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IMG_8984.jpg Joanna Fantozzi
Robotic arms on display at the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show.

Technology trends we’ll be on the lookout for at the National Restaurant Association Show

What restaurant operators can expect to learn from the technology booths this year

With every passing year, technology comprises a larger proportion of the vendors and displays at the National Restaurant Association Show. The 2024 show will be no exception: with the rise of generative AI and data-driven front- and-back-of-house solutions, technology fuels almost every decision that an operator makes.

We predict that the tech pavilion at the 2024 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago will showcase just how much technology has evolved beyond the purview of the CTO/CDO office. Here’s another key observation: While the sushi-making robots and automated bartenders will likely be the flashiest demonstrations in the tech pavilion, behind-the-scenes software will provide the most useful tools for operators in search of solutions for labor challenges, traffic issues, and pricing conundrums.  

This is what we’re looking forward to seeing at the National Restaurant Association Show this week:

Technology touching all aspects of operations

Tech will show up in some surprising places this year at The Show. From a recipe automation tool to a food safety monitor solution, technology on display this year at the National Restaurant Association Show will showcase how and why tech is no longer a category or section of The Show, but can be seen in every aisle, and for every operational need.

Data as king

 While data analytics tools and digital marketing platforms may not be as visual as some of hardware of National Restaurant Association Shows in the past, one topic we know will be buzzed about on the show floor is data. Data collection has become the backbone of restaurants of all sizes, and operators have infinite options to choose as their primary vehicles for knowledge about their customers and businesses — from loyalty programs to POS systems.

From food lockers with labor optimization insights, to back of house data organization solutions for accounting and inventory, and vendors that offer food delivery intelligence, data solutions will be on display at more than 60 Show booths.   

Green technology

Another prediction we have for the National Restaurant Association Show tech trends is the intersection of sustainability with technology. Both hardware and software will be showcased as tools in the fight for a greener restaurant industry (and healthier planet), from a green-friendly automated fryer to a robot chef that makes plant-based steak.   

Robots try again

While robotics are nothing new at the Show, we look forward to seeing the next generation of robot chefs, bartenders, fry cooks, servers, and more. During past shows, operators have commented that many robotic employees are too expensive or unwieldy to be useful in an operational setting, particularly for smaller concepts. It will be interesting to see if any of this feedback has been taken to heart as operators continue to look for solutions for labor shortages.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]m

TAGS: Operations
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