At this year’s National Restaurant Association Show, held in Chicago at the end of May, a prevailing sense of optimism among restaurant owners and operators regarding the future of the industry as it continues to move forward from the global pandemic was unmistakable. At the same time, the event, which brought together over 60,000 buyers, suppliers, manufacturers, and industry professionals from around the world, highlighted the challenges a vast number of restaurants face in today’s economic environment.
A primary focus of the show was labor issues, which are all too familiar to most restaurant operators. The industry is currently grappling with major challenges such as high quit rates and recruitment difficulties, which have disrupted operations and resulted in financial losses. The churn rate remains double the national average, with over three-quarters of restaurant locations currently understaffed and struggling to hire suitable employees. With short-staffed kitchens and stretched servers covering large sections, maintaining service excellence becomes an even more daunting task.
In addition to labor challenges, disruptions in the supply chain and high levels of inflation have further compounded the difficulties. Rising ingredient costs have necessitated adjustments in prices and menu offerings. Many restaurant-goers have reduced their dining-out frequency due to these circumstances, exacerbating the challenges faced by restaurant operators.
Yet, amidst these challenges, there is plenty of good news, as The National Restaurant Association Show made clear, much of which relates to the evolution and adoption of advanced restaurant technologies, from self-service kiosks to food preparation and delivery robots. The landscape of restaurant management and point of sale (POS) systems, in particular, has witnessed remarkable advancements in terms of platform capabilities, now offering a wide range of integrated features and functionalities that not only address many of the industry’s current challenges but also equip operators with the tools they need to navigate future uncertainties.
A next-generation system empowers restaurants to streamline their operations, enhance the quality of the customer experience, and boost profitability. In fact, according to market research conducted by Starfleet Research, 86 percent of full-service restaurants, and 73 percent of quick service and fast casual restaurants, achieved “significant” or “dramatic” improvement in revenue performance after deploying a next-generation restaurant management and POS system. By embracing the power of next-generation technology, restaurant owners and operators are positioned to overcome present hurdles and future-proof their businesses, paving the way for increased growth, efficiency, and profitability.