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A Glimpse at the Future of Dining

There’s no better venue to glimpse where the food industry is headed than the annual National Restaurant Association Show, and this year was no exception. The show made history this May with its 100th anniversary event at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The EyeSucceed team was on hand to preview the future of the restaurant industry. With more than 42,000 restaurant operators, foodservice professionals, distributors and equipment dealers in attendance, and with 92 of the top 100 restaurant brands represented, there was no shortage of people to meet or new concepts to learn about. This is an event that brings the industry together around something that unites us all: our love of food, and the people who share it!

With so many innovations on display it’s apparent the industry is forever evolving to meet challenges like decreasing production time and running the most efficient kitchen possible. Tools that increase operational efficiency are in high demand as ever, and the industry is lavishing attention on disruptive digital innovations. A great example of this at the show was UNOX’s Data Driven Cooking system. It allows cooks and managers to monitor oven metrics like resource consumption and cooking times with a smartphone app or cloud-based web dashboard, and uses AI to recommend operational and recipe tweaks that in turn increase efficiencies and the ROI of the equipment.

We’re also seeing technological advancements that alleviate the need for employees to handle certain front- and back-of-house functions or add incremental capabilities, like a POS system from ZIVELO that uses AI during the drive-up ordering process. It remembers previous orders through voice recognition and proposes upsell items based on factors such as time of day or weather. You can watch an interview from the show floor with the company’s CEO to learn more.

We are also seeing a shift toward environmentally sustainable products in an effort to eliminate waste and decrease operational costs. Groundbreaking ideas in this area include compostable tableware from Hoffmaster and NSF certified, recyclable to-go containers from OZZI that can be returned to the restaurant and sanitized for re-use up to 300 times.

Of course we’re not even scratching the surface of the sheer volume of important new products on display at the NRA Show. For a slightly more comprehensive look at the food and beverage products, equipment and supplies introduced at the show, check out this great list from Parts Town.

This year’s event also gave us the chance to meet with restaurant industry professionals and let them engage hands-on with our augmented reality solutions. We heard from chefs, trainers, executives and front-line employees who generously shared the issues they experience in their organizations. Many of them also quickly intuited some interesting potential applications for smartglass solutions in their areas of responsibility. This invaluable insight from fellow industry experts inspires us to further develop our products, to help address their challenges and meet their organizational goals.

This year has been a big one so far for us at EyeSucceed, but still we can’t wait to participate in next year’s National Restaurant Association Show. We hear an additional exhibit hall had to be booked for 2020 in order to keep up with the growing exhibitor demand — which means more industry innovators than ever before.

Until then, be sure to join our mailing list to stay up to date with news from the EyeSucceed team and food industry tech trends.