How UK Restaurants Can Use Technology to Enhance Dining Experience

The UK restaurant market is undergoing a significant shift driven by technological changes that impact every sphere of dining experiences. According to recent research, 7 in 10 consumers prefer to use technology to make a table reservation or order food. This rate grew from 43% to 71% in just 3 years proves that more visitors find technologies crucial when it comes to speed and convenience.

In the following paragraphs, we want to cover the UK foodservice market and 10 tech solutions that restaurant owners should use to streamline operations, reduce costs, and improve customer experience.

The UK restaurant industry: Key takeaways

Recently, the UK restaurant business hasn’t been at its best. Lockdown and social distancing caused by the pandemic led to layoffs and restaurant closures all over the country. Fortunately, the government implemented business grants and VAT reductions to help restaurants return to life. Customers flocked to eateries, craving variety after takeaways and social isolation. The restaurant business in the UK began to revive.

Now in 2024, the UK foodservice market size is valued at $99.44 billion and is expected to hit $134.50 billion by 2029 with a 6.23% CAGR. Such steady annual growth is driven by a favourable regulatory environment, wellness trends, consumer interest in local cuisines, and, of course, technology integration.


10 Ways to improve dining experience with the latest technologies

If you want your venue to grow and withstand the competition, enhancing restaurant experiences with technologies is of vital necessity. In the following paragraphs, we discuss 10 cutting-edge solutions that significantly simplify and improve dining services.

1. Electronic menus

Paper menus with frayed edges are a thing of the past, as more and more UK restaurant owners turn to their digital versions. Instead of waiting for a waiter or waitress and trying to choose a dish solely by its name, visitors can open digital menus and get comprehensive information about the ingredients and energy value.

It is crucial for wellness enthusiasts and those having dietary restrictions or allergies. Digital menus usually contain images of all available dishes making it much easier to decide what to order.

Moreover, this technology helps with finding a restaurant that suits customers’ culinary preferences and budgets. Many dining venues upload their menus to Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor where anyone can get familiar with the offerings, prices, pictures, and reviews.

Digital menus are one of the best restaurant technology solutions for those who like placing orders straight through their smartphones and tablets. Waiters don’t need to take orders manually, saving time and reducing the chances of mistakes. Visitor cravings are communicated to the kitchen accurately and quickly, ensuring they get exactly what they want.

2. Digital reservations

Many customers will agree that waiting in a phone line or in a queue trying to book a table is rather annoying. Luckily, there is an alternative – digital reservations which simplify the process and provide visitors with a seat in a matter of clicks.

Some restaurants add a booking feature on their website, while others use third-party reservation apps where visitors pick a date and time and get immediate confirmation. Thus, they are never disappointed when coming to a venue.

This popular restaurant technology is great both for visitors and business owners. They get priceless information on booking patterns and can optimize table organization and staff according to the restaurant load. Digital reservation tools send text and email confirmations, so restaurant staff don’t spend too much time answering phone calls. They can focus on serving tables and accommodating visitors with top-notch hospitality.

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3. Virtual ordering and deliveries

A rapid increase in the number of online deliveries forces traditional restaurants to change their approach. Nowadays, many restaurateurs allow visitors to enjoy high-quality dishes from their homes thanks to ordering and delivery through the Internet.

Many restaurants have developed websites or native applications that help customers familiarise themselves with menus, make orders, pay online, and schedule deliveries. They have advanced features like customizing orders and real-time tracking.

The online ordering technology in the restaurant industry can bring businesses the following benefits:

  • Surpassing the competitors. The food market is rather saturated and restaurateurs use all available instruments to withstand the competition and remain at the industry forefront:
  • Unmatched convenience. People can make an order at any time and place without having to go to a restaurant. This increases their loyalty and motivates them to leave positive feedback and share the word about your place;
  • Valuable insights. These platforms collect priceless information about order history, behavior patterns, and customer preferences which can then be used for optimizing menus, making personalized offers, and improving experiences;
  • Additional revenue stream. Thanks to online ordering, restaurants can go beyond their dine-in visitors and reach new markets, taking revenues to a new level.

Read also: Driving the Online Ordering Industry with Food Delivery Apps in the UK


4. Tableside ordering systems

Tableside software is a rather new and emerging restaurant technology aimed at enhancing customer experience, improving communication with the kitchen, and boosting overall efficiency.

This technology allows diners to browse menus, get familiar with nutritional information, customize orders, use suggestions on wine pairing, match dishes, and get discounts without leaving their seats. Tableside technology ensures smooth communication between visitors and staff, minimizing waiting times and making sure that the orders are recorded accurately.

Other aspects of this valuable technology include the following:

  • Online payments. Many tableside systems have built-in payment processors, so visitors can pay their bills quickly and conveniently without the need to wait for the staff.
  • Interactivity. Many tableside tools offer an interactive environment to make the ordering and waiting time entertaining. It may include mini-games, quizzes, integration with social media platforms, and so on.
  • Accessibility. Tableside software often comes with language translators, text-to-speech features, and different font sizes to offer visitors an inclusive and convenient environment.
  • Customization features. This software is packed with special features that allow customers to alter orders depending on their preferences. For example, excluding certain ingredients from a dish or choosing a cooking mode.

5. Contactless payments

More and more venues have added a cash-free sign to their front door, meeting the latest trend – online payments without using physical money or even traditional bank cards.

Modern UK restaurants are not an exception and offer customers payments via mobile wallets, NFC technology, and QR codes. Physical interaction with cash and banking terminals is already in the past.

This technology in restaurant venues has multiple advantages including convenience and safety. There is no longer a need to wait for the staff to bring the check or change. Contactless payment systems free up employees and let them concentrate on other tasks.

6. Personalized recommendations

Technologies give restaurants a chance to collect information on user preferences and dining patterns. Apart from improving services and withstanding the competition, this information is used for providing personalized recommendations which significantly increase customer satisfaction.

This emerging restaurant technology has proven its efficiency and is used by multiple venues across the country.

Here are 4 things a restaurant should do to implement these personalized AI algorithms:

  1. collect information from mobile apps, history of orders, online reviews, and other sources;
  2. use various analytical tools to process information and determine patterns and behavioral trends;
  3. create unique customer profiles with their preferences, favorite dishes, nutritional restrictions, and other relevant information; and
  4. generate recommendations for menu offerings, dishes of the day, promotions, best deals, and add-ons, usually sent through newsletters, mobile apps, and text messages.

Advanced recommendation software works 24/7 to update and alter its suggestions based on fresh data. Thus, UK chain restaurants and other food venues can keep up with the times and offer visitors the best dining experience.

But keep in mind that privacy and data security should remain your priority – handle customer information responsibly and always ask for consent to process and share sensitive data.

Looking for technology solutions for your restaurant?

Having a proven track record of developing comprehensive and tailored software solutions for the food and restaurant industry, we at Eastern Peak can help you make a significant difference in streamlining your restaurant operations, enhancing customer experiences, and boosting overall efficiency.

Contact us

7. Kitchen digital screens

Almost half of dining venues have already invested in kitchen automation technology with display systems having a decent share of interest.

This digital solution aims to modernize kitchen operations, improve communication, and boost experiences thanks to fast and correct order completion. This smart restaurant technology consolidates orders from digital platforms with the kitchen, reducing the need for verbal communication and papers.

The main elements of KDSs include the following:

  • Instant access to incoming orders. Thanks to integrations with digital platforms and POSs, kitchen personnel can start working on the meals immediately.
  • Neat organization. The orders are shown on screens in the kitchen and organized by order type, order time, and other criteria. Thus, the restaurant workers ensure timely preparation and the absence of confusion.
  • Timely updates. When orders are changed or cancelled the kitchen staff can make timely modifications or move on to other orders.
  • Monitoring order status. This is extremely convenient both for restaurants and visitors, and can be checked while the order is being prepared or delivered.
  • Integrating with other restaurant software. This includes other software such as inventory management or employee scheduling. This helps to streamline processes and ensure maximum efficiency.

8. Smart kitchen appliances

Automated kitchen appliances are at the heart of any digitalization. Devices equipped with sensors, integration features, and other modern technologies give restaurant business owners a chance to offer efficiency, convenience, and unprecedented food preparation quality.

Here are several examples of digitalized appliances to keep in mind:

  • Refrigerators. Built-in displays and touchscreens that not only keep products fresh but also allow for making grocery lists, viewing recipes, and even accessing the Internet.
  • Cooktops. Sensors and connectivity with cookware to adjust heating offer temperature control, alerts, automatic shut-offs, and a bunch of other useful features.
  • Ovens. Kitchen staff can monitor food while it cooks thanks to built-in cameras and program several modes to prepare dishes almost automatically.
  • Coffee makers. Adjustable brewing strength, voice assistance, and alerts when a drink is ready not only impresses customers but improves efficiency.
  • Food processors. Multiple programmed modes, digital displays, and a chance to connect to other devices can be achieved thanks to smart blenders and processors. Kitchen personnel can track progress, control speed, and adjust settings through a dedicated app.

Read also: Ways How Smart Kitchens Can Optimize Food Service Performance


9. Platforms with customer reviews

The dining experience doesn’t end when visitors leave your restaurant. Many of them go to reviewing platforms to share their experiences with the world. Websites like Google and Facebook are visited by billions of people, making them the best tools to lift your venue to the top or bring it down.

This restaurant technology for restaurant owners offers multiple advantages:

  • Valuable information about likes and dislikes. Restaurants can alter menus and services based on what visitors want and need.
  • Analysis of competitors. It is important to understand market trends, see what people like in other restaurants, and choose areas where they can stand out.
  • Improving different areas based on user feedback. For example, food quality, politeness of staff, cleanliness etc.
  • Staff training. Reviewers can complain or praise waiters, hosts, and cooks which becomes a great source of information for growth and development.
  • Building marketing campaigns. By understanding what visitors like or lack, businesses may offer promotions, discounts, and special deals through social media and review platforms. This attracts new visitors and increases the loyalty of existing ones.

10. Sustainable restaurant technologies

Sustainability is our ability to live and evolve without exhausting natural resources needed to exist in the future. An increasing number of individuals and companies make this concept a part of their daily lives and business strategies, and restaurants are not an exception.

The following technologies make the process of applying eco-friendly practices much simpler:

  • Energy-efficient ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, and other appliances. These help reduce energy consumption but still maintain the best performance.
  • Inventory management software. It helps restaurants track food usage and identify overstocked products or the ones with an approaching expiration date. These technologies rationalize ordering processes and reduce carbon footprints thanks to optimized transportation.
  • Waste management. Online menus have greatly reduced paper waste and usage of smart bins with sensors have allowed restaurants to monitor garbage levels and improve collection routes.
  • Smart HVAC. These restaurant software solutions refer to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems with sensors which adjust energy usage based on the number of occupied tables, indoor temperature, and other specified parameters.

By leveraging sustainable technologies, restaurants show their commitment to ecology, build a positive reputation, and attract visitors who prefer eco-friendly dining.


Changing the future of restaurants with recent technologies

The future of UK restaurants looks rather promising and the local food industry is expected to continue using technologies to optimize kitchen operations, ensure sustainability, automate daily processes, and boost user experiences. Utilizing these advancements is crucial for UK restaurants willing to provide high-quality services and stay competitive in a rather saturated market.

If you are interested in offering visitors immersive experiences and taking your restaurant to a brand-new level, contact us and find out how custom software development can help you achieve these goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is technology changing the dining experience?

Technology is transforming the UK foodservice industry in numerous ways. It changes how customers book tables, place orders, pay bills, and even leave tips.

Overall, technology offers greater personalization, speed, and convenience. It improves communication between customers and restaurant owners, streamlines repetitive processes, and leads to better quality of food and services.

What types of software can be used in a restaurant?

There are a huge number of programs and software that are used by restaurants. For example, digital menus, point-of-sale systems, reservation apps, kitchen display systems, and reporting software. You can learn more about them in this blog post.

How can software development services benefit my restaurant?

UK restaurants can greatly benefit from software development services which create tailored solutions to meet their goals, needs, and resources. Such services can boost your restaurant’s efficiency, improve customer experience, ensure growth, and help you occupy firm positions in a rather competitive market.

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