We get asked all the time about predicting the future and specifically the direction the food service technology and innovation industry is going.
The question is so common, we’ve made predicting the future a permanent segment in our Hospitality Hangout podcast where we ask guests to put on their “Kreskin & Miss Cleo” hat and predict the future (2 years out) with respect to dining and technology. Given this is the first Branded Insights of 2022, let’s give the people what they want and share a few of our predictions for the upcoming year as it relates to Hospitality Technology.
Hybrid Hospitality will become a “thing” as restaurant operators and retailers work together to expand profits:
The industry will not make its money on in-store dining alone and breaking the four walls of the venue will continue to gain traction and we’ll see mixed-use for the brick & mortar venues. Both restaurants and retailers pay rent 24 / 7, so they’re now going to expand the windows and opportunities to work together to monetize their spaces through partnerships, virtual/shared kitchens, sharing “grocery” options and more.
The existing antiquated supply-chain model will be addressed:
The disruption in the supply-chain highlighted its fragility. There’s a meaningful and renewed focus on procurement and the game will change. This will include arming the smaller folks (which represents just about 50% of the restaurants in this country) with better tools and access to purchasing and also move towards supporting local farmers and suppliers.
- Branded Partner Company, Simple, has created a most meaningful platform to bring buyers and seller together on the first digital platform designed exclusively for the food & beverage industry. The rising costs of goods and the spike in inflation will put a BIG focus on the efficiencies of menus and recipes. Menus are going to get smaller and recipes are going to embrace ingredients that can be utilized across menu items. Add to this the focus on the reduction in the carbon footprint for climate change and this means the importance of the chef ordering efficiently will get far more attention.
- This leads us to another one of our partner companies, Meez, a company creating professional recipe software and a culinary operating system, is poised for a tremendous growth as they to continue developing their tools to help chefs manage their recipes. We’re not ready to call 2022 the “Year of the Chef”, but the importance of a recipe tool for chefs to help transform culinary content into an interactive database can’t be understated!
The importance of delivery & takeout is not over or complete, it’s just about to go more local:
Restaurant operators will work more closely together in order to retain as much of the revenue as possible. That means white-label and native delivery will gain traction in 2022 as operators need to have more control over their delivery structure. Branded partners picking up (pun intended) in this sector include:
- GoParrot, an all-in-one digital customer engagement and premium digital ordering platform for restaurants.
- Minnow Pod, a best-in-class deliver pod that streamlines delivery & pick-up to workplaces, hotels, multifamily properties and stadiums & arenas.
- Curbit, a platform that optimizes for food freshness and guest wait times will bring a much-needed efficiency tool to operators and improve the guest experience. Shorter wait times and communicating with customers?!? Yes, we think guests will like that.
Sustainability is NOT a fad:
The importance of sustainability is not something Branded debates, but how to leverage the tools available to the food service industry is something we’re constantly on the lookout for. With consumers expressing their view towards environmentally conscious companies with their wallets, expect the food service industry to continue to explore doing its part and embracing the right tools, resources and practices that create increasingly sustainable products, reduce the usage of resources and improve recycling efficiency. And two of Branded’s partner companies are doing just that.
- Dispatch Goods has created a better packaging company that makes it easy for restaurants, caterers and meal delivery service providers to leverage reusable packaging.
- Copia’s technology allows businesses to safely donate their excess food, access enhanced tax deductions, and receive powerful data to inform food purchasing decisions.
Ghost Kitchens are here to stay:
Ghost kitchens are expected to increase order volume by 185%, with key regions including UK, US and India. We are here to say that they WILL outlast the pandemic (just like outdoor dining in sheds and parking spots along the streets of NYC will also outlast the pandemic). Why? Consumers are loving the variety of ordering options that come with virtual kitchens and no one more so that the millennials. For all those baby boomers out there, you may have more disposable income, but millennials – at 22% of the US population – constitute the largest percentage of the consumer market.
The power of personalization:
The food service industry is going to embrace KYC (Know Your Customer) with such conviction, that it will have the SEC consider re-writing its own KYC rules to raise the bar in order to keep-up. With social media and other forms of data gathering, privacy is dead, and the hospitality industry is going to know more about your culinary preferences than your spouse. And here’s the really scary part, you’re going to appreciate it! Digital marketing will be more targeted, the joints you visit and order from will know what to recommend and what not to recommend. The personalization of the food service will reach new heights in 2022 and some of Branded’s favorite Partner Companies are not only in the right place, at the right time, but they’re helping to make this all a very positive thing for both operators and guests.
- Targetable generates Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns that find you customers by showing the right ad to the right audience at the right time. Simply put, Targetable is making digital marketing as simple as hailing a car on Uber.
- Ovation is a customer experience and engagement platform for brick and mortar businesses that prodvides actionable guest feedback that actually drives revenue.
- Spendgo gives businesses the omnichannel marketing tools to successfully engage, retain, and incentivize customers while seamlessly implementing with any POS system & Online platform.
- Lucky Diem is an innovative, performance-based advertising platform solution that drives new customer acquisition with zero upfront cost and enables 100% online-to-offline attribution. The platform analyzes the purchase history of over 120 million debit and credit card users to help marketers identify, reach and influence likely buyers at scale.
Self-serve solving problems:
The labor shortage has put a spotlight on automation and robotics. Branded very much agrees with that view, but this is NOT an inexpensive path and with the industry under so much margin pressure (and survival pressures), don’t expect to see robotic cooks, waiters or delivery solutions in your neighborhood too fast. Branded does believe the self-pour revolution will emerge in 2022 as the software and hardware are both available, the capital expenditure is modest and the opportunity to not only save on labor, but to give the guest an experience they want is wonderfully aligned! Wait?!? Operators can save on labor, reduce waste & theft, sell more beverages and create a valuable guest experience. Still need your arm twisted? Branded’s partner PourMyBeverage will have you converted in no time.
So there you have it, a few predictions for 2022 and a few of Branded’s Partner Companies thrown into the mix.
At Branded, we subscribe to the theory that it takes a village. If you’re interested in exploring investment opportunities with Branded, please contact us directly.