As the digital era fuels major industry shifts and changes consumer experiences, the way restaurants operate and serve their customers could transform too. And with next-gen networks spurring even more innovation, restaurants may be rethinking how to engage—and feed—their patrons.
In the not-so-distant future, hungry customers pulling up to drive-thrus may be able to access interactive experiences and augmented reality (AR)-driven content on their smartphones before ordering. Immersive menus and customized displays are merely possibilities today, but could be a regular aspect of restaurant-going in the future.
According to industry expert Aaron Allen, founder and chief strategist at global restaurant consultancy Aaron Allen & Associates, that transformation is already underway. He predicts that the food industry is on the precipice of yet another technology-driven industrial revolution. “The fifth [industrial revolution] is going to happen faster than any of the previous ones,” he says.
And one of the main drivers behind this imminent transformation is the high speed and low latency offered by the next generation of mobile networks.
“We’re going to see IoT, automation, and analytics in a completely different way,” he says. “Restaurants will also leverage robotics, facial recognition, and biometrics, which will have an impact on labor management, inventory management, voice ordering, and many other restaurant and food services use cases.” That list continues with potential advancements like restaurants using 3D printing, conducting remote repairs, and more.