Restaurant Business asked industry experts to peer into their crystal balls and predict what limited-service and full-service operations might look like in the next decade. Here are their educated guesses on everything from inventory-tracking refrigerators to burrito-delivering drones..
1. More prominent pickup counters
Off-premise will change the face of limited-service restaurants, prompting more-prominent pickup counters, cubbies to organize to-go orders and separate areas for plasticware to ease congestion. Expect LSRs to add dedicated entrances and drive-thru lanes for third-party delivery drivers.
2. Drive-thrus will become an extension of the pickup window
Speaker boxes will become extinct and drive-thrus will become an extension of the pickup window as consumers grow increasingly comfortable with alternative ordering platforms like mobile, chatbots and voice-enabled technologies.
3. Increase in “smart” kitchen equipment
Greater reliance on data means an increase in “smart” kitchen equipment that can analyze inventory flow, track food safety, trace ingredients and send real-time mobile updates to operators.