Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

Technology and innovation have helped and in some instances saved restaurants as they changed their way of thinking about the overall guest experience. Many thrived by staying connecting and engaged with their customers with this new worldwide operating model and mindset.

By: Gary OcchiogrossoManaging Partner Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC.

As a New Yorker in the restaurant and franchise business, I’ve seen the industry go through difficult times over the last two years. From total closure to outdoor dining in the wintertime to mandated “proof of vaccination” rules imposed on citizens. Some moves made by the restaurant industry in response to the pandemic and the government orders resulted in numerous changes.

From an optimistic viewpoint, there have been innovative changes that will remain in place. The good news is we are nearing the end of the pandemic and learning to live in a mostly vaccinated society as guest are returning to restaurants in droves. One of the more forward thinking initiatives is the restaurant industry’s embrace of technology in a way that many restaurateurs had not considered or even shunned before the global pandemic. There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic forced many industries to shift to digital mode. The restaurant industry is no exception as it steered toward the use of technology by introducing digital menus and online ordering options to keep its business alive, just to name a few.

Technology and innovation have helped and in some instances saved restaurants as they changed their way of thinking about the overall guest experience. Many thrived by staying connecting and engaged with their customers with this new worldwide operating model and mindset. Everything from online orders to self-checkout, contactless payment methods, and home delivery, the restaurant industry could not afford to ignore the latest trends set in the food industry if they were to remain relevant and competitive.

Here are six tech trends in the restaurant industry borne out of the pandemic. I believe they are here to stay:

Online Ordering
Before the pandemic hit the world, many restaurants were waiting for the right time to introduce online ordering options for their customers. However, the strict lockdown forced the restaurant industry across the globe to close their cafes, QSR’s as well as dine-in services and shift to the digital medium of ordering, payment adn pick-up.

Many online platforms helped the restaurant industry to continue their business by collaborating with them. A study reveals that almost one in three Americans use online food ordering systems once a week. They introduced digital menus for the customers to check what the restaurants are offering.

Contactless Payment
Another mainstream trend in the food industry is contactless payment. It is not only about placing online orders but also about receiving payments through smartcards, smartphones, and smartwatches. Contactless payment originally gained momentum slowly with the global food industry. However, the pandemic gave it a big push to accelerate the concept industry wide.

Ready Contactless Dining
Logo for Ready Contactless Dining app with QR code and text reading Pay Here visible, at a restaurant in the Silicon Valley, San Jose, California, December 18, 2021. Photo courtesy Tech Trends. (Photo by Gado/Getty Images)GADO VIA GETTY IMAGES

It is a more hygienic and safer means of placing an order with no personal interaction and no cash handling. Moreover, it is a quick and convenient way of receiving payment from customers for the orders placed. Restaurants wishing to stay competitive in the handheld device era must design plans that create digital payment methods for a better experience.

Restaurant Reservation Software

For the full service space, automating restaurant reservation schedules, not only increases efficiency in a time of ongoing labor challenges, it also conveys an updated image to your diners. Moreover, it reduces the chances of over or double booking. Short staffed restaurant with extra busy staffers often make mistakes disrupting a great guest experience. Therefore, the reservation software reduces or eliminates the need to attend calls to reserve tables or assign employees to handle the customers.

Drone Food Delivery Systems
With the high cost of third party delivery services, restaurateurs are seeking alternatives. Drone delivery in certain parts of the country are beginning to become popular. Automating the delivery process may eventually lead to some restaurants doing away with the delivery person’s existence entirely. With the advancement of technology, drones soon may completely replace drivers to ensure contactless, timely delivery. Moreover, they can also film the surroundings and offer many avenues for marketing initatives. Having food delivered through drones would eliminate the cost of hiring delivery people and reduce the environmental effects caused by the vehicles while at the same time lessen the need for expensive third party servies.

A newer trend taking hold in the food industry is the use of website Chatbots. Restaurants can easily create chatbots. They do not require much investment and can easily integrate with different communication mediums. While interacting with customers, a chatbox may:

* recommend dishes
* suggest food
* pair drink options
* process payments
*ask for feedback
*offer promotions
*announce events
*and even crack jokes

Air purification:
To increase health security, air quality and purification enters the minds of some guests. As a result, restaurants are focusing on upgrading air purification systems to improve air quality inside their restaurants. Some restaurants opt for filter systems that trap pollutants and neutralize contaminants in the air. Although these concepts are still emerging in the restaurant industry, they are becoming an integral part of safety measure and you can expect to see more of it as we continue to learn to live with the threat of viruses. These air purification measures are in addition to customers expectations that the staff sanitize the restaurant regularly and thoroughly before serving meals.

My “Take Away”
As technology changes everything from the guest experience to the ordering process to the functionality of the kitchens, restaurants must continue to evolve, innovate and monitor consumer trends if they expect to survive and thrive. Embracing the use of technology and digital solutions as a way remain competitive is undoubtedly here today and the future of our business.

Modern Tech Can Give Restaurants An Edge

It is much more likely that franchisors, with resources already on hand, will be able to promote system-wide improvements for all franchisees in their systems.

Modern Tech Can Give Restaurant Businesses An Edge
By Jeremy Einbinder

Restaurants are continuing to use newer technologies that have the potential to optimize the experience both for the consumer and the business. Anything that improve customer experience and reduce labor costs- which is very important in a tight market- is a win-win.

Franchised Restaurants Set Themselves Apart

All of these innovations are especially important for franchised restaurants and allows them to set themselves apart from other restaurants. For entrepreneurs looking to open restaurant locations, it can be difficult to gather all the technological resources available to improve operations. It is much more likely that franchisors, with resources already on hand, will be able to promote system-wide improvements for all franchisees in their systems. These technological enhancements are wide-ranging and could set off a franchise restaurant boom.

For instance, instead of third-party delivery apps, many customers report a preference for ordering directly from the restaurant itself. It would be beneficial, if possible, for a company to have their own internal delivery app. In addition to building brand recognition, this also helps businesses avoid paying exorbitant fees.

Fred Kirvan, Founder and CEO of Kirvan Consulting, a New Jersey based restaurant optimization and consulting firm said: “At this year’s National Restaurant Show, we observed some notable improvements in tech-driven kitchen equipment aimed at providing a more consistent product to its end-user but much of the new tech seemed to be aimed at employee retention.”

Look But Don’t Touch

Payment technologies which allow for no-contact money transfer can also prove to be crucial, especially since the pandemic. In keeping with no-touch technology, it is becoming commonplace for customers to also access only menus and order without contact, allowing for a much safer environment for everybody. The cost reduction for restaurants can be substantial.

There are also tech payment options for employee payroll. Kirvan noted: “Companies offering early pay options and incentives were the noticeable standouts for me. Employee retention is key when you can consider all the software available for taking orders, you’re going to need people to prepare those orders.

Reservation applications like Eat App, Tablein, or OpenTable allow customers to see available time slots, and book their times at their convenience. In such apps, users simply view the time slots available with the number of seats needed and select one. This takes away any awkward interaction with staff of someone calling the restaurant and asking for a specific time for a reservation, only to realize it’s not available. For the business, it allows much greater flexibility in managing waitlists as well as customer loyalty.

Reducing Friction for the Front and Back of House

For streamlining customer orders, Kitchen Display Systems are very efficient, allowing both customers and kitchen staff to seamlessly log orders, instantly displaying them on screen according to priority. This also makes accommodating dietary restrictions much easier.

Radwan Masri, a 30 year veteran in the hospitality industry and a leading international culinary consultant and franchise expert with Ayy Karamba Hospitality added “The other side of food service tech driven business is FOH & BOH automation. Labor shortage in the service business combined with an increase demand for delivered food has impacted how food orders is being processed from start to end. Self-Serve ordering stations, QR codes scanning procedures. Your order nowadays through a drive through window is not the same as it used to be. i.e. I order in Chicago via a drive through window while my order is being processed by a mom sitting at home in Atlanta GA!”

This type of innovation is incredibly valuable and can easily cut down on unnecessary laborious tasks for employees. In addition, artificial intelligence technologies like Winnow reduce food waste. Using a camera, Winnow “learns” to recognize different foods being thrown away. It then calculates the financial and environmental cost of this discarded food to commercial kitchens. This in turn saves company’s money.

In Conclusion

If franchisees and independent restauranteurs expect to stay relevant and competitive they need to take advantage of these burgeoning technologies. The guest expectation has risen as a result of the pandemic and most guests will give a restaurant one, perhaps two chances to meet or exceed their exceptions. When it comes to the the overall guest experience, using these technologies gives operators a better chance to succeed.

5 Key Reasons To Franchise Your Restaurant Concept

As a Franchisor, your income is not derived from the operation of a restaurant. The Franchisor’s primary revenue source is a royalty payment made by the franchisee to the parent company. Also, this royalty is paid on top-line sales, not bottom-line profit. As a Franchisor, your role is to help franchisees increase their sales and increase the number of operating units.

5 Key Reasons To Franchise A Restaurant Concept
By Gary Occhiogrosso Managing Partner – Franchise Growth Solutions

Suppose you have a proven restaurant concept with a successful business system. Think McDonald’s, Panera Bread, Applebee’s, or Halal Guys. In that case, your next move may be to open additional locations. Franchising your restaurant and awarding others’ the rights to use your brand name, recipes, and procedures is a great way to expand. Why do restaurant owners choose to franchise their business? For the most part, it comes down to capital, time, people, and geography.

Lower Investment To Grow Your Brand

You can add additional restaurants while at the same time, you minimize your capital investment. Becoming a Franchisor and using franchising as the method to grow means other individuals (franchisees) will pay a franchise fee to gain access to your brand. Also, the franchisee will fund building the restaurant and assume the location’s financial responsibility. According to Harold Kestenbaum, a Partner with Spadea Lignana Franchise Attorneys: “Building out company units can get very expensive. Having a franchisee invest their own funds not only saves the franchisor money but allows the franchisee to have skin in the game. This is crucial for the success of a franchise system.”

Exponential Growth

Building corporate restaurants is limited to your capital, human resources, and, in many cases, geography. However, when you franchise, your brand may be growing more rapidly and in multiple markets. Once ramped up, some franchisors open as many as 20, 50, or more than 100 new restaurants a year. Michael Einbinder, founding Partner of Einbinder & Dunn, states: “Franchising restaurant concepts allows for fast growth. If you expand your brand through franchising, the investment in new outlets come from franchisees. Critically, franchising gives you an opportunity to grow in multiple markets simultaneously.”

Owners vs. Employees

In many cases, the most challenging aspect of running a restaurant is; recruiting, training, and maintaining good employees. As the Franchisor, that effort rests with the franchise owner of the individual location. Unlike owning and operating corporate locations, it’s the franchisees that have “skin in the game,” and unlike employees, they usually do a better job. Also, they can’t just quit at will because they have a vested interest in the business, usually in the form of personal cash and loan commitments. Franchisor, Charles Watson, CEO of Tropical Smoothie Cafe says: “Having franchisees who are aligned with your mission and willing to invest in their own success are critical for quality growth. You may not always have the same level of commitment from employees because their work does not impact their bottom line. Dedicated franchisees are often eager to execute the new initiatives that the franchisor rolls out systemwide to their local markets, which inevitably inspires guests to keep coming back to your concept, no matter what location is nearby. The franchisee/franchisor relationship is always evolving and is typically mutually beneficial.”

Residual, Royalty-Driven Income

As a Franchisor, your income is not derived from the operation of a restaurant. The Franchisor’s primary revenue source is a royalty payment made by the franchisee to the parent company. Also, this royalty is paid on top-line sales, not bottom-line profit. As a Franchisor, your role is to help franchisees increase their sales and increase the number of operating units. When done correctly, the Franchisor benefits, and the franchisee’s chances of higher profit through better operations and broader brand recognition are increased. The general public loves and trusts “Name Brands” and can sometimes be skeptical of the one-off mom & pop operations.

Better Selling Price At Exit

Suppose you’ve built your franchise company with reliable franchisees, a tight operating model, and strict enforcement of brand standards. In that case, the chance is a potential buyer will pay a higher price based on a multiple on your profits. All too often, non-franchised restaurant owners sell their corporate-owned restaurant chain at a price based on two or three times multiple of their bottom line profit. However, many investors, particularly private equity firms, are attracted to franchise companies whose revenue is driven by royalties.

According to Michael Einbinder: “Many franchisors build their concepts with the ultimate goal of creating value in the long term for an exit. In the last several years as private equity firms have become more involved in franchising, the trend has been that the multiples paid on franchisor EBITDA are higher than on company operations.”

Investment firms are often willing to buy based on a multiple double and sometimes triple that of an independent restaurant chain. Why? Because unlike profit earned by restaurant operations, royalty driven profit is virtually endlessly scalable. Franchisors usually have a lower operating cost with less overall risk compared to corporate-owned chain restaurant companies.

Closing Thought

Although each owner has their own reasons to franchise a business, these are the key motivators why restaurant owners franchise their concept. However, franchise companies are not without unique challenges. There are numerous other considerations, such as the cost to set up and maintain legal compliance, marketing & the cost of recruiting new franchisees, franchisee relations, and developing a unique skill set as a Franchisor. We’ll cover that other side of franchising in another article.


Gary Occhiogrosso is the Founder of Franchise Growth Solutions, which is a co-operative based franchise development and sales firm. Their “Coach, Mentor & Grow Program” focuses on helping Franchisors with their franchise development, strategic planning, advertising, selling franchises and guiding franchisors in raising growth capital. Gary started his career in franchising as a franchisee of Dunkin Donuts before launching the Ranch *1 Franchise program with it’s founders. He is the former President of TRUFOODS, LLC a multi brand franchisor and former COO of Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grille. He advises several emerging and growth brands in the franchise industry. Gary was selected as “Top 25 Fast Casual Restaurant Executive in the USA” by Fast Casual Magazine and named “Top 50 CXO’s” by SmartCEO Magazine. In addition Gary is an adjunct instructor at New York University on the topics of Restaurant Concept & Business Development as well Entrepreneurship. He has published numerous articles on the topics of Franchising, Entrepreneurship, Sales and Marketing. He was also the host of the “Small Business & Franchise Show” broadcast in New York City and the founder of Read Less

Restaurant Marketing for the Upcoming 2021 Recovery

Restaurant owners are infamous for being callous with their marketing decisions, this is partly because the research process in the restaurant industry itself can be quite tricky. Gathering insightful data within a small or slightly larger community will be tricky as it is. This is precisely where digital surveys, restaurant management software, etc play a huge role.

Business Articles | November 19, 2020

Although it may seem rather glamorous at first glance, starting a restaurant is no easy feat. In fact, the restaurant & food business, in general, is one that is extremely time-consuming, high overheads, razor-thin margins & a manager’s nightmare.

But, it is also one that is central to our society and the eating-out culture in every country is the cornerstone of its culinary heritage. This is precisely why, especially during the light of the lockdowns, restaurants, in particular, are facing a very uncertain & grim future which, if left unchecked, can turn into a disaster for the industry.

There are a few things that we as consumers can do in order to help the restaurant industry and the entire hospitality industry in general, but more than anything else, this post is aimed at a few marketing strategies that restaurants can easily adopt.

1. Understanding Their Audience

Restaurant owners are infamous for being callous with their marketing decisions, this is partly because the research process in the restaurant industry itself can be quite tricky. Gathering insightful data within a small or slightly larger community will be tricky as it is. This is precisely where digital surveys, restaurant management software, etc play a huge role.

But more than anything that a machine can do, understanding what the consumers themselves experience while at the restaurant is something priceless in itself. For this, employees & busboys must be trained to ask the right questions and keep an eye out for understanding the consumer experience.

This practice is so conspicuous in its absence that several suppliers & marketing companies for restaurants have taken birth for a study that would probably best be done by the restaurant owner himself. For Instance: folks over at FurnitureRoots, a Jodhpur based manufacturer of restaurant furniture, on several occasions has recommended styling themes depending on the clientele. For a clientele that largely comprises of the youth, industrial style furniture happens to be the best option.

You may visit FurnitureRoots at Plot No 58/2, Jodhpur-Pali Highway, Sangariya, Basni Baghelao, Jodhpur, Rajasthan. 342013

Rustic style furniture is another great option for restaurants that see customers visit with their families.

2. Adapt With The Changing Times

Most non-western countries have more or less been out of the eating out trend in the past. However, many countries have seen a drastic change in this trend. Countries like India are at the forefront of these shifts in trends.

Several cafes in India have seen a rise in environmentally friendly themes. Cognizant of this fact, Prithvi Cafe in Bombay began manifesting an eco-friendly establishment replete with cups and saucers made with disposable leaves, 4 different cans for recycling different types of materials & of course, greenery all around the place.

Naturally, Prithvi Cafe did understand its market’s shifting needs and adapted to it accordingly.

3. Spatial Strategies

These happen to be the strategies that are short term in nature (hoping the pandemic won’t be around for long).

Spatial strategies during these times are to ensure that the image of the restaurant reflects trustworthiness and safety. Although this does involve a bit of mental, time & a minor cost investment, it will forever instill a sense of trust among the local & regular customers.

Spatial strategies are the ones that aim to maximize the seating area while ensuring the social distancing norms for restaurants are maintained and are intact as well. This can also include moving to temporary outdoor seating as has been advocated by several governments across the world to curb the spread of the virus.

4. Go Digital

I bet most of you must be tired of hearing this every now and then but the fact remains that the digital landscape is no longer some sort of a novel initiative that one must undertake. It has become the staple of a business and several businesses are almost exclusively reliant on their digital strategies.

For restaurants, however, this does not mean simply enlisting themselves on food aggregating platforms. Several restaurants suffer from a lack of long term thinking, they fail to realize that the aggregating platforms own the customers and not the restaurants themselves.

Making an app or a website nowadays has become a complete breeze & it is also a sound business practice. Small wonder that Dominos, Burger KindHealth Fitness Articles, Mcdonalds have all invested heavily on their own platform to ensure loyal customers don’t have to purchase from them via a third party.

This is no less true for any other restaurant.

We hope all businesses in hospitality a speedy recovery after this dreaded misfortune of a virus.

Stay Safe!

Source: Free Articles from


Kevin is the Marketing & Content Lead at, a hospitality furniture manufacturer, supplier & wholesaler

Franchise, Restaurant, Profit
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6 Key Points To Keep Your Restaurant Profitable In A Slow Down

Look for trends in your sales—for example, busy days and hours versus slower times and days. For instance, if Tuesday afternoons are consistently slow, then consider cutting back on your hourly staff for that period…

6 Key Points To Keep Your Restaurant Profitable In A Slow Down
by Gary Occhiogrosso – Managing Partner, Franchise Growth Solutions, LLC.
Photo by Gor Davtyan on Unsplash

In good times and not so good times, operating a profitable restaurant can be a daunting task. The high cost of rent, labor, and raw ingredients, often overlooked by guests seeking a fine dining experience at fast-food prices can make value perception and profitability difficult. Nonetheless, there are a few things every operator should be aware of, especially during tough economic times. Below I have listed six tips that when put into everyday practice, not only help save money and increase sales when times are lean but serve to maximize profits in better economic times.

Be Mindful Of Your Payroll
Payroll is the one thing in your operation that you have total control over. You determine it, and no one or anything else has a hand in the result. Knowing how to manage payroll is an essential element to success in the restaurant business.
Controlling labor during a slow business period can be tricky. If your businesses’ survival is dependent upon the need to terminate personnel, then managing the schedule of your hourly employees as well as your key people in a compassionate way must be your top priority. You’ll need to delicately balance the limiting of hours among your best employees. Whenever possible, spread the cutbacks out amongst as many team members as possible. That way you can lessen the impact to any one team member.
Be mindful that if you schedule less labor than you need, your restaurant may end up giving poor guest service. That will negatively impact the guest experience as well as your Social Media reviews. On the other hand, if you over-schedule your labor as a percentage of sales, then you’ll be out of line with acceptable budgets and typically lose money.
Look for trends in your sales—for example, busy days and hours versus slower times and days. For instance, if Tuesday afternoons are consistently slow, then consider cutting back on your hourly staff for that period. If you employ a salaried manager, have that person substitute in a station position. Labor is the most critical line item on your P&L. Oversee it, adjust it each day based on projected sales. Remember, unlike food inventory, which allows you to store it (in many cases) for another day, labor, once spent, is gone forever.

Engineer Your Menu To Reflect Current Goals
Sometimes bigger isn’t better. A smaller, more focused menu is often more profitable than the “be everything to everyone approach.” During a recession or slow season, use your menu to attract new customers as well as enticing your regular customers to visit more often. Adjust your menu by offering items that have more appeal in a budget-conscious climate. Understanding what guests want, what they can afford, and what you wish to sell them is a critical piece to menu engineering.
Also, position your lower food cost items in a prominent spot on your menu. That way, you can offer your guests lower-cost menu items and still make a profit.
And although it goes without saying, don’t forget to conduct a weekly inventory. Monitoring your food cost will help you manage cash flow most efficiently and accurately.


A Revolution is Brewing


Stay In Front Of Your Customers
The saying “out of sight, out of mind” is never is more accurate than in a recession or slow period. You may not want to run your full Radio/TV or Print campaign. However, now is not the time to cut advertising to zero. Instead, increase your paid social media and your paid Google ads. Post photographs of guests in your restaurant, delicious-looking food items, and creative, fun graphics to entice and remind your guests how much they enjoy your restaurant and what you have to offer.
In addition, utilize the database you’ve collected of customer’s email addresses and mobile telephone numbers. You can use this data to send your customers special offers via email blasts and text messaging. Be proactive!

Promote Value, Not Price
During a recession or other tough times, offer your guests real value, not discounts. It is my opinion that you should never attach the price of the menu item to the item itself, for example, selling a hamburger for $1.00. Discounting your products creates a considerable problem for future sales of those items when you move them back to full price. Lowering the price of a menu item creates a product/price value perception, which may negatively impact the customer’s perception of value at a later date. Guests will connect the cost of the menu item to its overall value, now and in the future. Cutting prices for the sake of attracting customers or keeping up with a competitor is never the answer.
Instead, create reasons and additional “occasions to use” your restaurant in your guest’s mind. Then the guest will associate a discounted price with a particular promotion or event. For example, ladies’ night, or seniors day, or it could be the anniversary of the restaurant, and you’re rolling back prices, or National “whatever” Day. Whichever the case, offer real value by promoting events and Limited Time Offers (LTO’s) as a reason to create the “frequency of visit.” This method is also useful for attracting new guests or guests that haven’t visited your restaurant in a while.

Paying Attention To The Details Saves Money
Pennies add up! Keep a watchful eye on expenses. Monitor electricity and water usage, napkins, paper towels, cleaning supplies, and other items that often go unnoticed until you see the cost on your P&L. Be mindful and control those costs each day. Make your staff aware of things like shutting off lights, turning off water faucets, and how many paper towels they may be used to clean a counter. Get your team members “woke” to the idea and actual cost of everything in the restaurant.

One Final Note
Good times follow bad times, and bad times follow good times. Nothing is forever, so learn how to manage a restaurant through a rough patch you’ll be in a better position to maximize your profits when times are good.

A Revolution is Brewing