5 Restaurant Tech Trends That Emerged from NRA Show 2015

More than 63,000 restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals gathered at McCormick Place in Chicago earlier this month for NRA Show 2015. At the annual conference, the largest of its kind, attendees had the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge restaurant trends in marketing, operations, technology and more. This year, the spotlight was on technology as more restaurants are turning to tech advancements to boost operational efficiency, customer service and revenue.


Here are five of the top tech trends that emerged from NRA Show 2015.


  1. Data security
  2. Following recent high-profile data breaches of major national merchants, data security was a hot topic at the show. Several innovations are being introduced to the market to better protect your restaurant’s customers, including encryption technology and advanced point-of-sale systems.


  1. Digital menus
    Just as many restaurants are ditching punch cards in favor of digital loyalty programs, you might soon do away with paper menus as well. As customers become more tech-savvy, many NRA Show exhibitors and attendees predicted restaurants will gradually move away from paper menus in favor of digital menus and ordering systems.


  1. Better mobile rewards programs
  2. Customers are connected to their smartphones more than ever, and the industry is taking note. Restaurants and technology providers alike used the NRA Show to announce improvements to mobile loyalty and rewards programs. Enhancements include adding progress bars to mobile loyalty apps so customers can visualize how much further to go until a reward, instant rewards for referring friends and the option to create gift cards within the mobile app.


  1. Personalized customer experience
  2. Your customers love to feel appreciated, and one of the ways you can show your appreciation is through personalized offers and loyalty programs based on past behavior. Many exhibitors debuted new technologies that enable restaurants to customize each customer’s dine-in, takeout or delivery experience. GrubHub CEO Matt Maloney hosted an education session exploring how order data can be used to track customer behavior and how  today’s influx of restaurant industry data is creating opportunities for a new generation of restaurants.


  1. Virtual restaurants
  2. Will we see the decline of sit-down-only restaurants? With the increasing demand for great delivery food, new “virtual” restaurants eliminate the need for front of house and offer dishes from a commissary kitchen devoted exclusively to delivery.

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