25 March 2024

The Future of Dining

0 min read
The Future of Dining
Oriana CiriloWritten ByOriana Cirilo

Oriana Cirilo is our Head of Marketing. Driving growth and raising awareness of our brilliant work, Propeller is her number one priority.

What dining will look like in 2030 and how your hospitality business can prepare…

Picture this. The year is 2030, and you find yourself heading out to dinner with a few friends. You’ve booked your go-to restaurant. As you arrive, you’re greeted not by a hostess, but by an electronic kiosk that recognises you instantly and greets you by name with a warm welcome. It then directs you to your designated table, where you find a personalised menu waiting for you. 

Your favourite dishes are highlighted, along with some enticing recommendations based on your past dining preferences — you can even choose to order exactly what you had last time, down to the perfect wine pairing that you thoroughly enjoyed. 

You glance over at the kitchen and see robotic chefs working seamlessly alongside human chefs to prepare your dinner. 

As tech advances continue reshaping the way we experience food service, this could be sooner than we expect. From AI-powered kitchen appliances to immersive dining experiences, the future of dining is filled with innovation. 

Read on as we delve into some of the most promising emerging technologies and innovations that are revolutionising the way we dine.

1. Robotics in the Kitchen

While we’re not suggesting robots are going to be running the show, there is a huge opportunity for hospitality businesses to drive efficiencies and deliver better experiences. 

Recent research indicates that the robotics market size is estimated at $45.85 billion in 2024, and is expected to reach $95.93 billion by 2029, growing at a CAGR of 15.91%. 

Amidst the ongoing challenge of labour shortages across the hospitality sector, technology solutions present a compelling solution. By leveraging robotics, businesses can significantly reduce their dependence on human resources without compromising on quality or customer satisfaction. This not only addresses staffing concerns but also allows for greater flexibility and scalability in managing peak periods and fluctuating demand.

Imagine stepping into a restaurant kitchen where robotic chefs work seamlessly alongside human counterparts, ensuring precision and efficiency in food preparation. Robotics technology is transforming the culinary world by automating repetitive tasks, such as chopping vegetables, flipping burgers, and even assembling complex dishes (have you seen Flippy in action?).

However, the true beauty of robotics lies not in their ability to replace human creativity, but in their capacity to enhance it. By alleviating chefs of mundane chores, it frees up valuable time and mental bandwidth for innovation and experimentation. Chefs can channel their energy into refining flavours, experimenting with new techniques, and crafting dishes that customers will rave about. 

A recent study found that “73% of diners agree that restaurant technology improves their guest experience.” 

In essence, robotics technology represents more than just a means of streamlining kitchen operations – it’s a catalyst for the future of the dining experience. By harnessing the power of automation, hospitality businesses can elevate the dining experience delighting customers and redefining the art of eating out in the process. 

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

It’s hard to read anything these days that doesn’t have the word AI in it — so of course, we have to mention it. 

There are lots of opportunities in this space for hospitality businesses. Chains including Panera and Popeye’s have started testing AI to take drive-through orders and the results are pretty impressive so far. Speed of service has increased by 20% and order accuracy is at nearly 100%.

Not only can it assist in the speed of service and accuracy, but there is also a huge play in personalisation. In an era of data-driven insights, AI is playing a pivotal role in personalising the dining experience for customers. 

Through sophisticated algorithms and machine learning, restaurants can analyse customer preferences, dietary restrictions, and past ordering behaviour to tailor menu recommendations and promotions. 

But AI-powered personalisation extends beyond just menu recommendations – it encompasses the entire dining journey. From personalised promotions and discounts based on past spending habits to customised meals tailored to specific dietary needs, the possibilities are limitless.

Take Starbucks, through its mobile app and rewards program, it uses AI algorithms to analyse customer preferences, purchase history, and location data to offer personalised recommendations and promotions. For example, the app can suggest customised drink options based on the time of day, weather conditions, and past ordering behaviour. 

Starbucks’ personalised marketing efforts have resulted in increased customer engagement, higher sales, and greater brand loyalty, demonstrating the power of AI in driving customer satisfaction and retention in the hospitality industry.

3. Virtual Reality Dining Experiences

Virtual reality (VR) technology is transcending the boundaries of traditional dining by offering immersive culinary experiences that stimulate the senses. 

Imagine donning a VR headset and embarking on a virtual journey to exotic destinations, where you can savour authentic local cuisines and interact with virtual chefs in real time. 

VR dining experiences not only provide a novel form of entertainment but also offer restaurants an innovative way to showcase their culinary prowess and transport diners to new culinary worlds.

Sublimotion, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Ibiza, offers a unique dining experience combining gourmet cuisine and virtual reality technology. Guests are immersed in a multisensory journey where they can interact with virtual environments, characters, and narratives while enjoying a curated tasting menu. From dining in outer space to exploring underwater worlds, Sublimotion transports diners to fantastical realms that defy imagination. The restaurant’s innovative use of virtual reality has garnered international acclaim, attracting discerning diners seeking unforgettable culinary experiences and pushing the boundaries of gastronomy.

4. Contactless Ordering and Payment Systems

Since the never-to-be-mentioned again P word, contactless ordering and payment systems have become increasingly prevalent in the dining industry. 

From mobile apps to QR code menus, restaurants have adopted digital solutions to streamline the ordering process and minimise physical contact between staff and customers. Not only does this enhance safety and hygiene protocols, but it also offers convenience and efficiency for diners, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Shake Shack has embraced contactless ordering and payment systems to enhance the customer experience and adapt to changing consumer preferences. Through its mobile app and self-service kiosks, Shake Shack allows customers to place their orders, customise their meals, and pay digitally without the need for physical interaction. This not only improves operational efficiency and reduces wait times but also provides customers with a convenient and seamless dining experience. Shake Shack’s successful implementation of contactless technology has contributed to its continued growth and success in the highly competitive fast-food industry.

To read more on kiosk innovation follow this link. 

So what does this all mean for hospitality brands? Below is some practical advice and actionable tips for hospitality businesses on how they can prepare for the future of dining:

  • Embrace Emerging Technologies:

Stay on top of the latest tech innovations in the hospitality industry, such as robotics, AI, virtual reality, and contactless ordering/payment systems. Assess how these technologies can enhance your operations, improve customer experiences, and drive efficiency.

  • Invest in Staff Training and Development:

Provide ongoing training and development opportunities for your staff to equip them with the skills and knowledge needed to adapt to new technologies and evolving customer preferences. Encourage a culture of innovation and continuous learning within your organisation, and keep highlighting the different ways technology can help them with their job. 

  • Personalise the Customer Experience

Leverage data analytics and AI-powered personalisation tools to tailor the dining experience to individual customer preferences and behaviours. Collect customer feedback and insights to refine your offerings and provide personalised recommendations, promotions, and services.

  • Optimise Digital Marketing Strategies

Develop robust digital marketing strategies to promote your technological innovations and attract customers. Utilise social media, email marketing, influencer partnerships, and targeted advertising campaigns to engage with your audience and showcase your unique selling points.

  • Collaborate with Technology Partners

Partner with technology vendors, agencies, and industry experts to co-create innovative solutions tailored to the needs of your business and customers. Collaborate with tech companies to pilot new technologies, conduct beta tests, and gather feedback from early adopters.

  • Continuously Evaluate and Iterate:

Continuously evaluate the effectiveness of your technological initiatives and customer experiences through data analysis, customer feedback, and performance metrics. Iterate and refine your strategies based on insights from real-world feedback.

In Summary...

The future of dining will be driven by innovation, emerging technologies and a commitment to enhancing the overall dining experience. From robotic chefs and AI-powered personalisation to virtual reality dining experiences and electronic kiosks, the possibilities are endless. As restaurants embrace these advancements, they have the opportunity to redefine the way we dine, offering unparalleled experiences that delight and inspire customers. 

As a digital marketing agency specialising in the hospitality industry, we’re excited to partner with restaurants and food service businesses to navigate this exciting journey into the future of dining. By leveraging cutting-edge technologies and innovative strategies, we can help our clients stay ahead of the curve and create unforgettable dining experiences that leave a lasting impression on their customers. 


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