World Food Day Special: Food industry gets technological upgrade

Technology will shape the hospitality and F&B industry, says Abilash Krishnaswamy

The pandemic has made hospitality and F&B industries to reimagine themselves. This includes complying with heightened safety standards and evolving consumer behaviour. With the theme, The Future of Food is in our Hands, the World Food Day this year focusses on making smarter food choices that lead to better production, nutrition and environment for all. One factor that has emerged in prominence is the use of technology to enhance experience and streamline operations. Use of tech-enabled solutions can help businesses in creating sustainable and profitable models. 

From the use of mobile apps to digitising inventories, technology in the food industry has become the most sought-after ingredient in the recipe for success. The industry is now increasingly relying on new technologies and mobile application-based services which has led to the sector’s transformation. According to Ernst and Young, the spending trends of consumers show that they are ready and willing to pay for food tech innovations that can meet their increasing needs of convenience, health and low environmental impact. Using smartphones to order Thai takeout at midnight is only the tip of the iceberg. Here are the three major ways in which tech is transforming the way we eat:

Smarter servicing

Whether it is takeaway, delivery or dine-in, touch-free restaurant technology is a boon for restaurants and beneficial in terms of quick customer service, health risk minimisation and guest experience. As we step into the new-normal, restaurants, with the support of technology to render a safe and smooth guest experience, are welcoming guests to dine-in. Consumers need convenience and expect brands to recognise and cater to their needs. For example, a number of restaurants around the world are now experimenting with robots for customer interface. These robots are programmed in a manner that they use data analytics, facial recognition to check for order history, they are equipped with screens that provide guests with comprehensive information about a dish while simultaneously altering staff at the back-end in case of any customised requests. 

Sci-fi kitchen

The restaurant kitchen can be a hectic place and printed tickets may not be the most efficient option. Many restaurants today are instead using digital screens to keep things moving efficiently in the kitchen and throughout the entire restaurant. This makes it easier for the kitchen to stay organised and fulfill orders accurately and on time. Digital platforms for the food service industry can be programmed to facilitate inventory management, take stock of raw material and alert the staff in case of any discrepancies. This seamless integration of technology at the front office and at the back-end will enable companies to augment their efforts efficiently.

Minimising waste and encouraging healthy eating

One of the biggest concerns for consumers right now is consuming nutritious food. Consumers pay attention to labels and harmful ingredients. Migrating to digital platforms can help showcase detailed information about a particular dish right from the nutritional break-down to allowing consumers the flexibility to choose options basis their allergies, preferences or intolerances. At the back-end, food technology platforms also help in efficient inventory management. They create processes basis order patterns to streamline operations. There is a huge opportunity to use technology to improve the food experience, including improving food usage and decreasing waste. 

The hospitality and F&B industry has come a long way in the last two years and it is rather unlikely that what existed pre-pandemic will continue. In the post-pandemic world, the success of any business in the food service industry will depend on its adoption of technology. Investments in digital technologies that enable migration of all operations, front and back of the house, can help companies gain agility and better respond to changing consumer demands.


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