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The team at Dreambox Creations, a digital agency for the restaurant industry, has forecasted five tech trends that restaurateurs should consider for 2014. They include:
1. Integration: So many brands have siloed-off data, but the brands that can discover insight by looking at it all holistically will be very well prepared. Dreambox Creations says businesses can never over integrate.
2. Online ordering: According to a news release, online ordering will continue to grow and will be powered by syndicated ordering, such as allowing third party sites to sell food items on their sites while taking a cut of the profits.
3. Mobile web traffic: This easily accounts for more than 50 percent of website traffic where mobile users are supported. If you don't have a mobile web app, you'll wish you had, the company said.
4. Loyalty programs: We will see loyalty programs taking it up a notch in order to entice guests to enroll. For example, Panera Bread's program tracks guests' preferred menu items, offers exclusive previews and tastings to members and provides cooking and baking tips.
5. Alternative payment methods: Cash, charge or debit will not be the only payment options available. We will likely see businesses mastering new ways to facilitate capturing guest dollars, whether it's low-energy Bluetooth, near field communications, or some other method of obtaining payment.
"Restaurants have a tremendous opportunity to be cutting-edge when it comes to technology," said Dan Bejmuk, co-founder and managing partner of Dreambox Creations. "Websites need to be innovative and user-friendly; mobile apps are almost a necessity with Millennials; and integration is key."
Read more about restaurant trends.