Technology


  • Two women putting an order for food through a kiosk
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    Don Wu via Getty Images
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    Grubbrr CEO: Automation could make restaurants a high-wage, high-productivity business

    Kiosks may not be a silver bullet for labor troubles — they seem better suited to boost check sizes — but they may be part of a gradual transformation of restaurant work, Sam Zietz said. 

    By May 21, 2024
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    Dejan_Dundjerski via Getty Images
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    Q&A

    Ask an expert: What structural problems killed the ghost kitchen?

    Despite failed pioneers and industry consolidation, the ghost kitchen model could rise again as shifting real estate market conditions make them more attractive, says Alon Lagstein, counsel at Carlton Fields.

    By May 17, 2024
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    Wavebreakmedia via Getty Images
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    Trendline

    Back-of-house Technology

    From voice AI at the drive-thru to robot-powered makelines, restaurants are investing in technology solutions to optimize kitchen operations and reduce employee turnover. 

    By Restaurant Dive staff
  • A restaurant employee using RFID to scan a box with a barcode.
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    Permission granted by Chipotle
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    Deep Dive

    Chipotle leverages RFID technology, increases overall visibility

    Executive Carlos Londono spoke about the company’s operations and its efforts to bring the technology to all of its 3,500 restaurants.

    By Alejandra Salgado • May 15, 2024
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    Courtesy of Dutch Bros
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    Dutch Bros expands mobile order test

    After seeing strong results from its initial pilot, the chain has expanded the channel to several more Arizona locations and expects to offer the function at most stores by the end of the year. 

    By May 8, 2024
  • Two female Portillo's employees wearing yellow vests and serving customers at the drive-thru
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    Courtesy of Portillo's
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    Portillo’s four-pronged strategy emphasizes drive-thru speed

    The chain is working to improve staff deployment and food throughput as part of an overhaul plan, as drive-thru speeds lag 2019 numbers. 

    By May 8, 2024
  • A view of a Wendy's restaurant on May 12, 2021 in Pinole, California.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Wendy’s credits loyalty program, mobile app investments for customer growth

    “The experience we deliver to our customers is the most impactful driver of our business,” CEO Kirk Tanner said.

    By Bryan Wassel • May 7, 2024
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    Permission granted by Presto Automation Inc.
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    Presto tests voice AI tech that doesn’t require human intervention

    The company is “in the process of conducting a live test” of an autonomous version of its voice AI product, months after revealing humans intervene 70% of the time it’s used. 

    By May 7, 2024
  • An image of two phones showcasing Instacart's new restaurant delivery feature.
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    Courtesy of Uber Eats/Instacart
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    Instacart adds restaurant delivery with Uber Eats

    Over the next few weeks, Instacart will add a restaurant tab powered by Uber Eats to its app, giving Uber access to potentially millions of new customers.

    By May 7, 2024
  • El Pollo Loco's first LA Mex restaurants, which emphasize off-premise, opened in 2021.
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    Courtesy of El Pollo Loco
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    El Pollo Loco’s new CEO unveils 5-part operations overhaul

    From digital investments to incentivizing franchisees to bolster growth, Liz Williams laid out a path she expects will drive sales while decreasing costs.

    By May 6, 2024
  • A cashier making an order on a Square kiosk.
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    Permission granted by Square
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    Sponsored by Square

    The top restaurant trends in 2024

    Restaurant owners crave tools that provide better insights that they can use to connect with their customers, integrate with other solutions, and receive real-time information about the health of their business.

    By Natalie Zunker • May 6, 2024
  • An exterior image of a Shake Shack restaurant
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    Brandon Bell via Getty Images
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    Shake Shack’s kiosks are now its largest ordering channel

    The chain added upselling options to its kiosks and made the channel’s customization experience more similar to online ordering.

    By May 2, 2024
  • Two women putting an order for food through a kiosk
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    Don Wu via Getty Images
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    Yum’s digital sales mix tops 50% systemwide

    Following several quarters of kiosk and e-commerce deployment, digital is on track to generate $30 billion in annualized sales. 

    By May 1, 2024
  • A picture of an IHOP server taking an order using a tablet.
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    Courtesy of IHOP
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    IHOP’s POS migration is boosting speed, check totals

    The diner chain has nearly completed a two-year migration of 1,500 restaurants to Tray’s platform, which integrates with handheld server tablets to trim order and pay times at tables. 

    By April 30, 2024
  • A bank of windows below a red sign that says "Chipotle." A man stands in the background inside the restaurant.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Chipotle makes order fulfillment, not fancier tech, its top CX focus

    Faster order speed is “one of those things that cascades into everything being a lot better,” CEO Brian Niccol said.

    By Bryan Wassel • April 25, 2024
  • A photograph of packaging and menu items for IHOP/Virtual Dining Concepts' new NASCAR themed brand
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    Courtesy of Virtual Dining Concepts
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    IHOP adds 2 new Virtual Dining Concept brands, expands another

    IHOP is focusing on virtual brands as a solution to traffic problems in non-peak dayparts and thinks two sports-themed brands could lift sales.

    By April 25, 2024
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    Permission granted by Zipline
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    Flynn Group, Zipline to deliver Panera Bread orders via drone

    Deliveries are expected to begin next year and will be available from select Panera units in the Greater Seattle area. 

    By April 19, 2024
  • A box of St. Patrick's Day themed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
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    Courtesy of Krispy Kreme
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    Krispy Kreme switching to points-based loyalty scheme

    Loyalty members will earn 10 points for every dollar spent starting April 23 as the chain shifts away from a consistent 8.3% discount rate on rewards.

    By April 17, 2024
  • Kiosks with biometric cameras at Steak n Shake
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    Steak ‘n Shake installs facial recognition at self-ordering kiosks

    The chain, which completed its move from full-service to self-service last year, first tested PopID’s technology in October and began deploying it in January.

    By April 16, 2024
  • Wow Bao's Dim Sum Palace virtual restaurant on Roblox
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    Wow Bao links restaurant rewards to Roblox in platform-first integration

    Metaverse hype may have dissipated, but brands remain interested in leveraging games like Roblox to connect with Gen Z and Gen Alpha.

    By Peter Adams • April 11, 2024
  • An image of a woman ordering at a drive-thru speaker box.
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    MartinPrescott via Getty Images
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    4 ways restaurants can add AI to their operations

    The technology can help employees improve customer satisfaction, cook food to a brand’s standards and accurately refill inventory, executives say. 

    By Danielle McLean • April 11, 2024
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    Patpitchaya via Getty Images
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    Dynamic pricing firm Juicer snags $5.3M in funding

    Restaurant pricing tools may help operators boost sales in lagging dayparts, but consumer sensitivity about these applications is still powerful.

    By April 10, 2024
  • Re-Up
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    Retrieved from Re-Up.
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    Florida c-store chain to test kitchen robots

    Re-Up convenience stores is planning to use AI-driven machines to help fry its food, brew its coffee and squeeze fresh juice.

    By Brett Dworski • April 5, 2024
  • Screen shots of Uber Eats app with Waymo delivery
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    Permission granted by Uber Eats
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    Uber Eats partners with Waymo for autonomous delivery in Phoenix

    Uber Eats has been expanding its network of autonomous delivery partners since 2022 and works with Motional, Nuro, Cartken and Serve Robotics. 

    By April 3, 2024
  • The Florida state capitol building, a white building with Roman columns.
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    DenisTangneyJr via Getty Images
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    DeSantis signs Florida delivery bill pre-empting local delivery regulations

    The law, backed by Uber and DoorDash, requires delivery firms to delist restaurants that request to be removed and will prevent local governments from passing regulations impacting third-party delivery.

    By April 3, 2024
  • Large squares containing "ASAP" and "Pick Up Orders"
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    Permission granted by Waitr Holdings
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    ASAP goes bust

    ASAP, once known as Waitr, ceased its operations over the last few weeks and let go of its executives, prior to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

    By Updated April 2, 2024