many of them unknown to us today, will continue to shape our business. One thing's for certain, though, new applications of non- foodservice technology will play a greater role in how operators serve customers in the years to come. Just let history be your guide. Visit us at NRA, May 20 - 23, 2017 in Chicago, IL • Booth 1425

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