It’s food tech prediction week at The Spoon!
Each day we’ll post five predictions for a specific area of the food tech universe, starting with restaurant tech.
The ghost kitchen market will see growth in hosted models and consolidation in some other areas
The ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant markets were white hot in 2021, with many venture capital funds pouring into a range of different concepts. However, one of the growing realizations regarding the ghost kitchen market is that while many offerings have had technology platform valuation multiples, a good number of them are facility-based concepts that have a economic cost closer to that of real estate.
For this reason, I expect much of the action in 2022 will be in hospitality kitchen concepts that leverage existing restaurant brands or create entirely new ones powered by social communities. The launch of TikTok Kitchen, powered by Virtual Dining Concepts and their host kitchen model, is one I will be watching closely to see if they can replicate the success they are having with MrBeast Burger.
Finally, we can also expect to see some high-profile players exit or scale back their ambitions. Reef has just announced that they are closing a third of their kitchens, likely in part due to fallout from the company’s ongoing health department certification issues. I think we’ll see more of that in 2022.
Restaurants will deploy more artificial intelligence, automation and cloud-based labor to offset labor issues
Like many other restaurant chains, Checkers has struggled in recent years to find enough workers to cover various shifts. Going forward, they won’t have to worry about that when it comes to managing drive-thru, as the company is deploying AI-powered voice robots in 267 of its restaurants.
This is just one example of how restaurants will embrace more technology to address what has become an ongoing labor shortage in the restaurant space. Of course, automation and robotics will also be part of the equation, but I think we’ll also see more restaurants find help through remote working through platforms like Bite Ninja.
Restaurateurs will embark on membership NFTs
Last week, we saw Gary Vaynerchuk and his team raise $14 million with the membership token auction for their NFT restaurant slated to open in the first half of 2023. With this success of Flyfish – and the rapid rise in token price in post -drop trading – I predict we will see many others trying to use a similar pattern. Sure, many will fail, but I can see how NFTs could become a new way to fund restaurants instead of traditional funding for chefs with large audiences.
Rethinking catering concepts to meet offsite demand
The idea behind PizzaHQ is quite simple: use centralized kitchens powered by automation to supply a market where the vast majority of customers never expect to enter your restaurant. As offsite continues to grow and real estate prices continue to rise, we can expect more new restaurant concepts that encompass different elements of dark kitchens, automation, contactless pickup, and more. .
Scanning the back of the house
Restaurant kitchen operations can be messy and low-tech, but that’s starting to change as new digital platforms allow operators to better optimize their business. A number of startups are combining IoT, AI and software to improve the efficiency of all aspects of a restaurant’s operations, allowing them to create the kind of just-in-time models for food production that have existed. in traditional manufacturing and other industries for decades.
Companies like Powerhouse Dynamics and their IoT-powered asset monitoring have been at it for a while, and now companies like Perfect Company are performing real-time monitoring of a kitchen to optimize labor allocation. work, ingredient portion sizes and other aspects of kitchen operations. Other companies like Orbisk are using machine vision to better help restaurants monitor and reduce food waste, and automation-focused companies like , while others like Miso Robotics and Hyphen are creating software operations and automation to help employees become more efficient.
Bonus Prediction: Data-Driven Personalization
As more customers interact with restaurants through apps, QR codes, and other digital formats, restaurants have a better understanding of who their customers are and what they like. Although we are a few years away from the age of truly personalized menus, I expect that more and more restaurants will use all the data they collect from restaurants to create better incentive programs in order to ensure better customer return and satisfaction rates.
Be sure to tune in tomorrow to hear our five food robotics predictions for 2022.