Technology will revolutionise many aspects of restaurant and pub operations in the next few years, several speakers at CGA’s Peach 2020 Conference suggested. Here are just five of the ways it is changing the way the sector behaves.

1 Better customer experience

Technology can give consumers new and exciting experiences when they eat and drink out, CGA chief executive Phil Tate said in an overview of big trends at the Conference. He flagged up examples like the Virtual Reality Bar from Virgin and Bacardi that lets drinkers imagine themselves in glamorous venues around the world; and a pre-ordering app from Heathrow Airport and Grab that slashes the time travellers need to wait for food.

2 A route to millennials

The millennial generation spends hours a day on devices like smartphones, WE ARE Spectacular’s Mark McCulloch told 2020 Conference delegates—so that is where brands need to meet them.

Reaching millennials—often defined as those born between 1980 and 2000—shouldn’t be daunting, he argued. “They’re not alien beings or a super-race or anything really different—they’re just a bit younger.” But brands need to properly understand their attachment to mobile devices, with MatchPint research showing adults now spend an average of 220 minutes a day looking at their phones. “Millennials grew up along technology… it’s just part of life for them.”

3 More visual social media

Photography: www.themakers.co.uk

Facebook and Twitter are now well-established marketing channels for most brands. But other, more visual platforms, like YouTube, are still under-exploited by many marketing teams, Mark McCulloch said. “A lot of us aren’t creating a lot of content to put on there.”

Instagram is another channel with huge potential, he added—and operators should be aware that more and more of their guests are seeking to make photographic stories of their experiences. “Everything should be [Insta]grammable… Look at all facets of your business, from the décor to the food to the staff to make sure you’re photogenic.”

4 Sustainable supply chains

Food waste is one of the pub and restaurant sector’s biggest environmental impacts, but technology has the potential to push it down towards zero, Yfood’s Nadia El Hadery told the 2020 Conference.

By integrating analysis and intelligence systems like Winnow into their operations, businesses can slash waste and save thousands of pounds, she suggested. Other solutions, like coffee-to-biofuel converter Bio-bean or the Olio app to share surplus food, can reduce eco impacts further. Making more use of alternative food sources—like Algama, which uses microalgae to create more sustainable sources of protein—will reduce them even more, El Hadery said at Peach 2020.

5 Designer food

Photography: www.themakers.co.uk

3D food printing seems like a far-off concept to many of us—but it might be closer to mainstream adoption than we realise. Nadia El Hadery pointed to the example of the Foodini gadget from Natural Machines as a sign of things to come. It adds elements of art and design to food creation, and while machines are still in their infancy, quality is already pretty high. It’s another example of the need to stay up to speed with technological advancements in the sector, and avoid being too late to the party.

 

 

 

CGA’s Peach 2020 Conference and Hero & Icon Awards were supported by platinum partners Asahi, Bookatable by Michelin, Coca-Cola European Partners, Coffer Corporate Leisure, CPL Online, Diageo, Flyt, Fourth, HGEM, NatWest, WE ARE Spectacular and Zonal; and by network partners Casual Dining, Chapman Ventilation, Fishbowl, Reynolds, RSM, Steelite International and Yumpingo.

     

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