Hoping to better understand technology trends in the restaurant industry, Toast surveyed more than 300 managers, servers, owners, bartenders, and chefs throughout the country. In the list, 52 percent were full service, while 20 percent quick service, 6 percent bar/nightclub, 4 percent food truck, 11 percent café/bakery, and 7 percent catering. Also, 52 percent were single-unit operators, while 22 percent had two to five locations, 7 percent 11 to 20, 4 percent 21 to 100, 6 percent 101-1,000, and 4 percent had more than 1,000.
The results are geared toward assisting restaurants with identifying and making better decisions when it comes to technology choices, especially in a flooded marketplace where new products and solutions arrive daily.
The study showed that 73 percent of restaurants are planning to upgrade their technology within the year; 46 percent look at their business reports and metrics every day; 52 percent note that “advanced functionality” and “ease of use” would be their top reasons for replacing existing methods or software; 50 percent currently pay for two to five technology vendors; and that the top features restaurateurs are looking for in a point of sale upgrade are: inventory management (20 percent), online ordering (13 percent), and PCI compliance (9 percent).
To the question, “What is the biggest challenge for your restaurant?” 46 percent list hiring, training, and retaining staff. While the study notes that technology can assist in training and other challenges, the culture of a restaurant should be nurtured in-house.
The vast majority—71 percent—of responders currently use POS software to manage transactions and operations. That leaves 21 percent using a cash register or pen and paper system, and 6 percent relying on a custom-built model.
For the topic of replacing existing methods and software, 32 percent pick advanced functionality as their top reason for moving to a different system. “Ease of use” was second at 20 percent.
Thirty-nine percent of the operators listed efficiency as the most important technology benefit. Only 3 percent deemed cloud-based systems important. Managers polled were more concerned with efficiency, while owners leaned toward security issues.
In the “How do you like to get updates about your tech?” question, 69 percent responded that they prefer email. Six percent chose mobile communication.
For looking at business reports/metrics, 46 percent answered that they check every day. Mid-size restaurants (11 to 20 locations), at 62 percent, look every month instead.
Showing the multitude of specific options available, 50 percent of the responders say they pay two to five different technology vendors, and 73 percent say they plan to upgrade within a year.
Inventory management, online ordering, and PCI compliance came in at 6.48 percent, 5.9 percent, and 5.66 percent, respectively, for the top features desired in a POS upgrade.