New insight reveals the outlook for technology in 2024
4th December 2023
A survey of nearly 200 operators by Tech on Toast has unveiled a comprehensive view of the challenges and aspirations in the realm of technology adoption.
Cost and Integration Challenges
The survey reveals a poignant struggle faced by restaurant operators, with 58% citing cost as the primary obstacle in embracing new technologies. A substantial 74% express concerns about costs, ranking among their top three considerations when evaluating new tech solutions. Integration poses an equally significant challenge, with 41% flagging the lack of integration with current systems as a key hurdle and 66% making it a top consideration when vetting new technologies.
These challenges are compounded by the complexity of current tech stacks, as 68% of respondents currently work with at least three different tech vendors. Notably, operators are aware of this challenge, with 39% expecting to increase their total number of tech providers in the next year. The struggle with integration is underscored by 41% of respondents citing it as a challenge related to their current tech stack.
Building the Tech Stack
Building and managing a technology stack is no easy feat, and operators face a trifecta of challenges. The most significant hurdles include costs and limited budgets, as echoed by 54% of respondents. Additionally, not having enough staff to manage and implement technology solutions is a prevalent concern for operators. Interestingly, the third-biggest challenge, identified by 41% of respondents, is the lack of integration with current systems, emphasizing the critical role seamless integration plays in the success of a tech stack.
Despite these challenges, the survey finds that more than half (54%) of operators are “somewhat satisfied” with their current tech stack. Moreover, over a third (41%) have no plans to change the number of tech vendors they work with this year. However, a quarter of respondents, currently working with multiple tech providers, express a desire to transition to an end-to-end solution.
Outlook for 2024
Looking ahead to 2024, technology will take center stage in operators’ strategic plans. An overwhelming 78% believe that technology will be “very important” or “critical” to their ability to meet business objectives. Only a mere 4% consider technology of minor importance to their businesses. Despite limited budgets and integration challenges, 78% of operators are committed to investing in new technology in the next 12 months. Notably, 24% plan to “possibly” add new technology in the next few months.
Business Goals and Technology Investment Focus
The goals set by operators for 2023 paint a clear picture of their priorities. Driving sales and boosting customer frequency take precedence, with 64% of operators emphasising these objectives. Lowering operating costs is a key goal for 44%, while 37% prioritise boosting employee retention and productivity.
In line with these goals, technology investments are strategically aligned. A significant 57% plan to invest in technology to enhance the guest experience, while 51% express interest in digital marketing and loyalty programmes. Furthermore, 43% are likely to support their business with technology investments in POS systems. Limited-service concepts, particularly QSR and fast-casual, emerge as the frontrunners, with 61% and 58% of respondents, respectively, indicating their intent to invest in technology to support loyalty programmes.
Digital marketing and loyalty programmes top the list of technologies that restaurant operators are keen to explore further, with 41% expressing interest. These statistics collectively underscore operators’ dedication to overcoming challenges, improving operations, and staying at the forefront of technological innovation in the competitive landscape of the restaurant industry.
If you want to have a chat about your opportunities with technology in 2024, then Fuse is happy to help.