From the upcoming shift to chip-and-pin credit cards, to virtual restaurants that only do delivery, restaurant operators are becoming increasingly dependent on new technology designed to help them better compete.
Tech providers were a big presence on the NRA Show floor, showcasing everything from mobile ordering and payment systems, to point-of-sale tools and EMV technology for the chip-and-pin shift.
Here are a few highlights from the NRA Show floor of what’s new in technology:
• Delivery provider GrubHub proposed the notion of “virtual restaurants,” a delivery-only model that would eliminate the front of the house. Companies can expand their brands by allowing the concept to live on GrubHub’s marketplace, and deliveries could be made from a restaurant commissary kitchen devoted solely to the growing demand for delivery.
• OpenTable showcased its new payment app, which can be integrated with a restaurant’s NCR Aloha POS system. Currently available in only a handful of markets, the app allows guests to use their credit cards or Apple Pay to pay their bill on their own device whenever they’re ready.
• PeachWorks, formerly WhenToManage, announced the integration of its Whisk and POS Hub restaurant apps with Square Register. Operators can track their inventory usage down to the specific ingredient and sync that with daily sales through Square. Whisk also connects to the USDA database to generate nutritional data and flag for allergens.
• Oracle demonstrated its new Micros Workstation 6, a next-generation POS terminal that allows the sharing of content across a varying suite of devices, from the fixed station to a hand-held tablet.
• Paytronix Systems Inc. unveiled improvements to its mobile apps to make them easier to use. Improvements include the ability for guests to check in with a QR code or ID number, a progress bar so guests can check their rewards, a log-in for Facebook or Twitter, rewards for referring a friend, and more.
• Mozido demonstrated the mobile apps of both Dairy Queen and Dunkin’ Donuts. The myDQ app is used in Colorado, and allows customers to find restaurants, get special offers, redeem rewards and check out using a mobile wallet feature. Dunkin’s loyalty app allows guests to store a balance, create a gift card, get special offers, browse the menu and earn rewards.
• Groupon launched an app for its Breadcrumb POS system that allows restaurant operators to manage the back of the house from their iPhones.
• Eigen Development was pitching their EMV technology, compatible with several of the big POS players, and the need for restaurant operators to upgrade their POS systems to accommodate the chip-and-pin credit cards that will be in play starting in October. Eigen is based in Canada, where chip-and-pin cards have been in place for several years.
• Diner’s Dream offers an app that seeks to enhance the restaurant experience. Guests can use their smartphones to call their server, or ask not to be interrupted if they’re in a meeting. The cloud-based system can be integrated with an existing POS.
• Evocalize, another startup, is a marketing platform that helps restaurants create ads using comments from happy customers across social media channels. They collect the stories so a restaurant can own the content.
• Bluenica Corp. introduced its Honeycomb wireless temperature-control system that manages data and allows restaurant operators to keep track via smartphone of anything sensitive to temperature, from the walk-in fridge to the lobster tank.
This story has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: May 22, 2015 This story has been updated to include the specific POS system that works with OpenTable's new payment app.