Technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, and foodservice companies are jumping on the bandwagon to improve efficiency, accuracy, speed, and training. Many of these advancements are improving every aspect of an eating establishment, while others aren’t performing up to speed.

The Good: Kiosk and App Ordering
From gas stations to quick service, kiosk and app ordering has integrated its way into a customer’s daily dining experience. Applying these technological advancements doesn’t replace jobs; instead, it increases accuracy while shortening a customer’s wait time. Owners and management also benefit from kiosk ordering, allowing them to track every item efficiently. Customers, in turn, helped by faster ticket times and accuracy while customizing their orders down to the smallest possible detail.

The Bad: AI Chat Bots
Quick service chains like Wingstop, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell are testing AI chatbots to take orders and answer customer questions. While the bots do cut down on labor costs long term, the potential fallout from upset customers could be damaging to bottom line numbers. In quick service and casual dining, there still needs to be a human element. Not all questions and problems can be solved by an AI chatbot. It only takes a handful of dissatisfied customers to damage an establishment’s reputation, meaning some issues can only be resolved through old-fashioned communication.

The Unknown: VR Training
As virtual reality becomes more commonplace, foodservice companies have begun to leverage it for training purposes. Virtual reality training intends to alleviate the need for hiring trainers, renting space for classrooms, and creating endless hours of tutorial videos — allowing the trainees to immerse themselves fully in the environment they’ll be working in. VR training is still in its early stages; however, initial reports and reviews are predominantly positive.

Foodservice technology is advancing at a rapid rate. And yet there must be a balance between technology and the human element, or all these advancements aren’t worth anything.