Technology


  • A jet pilot crashes into a restaurant as part of a Carl's Jr campaign
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    Courtesy of Carl's Jr
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    How Carl’s Jr. is driving in-store visits with AI-fueled CTV advertising

    The QSR paired contextual targeting data with IRIS.TV’s private marketplace to engage young men with shared interests like anime and gaming.

    By Aaron Baar • June 21, 2024
  • Voice recognition with smart phone
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    metamorworks via Getty Images
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    SoundHound AI acquires ordering platform Allset

    Allset, a platform designed specifically for pickup orders, will help SoundHound speed up its goal of developing a multi-channel, voice-ordering system.

    By June 20, 2024
  • A man and a woman dressed as a chef look at a tablet. Explore the Trendline
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    Wavebreakmedia via Getty Images
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    Trendline

    Back-of-house Technology

    From voice AI at the drive-thru to robot-powered makelines, restaurants are investing in technology solutions to optimize kitchen operations and reduce employee turnover. 

    By Restaurant Dive staff
  • An image of a sign post with yellow print that says drive-thru
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    Joe Raedle via Getty Images
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    McDonald’s ends IBM drive-thru voice order test

    The fast food chain still sees a future for automated order taking at the drive-thru and expects to make a decision about the tech by year’s end.

    By June 17, 2024
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    Courtesy of CKE
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    CKE appoints Papa Johns vet as chief technology and growth officer

    Justin Falciola will oversee information technology, digital strategy and operations and help deploy new technologies as the company invests in digital channels. 

    By June 12, 2024
  • A couple look at cupcakes displayed in a case. A man is pointing at one of the cupcakes.
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    doble-d via Getty Images
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    Restaurant openings up 6%, but momentum slowing

    Sweets and snack concepts had the most openings with new dessert stores up 52%, followed by shaved ice outlets up 22%, according to a Yelp report. 

    By June 5, 2024
  • A customer pays using a Clover device
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    Permission granted by Fiserv
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    ‘They feel like they got tricked’: How tipping requests can hurt customer relationships

    Consumers are being asked to tip more often and for more services than they were in the past. It’s leaving them with a bad taste in their mouths.

    By Lisa Scherzer • June 3, 2024
  • A drive-thru menu board with a speaker box at Taco John's
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    Courtesy of Presto Automation
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    Taco John’s rolls out drive-thru AI test with Presto

    Following the completion of a pilot phase, the Mexican chain will expand the technology to franchised locations later this year. 

    By June 3, 2024
  • A smartphone with Amazon screenshot of its Gruhbub platform.
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    Courtesy of Amazon/Grubhub
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    Amazon adds Grubhub restaurant delivery to platform

    Prime subscribers will have access to an ongoing Grubhub+ membership, too.

    By May 30, 2024
  • Three smart phone screens with CosMc's branding
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    Permission granted by CosMc's
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    CosMc’s launches loyalty app

    The McDonald’s spinoff launched an app despite having only four locations, in a possible show of the burger giant's confidence in its new brand.

    By May 28, 2024
  • Two women putting an order for food through a kiosk
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    Don Wu via Getty Images
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    Grubbrr CEO: Automation could make restaurants a high-wage, high-productivity business

    Kiosks may not be a silver bullet for labor troubles — they seem better suited to boost check sizes — but they may be part of a gradual transformation of restaurant work, Sam Zietz said. 

    By May 21, 2024
  • An image of a woman preparing bags for takeout in a restaurant
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    Dejan_Dundjerski via Getty Images
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    Q&A

    Ask an expert: What structural problems killed the ghost kitchen?

    Despite failed pioneers and industry consolidation, the ghost kitchen model could rise again as shifting real estate market conditions make them more attractive, says Alon Lagstein, counsel at Carlton Fields.

    By May 17, 2024
  • A restaurant employee using RFID to scan a box with a barcode.
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    Permission granted by Chipotle
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    Deep Dive

    Chipotle leverages RFID technology, increases overall visibility

    Executive Carlos Londono spoke about the company’s operations and its efforts to bring the technology to all of its 3,500 restaurants.

    By Alejandra Salgado • May 15, 2024
  • A zoomed in image of Dutch Bros building signage
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    Courtesy of Dutch Bros
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    Dutch Bros expands mobile order test

    After seeing strong results from its initial pilot, the chain has expanded the channel to several more Arizona locations and expects to offer the function at most stores by the end of the year. 

    By May 8, 2024
  • Two female Portillo's employees wearing yellow vests and serving customers at the drive-thru
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    Courtesy of Portillo's
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    Portillo’s four-pronged strategy emphasizes drive-thru speed

    The chain is working to improve staff deployment and food throughput as part of an overhaul plan, as drive-thru speeds lag 2019 numbers. 

    By May 8, 2024
  • A view of a Wendy's restaurant on May 12, 2021 in Pinole, California.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Wendy’s credits loyalty program, mobile app investments for customer growth

    “The experience we deliver to our customers is the most impactful driver of our business,” CEO Kirk Tanner said.

    By Bryan Wassel • May 7, 2024
  • Graphic image of drive-thru system
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    Permission granted by Presto Automation Inc.
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    Presto tests voice AI tech that doesn’t require human intervention

    The company is “in the process of conducting a live test” of an autonomous version of its voice AI product, months after revealing humans intervene 70% of the time it’s used. 

    By May 7, 2024
  • An image of two phones showcasing Instacart's new restaurant delivery feature.
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    Courtesy of Uber Eats/Instacart
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    Instacart adds restaurant delivery with Uber Eats

    Over the next few weeks, Instacart will add a restaurant tab powered by Uber Eats to its app, giving Uber access to potentially millions of new customers.

    By May 7, 2024
  • El Pollo Loco's first LA Mex restaurants, which emphasize off-premise, opened in 2021.
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    Courtesy of El Pollo Loco
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    El Pollo Loco’s new CEO unveils 5-part operations overhaul

    From digital investments to incentivizing franchisees to bolster growth, Liz Williams laid out a path she expects will drive sales while decreasing costs.

    By May 6, 2024
  • A cashier making an order on a Square kiosk.
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    Permission granted by Square
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    Sponsored by Square

    The top restaurant trends in 2024

    Restaurant owners crave tools that provide better insights that they can use to connect with their customers, integrate with other solutions, and receive real-time information about the health of their business.

    By Natalie Zunker • May 6, 2024
  • An exterior image of a Shake Shack restaurant
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    Brandon Bell via Getty Images
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    Shake Shack’s kiosks are now its largest ordering channel

    The chain added upselling options to its kiosks and made the channel’s customization experience more similar to online ordering.

    By May 2, 2024
  • Two women putting an order for food through a kiosk
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    Don Wu via Getty Images
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    Yum’s digital sales mix tops 50% systemwide

    Following several quarters of kiosk and e-commerce deployment, digital is on track to generate $30 billion in annualized sales. 

    By May 1, 2024
  • A picture of an IHOP server taking an order using a tablet.
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    Courtesy of IHOP
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    IHOP’s POS migration is boosting speed, check totals

    The diner chain has nearly completed a two-year migration of 1,500 restaurants to Tray’s platform, which integrates with handheld server tablets to trim order and pay times at tables. 

    By April 30, 2024
  • A bank of windows below a red sign that says "Chipotle." A man stands in the background inside the restaurant.
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    Justin Sullivan via Getty Images
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    Chipotle makes order fulfillment, not fancier tech, its top CX focus

    Faster order speed is “one of those things that cascades into everything being a lot better,” CEO Brian Niccol said.

    By Bryan Wassel • April 25, 2024
  • A photograph of packaging and menu items for IHOP/Virtual Dining Concepts' new NASCAR themed brand
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    Courtesy of Virtual Dining Concepts
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    IHOP adds 2 new Virtual Dining Concept brands, expands another

    IHOP is focusing on virtual brands as a solution to traffic problems in non-peak dayparts and thinks two sports-themed brands could lift sales.

    By April 25, 2024
  • An image of a Zipline P2 delivery drone
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    Permission granted by Zipline
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    Flynn Group, Zipline to deliver Panera Bread orders via drone

    Deliveries are expected to begin next year and will be available from select Panera units in the Greater Seattle area. 

    By April 19, 2024