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10 Most-Read Restaurant Tech Stories Of 2020

As 2020 winds down, HT takes a look at the most-read restaurant stories on during one of the most challenging years in recent memory for hospitality businesses. COVID-19 dominated the headlines and HT was no exception. Restaurant operators are looking for solutions; the most read stories included case studies on how restaurants were pivoting, communicating with customers where they are, the path forward and of course new tech solutions designed for the times. 

10)  Infographic: What’s Next for Restaurants? Tech Can Help
What restaurant doesn’t want to know what’s next? This infographic includes 5-steps operators can take now to adapt the dine-in guest experience and earn customers’ trust — and changes to make long-term for the new normal. No wonder this insightful infographic was on the list of the most read stories of the year. Read on! 

9)  Contactless Transactions Are Having Their Moment
This article explores options for contactless payments, mobile capability, new opportunities for data collection and loyalty, and some of the major suppliers whose services are transforming guest experiences. This article is a must-read for restaurant technologists!

8)  McDonalds Details COVID-19 Impact
If you’re a reader of Restaurant Technology Network (RTN’s) blog, What’s Cooking, you know stories about the global QSR and its tech initiatives are frequently on HT's most-read restaurant stories list. This year was no exception. In April McDonald's detailed its COVID-19 impact and response. More recently in November, the Golden Arches revealed it continues to see sustained demand for drive-thru and will test new drive-thru tech to make the CX even faster. Consumer demand for off-prem has spurred QSR and fast casual brands to revisit their store development plans, adding drive-thrus and contactless pickup options to their new designs.

7)  Restaurant Technology Study 2020: Delivering on Expectations
Now in its 22nd year, HT’s Restaurant Technology Study is the bellwether for the restaurant technology industry. This year, restaurants have been embracing technology at a rapid pace to maximize efficiencies and ramp up off-premises operations. HT’s research, conducted in Q4 2019, revealed many IT investments in 2020 will seek to deliver on strategic goals by powering up and streamlining the path to purchase and will put a hyper-focus on practical innovation and costs. This report, when paired with the recently published 2020 Customer Engagement Technology Study, (conducted in Q3 2020 and published in December 2020) illustrates a path forward for restaurants and their tech plans.

6)  The New Marketing Communications Playbook During COVID-19
Building and maintaining trust with your customers is essential these days. By adapting communication and marketing messages across channels, brands can optimize customer engagement and work to retain customers during these unprecedented times. But how? You’re in luck. This article details a series of tactics brands can use to guide their current marketing and loyalty strategies.

5)  7 Ideas for Social Media Content During COVID-19
Good advice for hospitality businesses of all sizes, this article details seven doable tips to power up your social media in an appropriate way for the times, bringing your distinct hospitality brand into customers’ homes, hearts and minds during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on!

4)  QR Codes: One Solution to the Post-COVID-19 Dine-In Problem
2020 is the year of the QR Code Comeback. In April, HT interviewed Professor Cihan Cobanoglu of the University of South Florida, Director of the M3 Center, and a Research Advisory Board member for Hospitality Technology magazine. He discusses the roles QR codes could play in hospitality, specifically the dine-in experience as consumers are more self-conscious about where they dine and what they touch. Read the full article here.

3)  AWS Restaurant Transformation Front To Back
This interactive graphic attracted quite a few eyeballs. And for good reason: a lot of restaurants are thinking about reinvention, and how to best leverage their existing resources to remain viable and where to invest to get the biggest bang for the buck. This interactive infographic details change in: POS, dining areas, kitchen and corporate office. For example, in the kitchen, using IoT to monitor temperatures to ensure food safety and cut down on waste. A win-win! There’s a lot to unpack in this creative infographic. Check it out here.

2)  Restaurant Technology in the Post-COVID-19 World
It goes without saying that we are in uncharted territory. Restaurants that recognize we are emerging into a different operational and technology landscape will rebound and thrive in the new world of personal safety and social behavior. Payment tech, employee safety, checklists, cleaning, paper menus and more have been forever changed. There was so much to unpack in this article by Toby Malbec, Managing Director of ConStrata Technology Consulting, and a member of HT’s MURTEC advisory board, we divided it into two parts. A must-read for restaurants looking to update their technology can be found here

1)  Restaurant Business Model Changes in a Post COVID-19 World
The most-read story on HT is the second part of Toby Malbec’s article that takes a look at the alarm bells raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers are concerned not just about restaurant employee personal hygiene and cleanliness standards, but those of our merchants, and their merchants, and their merchants. This article is a must-read for restaurants looking to thrive post-pandemic.

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