It’s not just pandemic problems that have changed the technology landscape.
The beginning of the year is the perfect time to make plans and set expectations. So, as you’re looking forward, it might be a good idea to look back—at the back of house. Restaurant operators have been taking advantage of new technology and how digital tools can help them meet evolving guest expectations for years. But back-of-house technology has been on the back burner most of that time. However, as operators look for any competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace, back of house is coming to the front.
It’s not just pandemic problems that have changed the technology landscape, but ongoing trends toward mobile adoption of technology and off-premises dining are also behind some of the major pushes in back-of-house technology for 2022. No matter what COVID may bring as the pandemic continues to evolve, successful restaurant operators will be adopting these trends for their restaurant management solution in the coming year.
So, what can you expect to see? A better, more integrated technology stack, technology rising to meet the challenges surrounding supply chain issues and labor shortages, enabling more streamlined off-premises dining, and an ongoing focus on wellness.
Leveling Up Your Tech Stack
Restaurant operators have been adding new technology to meet modern challenges and evolving guest preferences for years. However, front-of-house technology has typically taken precedence due to its visibility by customers. An increasing number of restaurants are realizing that having only a partial tech stack is limiting the visibility into their operations. We’re starting to see more operators either add back of house or update back of house as they make a more cohesive restaurant technology stack.
This brings on new capabilities, including being better able to monitor employee scheduling, inventory, purchasing, new sanitation protocols, and more. Each penny has always counted in the restaurant industry, but that’s never been truer and even small optimizations add more money to the bottom line.
Mobile technology is increasingly important as well, as restaurants are no longer able to accommodate a desktop computer or out-of-date software. Restaurant employees are also demanding more current technology. They’re accustomed to managing their lives on their phones and have come to expect these kinds of tools. From scheduling to checklists to inventory, mobile technology allows your employees to work the way restaurants do – on the go.
Meeting the Challenges of the Day
Supply chain disruptions, rising food costs and labor shortages are all making it difficult to manage costs in restaurants. One of the major back-of-house trends for 2022 will be finding new ways to manage those costs with technology.
Modern BOH systems have made it possible to implement a number of cost-saving technologies. For example, when it comes to labor, it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of employees will clock in early. Those minutes add up quickly, and small things like clocking enforcement in your scheduling system are going to be a big help in 2022 for restaurants managing labor costs.
Back-of-house technology is also helping keep a handle on food costs. Whether that’s alerts on out of contract pricing, or theoretical recipe costing that allows you to adjust menu prices based on food costs, we anticipate seeing many restaurant operators turn to these types of tools to help them keep an eye on costs in the new year.
Plus, as more established restaurant brands begin to open ghost kitchens to meet the demand for takeout and delivery, technology that can work in their traditional locations as well as ghost kitchens will be more valuable than ever. Restaurants are always looking for ways to do more with less, and that includes their tech stack. Back-of-house systems that can cover ghost kitchens and commissaries will rise to the top.
Renewed Focus on Wellness
Nobody knows how long COVID-19 and its evolving variants may be around for, but regardless of what happens with the pandemic, the tools that restaurants have been using for health and wellness checks and monitoring sanitation will be repurposed with an ongoing focus on wellness moving forward.
Restaurants will continue to follow guest preferences for better sanitation and wellness protocols. Whether it’s more frequent cleaning, broader based wellness assessments, or other digital wellness solutions, we expect to see those adapted and still used in coming years.
We don’t know what 2022 holds in terms of how COVID-19 will continue to change the industry, but we do see these key trends rising to the top in back of house technology in the coming year.
Greg Staley is the CEO of SynergySuite, a back-of-house restaurant management platform. Greg focuses on facilitating better visibility and increased profitability for restaurant chains through the use of intelligent, integrated back-of-house technology. For more information, please contact Greg at email@example.com.