December 13, 2018
As reported by the Globe and Mail, the past five years have seen more technology-driven advances in the Canadian restaurant industry than in the preceding half-century.
With the arrival of interactive dining tables, point-of-sale applications and GPS temperature control devices, it seems technology is infiltrating the food and restaurant industry like never before.
Fast food giants like McDonalds and Wendy’s already use automated customer-service kiosks that allow customers to personally enter their orders on a large screen rather than standing in line and ordering at the counter. Starbucks has a mobile phone app that allows customers to pre-order drinks and food items for pickup.
For smaller restaurants, these kinds of technological advances are becoming increasingly important to keep pace in the industry’s digital shift. Restaurants Canada, a not-for-profit organization representing Canada’s $85-billion restaurant and food-service industry, has been helping small restaurant operators secure leasing and financing options that will allow them to adopt similar practices. For example, Grafitti Market, which operates out of Kitchener, Ontario, offers interactive “smart tables” that allow customers to tap on their table to place their order, watch their meals be prepared via webcam, play games while they wait for their food, and pay the bill at the end of their meal.
Canadian tech companies are playing a major role in contributing to the techno-savvy restaurant scene. For example, Toronto-based TouchBistro Inc. has created a food and beverage point-of-sale app that is used in more than 15,000 restaurants worldwide. The app supports tableside ordering and allows servers to tap in orders, which are then sent automatically to the kitchen.
BlueRover Inc. is another Ontario-based company developing technological solutions for the restaurant industry. The company recently launched a product geared towards improving food quality and safety by GPS tracking, monitoring and controlling temperature and humidity in food delivery containers.
Authors: Pearl Lee and Larissa Fulop