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Key technological trends in food & beverage industry
Tuesday, 28 September, 2021, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Prerna Kalra
“Only thing constant is change"

This applies to every aspect of our life. And in post-Covid-19 world change is bound to happen. Not a single corner is left that hasn't gone through transformation as an aftermath of the pandemic. The only reason behind such transformations is survival. As everyone knows that in this world where ruthless competition is prevalent it is the fittest whose ship will sail through.

F&B industry is one of those industries which are most affected by the pandemic. Many cafes, restaurants and street shops are forced to shut down due to the pandemic. Those who sustained are the ones who were flexible enough to bring the required technology driven transformation in their businesses. Tech is becoming the secret sauce of profitable F&B companies.

The discussion titled “Leading Diners Through the Pandemic”, the fifth in the conversations series under a leading group’s “Tamil Nadu Smiling” campaign, featured reported names from the state's restaurant industry discussing their future with optimistic outlook.

Each restaurateur agreed that 50% seating capacity ceiling mandated was not profitable. “Unlike prior pandemic times, you don't expect to bump elbow with the people", said Damodarasamy. “If restaurants don't function at 80% to 85% capacity, they don't even break even”, said Alhuwalia.

What can be the saviour in such a situation for F&B Industry is technology driven transformation. The future is now for the F&B Industry. Tech is revolutionising food and beverages as Covid-19 accelerates the pace of robotics, AI, cloud technologies and IoT. Those who resist such trends end up shutting down their businesses. These tech trends are the need of the hour. How?

Let's look into these trends benefits:
Reduces waste
Looking at the emerging consciousness about the reduction of food wastage so that it can reach people in need, it is essential to have an analytical understanding about the demand and supply chain. Technology helps in getting this understanding. Big restaurants have partnered with NGO so that they can supply the excessive food to children of NGOs so that no one sleeps on empty stomach. This has made possible with the help of technology like IoT in F&B industry.

Error reduction
With smart sensors identifying and error at each step of process it becomes easier to optimise the utilisation of machines and equipments. You can even track your ordered food and can cancel or alter your order at any time.

Enhanced customer experience
Who loves standing in long queues? Technology will save you from this too.

You can check the availability of table through mobile app and even reserve a table in advance.

Contactless payment through QR code and mobile wallets not only is hustle free but help you maintain the Covid-19 protocols.

Not just that you can even have on demand food delivery services through apps like Swiggy, Uber Eats, and Zomato at your doorstep.

Ensures food security
Today, food quality is not enough, what has become even more crucial is food security. People want to ensure that food is prepared in a hygienic environment and delivery is done keeping corona protocols intact. Robots are being used for serving at restaurants. Cities like Bengaluru, Chennai, Odisha, Hyderabad and Jaipur are having such robotic restaurants.

AI based solutions
Computers with various software developed by engineers help in effective management by taking care of following things: Order inventory; Cost reduction; and Stock shelves.

This new wave of tech trends in F&B Industry has coined new terms and it's important to understand them to understand the revolution brought by these tech trends.

1) Cloud kitchen/ Ghost kitchen
Cloud kitchen or ghost kitchen is a place where food is delivered at your doorsteps via call or online ordering platforms.

  • Cost effective
  • No need of indoor seating
  • Takeaways are available
2) Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) System
It's a management tool which can be a mobile app or web based app that solves the problem of resource allocation while ensuring food security and cost reduction.

Moreover, recent customers’ right laws require food and beverages companies to provide the details of the product printed on the package including the origin, traceability and transparency. So ERP software provides you a hustle free solution to it.

3) Drones
Agricultural industry is heavily dependent on weather and quality of soil. To reduce time and energy, these drones help farmers to have a view of crops and soil while sitting at a place. Drones help farmers to check which crop is damaged without being physically drained.

Technologies important in F&B Industry
  • Point of sale
  • Credit card processors
  • Accounting software
  • Business Intelligence or reporting and analytics software
  • Payroll software
  • Inventory management
  • Kitchen display systems
  • Labour software
  • Invoice / procurement management
F&B Industry is drastically affected by the pandemic but technology in F&B Industry has matured and gave a great boost to the current status quo. This paradigm shift has the potential to make this industry robust than ever.

(The author is co-founder and CEO, Daalchini Technologies)
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