Tech and Consumer Trends for 2024 with Erle Dardick of Lunchbox

Breaking down the tech that may or may not lead the restaurant industry

In this episode of The Restaurant Report podcast, I speak with Erle Dardick, of Lunchbox, a leading restaurant e-commerce platform. We discuss the top tech and consumer trends to watch in the restaurant industry in 2024, including:

  • AI and its impact: AI is already having a major impact on the restaurant industry, from automating tasks in the kitchen to personalizing customer experiences. In 2024, can we expect to see even more widespread adoption of AI, as restaurants look for ways to improve efficiency and profitability?

  • POS and Third-Party Enterprise vs Internal tech stacks: Traditionally, restaurants have relied on third-party point-of-sale (POS) systems. However, more and more restaurants are looking to develop their internal tech stacks. This gives restaurants more control over their data and allows them to integrate their online and offline operations better. Could this backfire on brands like Wingstop?

  • Customer service future: The future of customer service in the restaurant industry is all about convenience and personalization. Customers want to be able to order and pay for their food quickly and easily, and they want restaurants to remember their preferences. In 2024, can we expect to see more restaurants using technology to improve their customer service experience or will the industry continue to suffer under dismal customer service numbers?

We dive into the success of Cava, a fast-casual Mediterranean restaurant chain, and what has separated them from the pack of fast casual superstars.

Finally, we discuss Sweetgreen, a salad chain that is also using automation to improve its operations. Sweetgreen has developed a fully automated kitchen called Infinite Kitchen, which can produce 100 bowls per hour. This allows Sweetgreen to reduce labor costs and expand its reach to new markets.

Overall, the trends discussed in this episode suggest that the restaurant industry is headed for a significant transformation in 2024. AI, automation, and other technologies will play a significant role in how restaurants operate and serve their customers.

Paul Barron