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The Future is Now: 3 Restaurant Trends to Watch

There’s a certain pattern to eating at a restaurant, and it usually starts with visitors studying the menu and providing a cashier or waitperson with a carefully chosen order. When people don’t want to leave their home, getting delivery usually involves greeting a delivery person at the door and signing a receipt. As a restaurant entrepreneur, you’ve been on both sides of this process: facilitating a smooth experience for your customers and occasionally indulging yourself or checking out the competition.

But restaurants are not exempt from rapid tech innovation; they’re changing fast. Adapting means keeping up. For example, right now, your restaurant business insurance might look like an ample amount of workers’ compensation coverage for your large staff, plus general and professional liability coverage for unforeseen situations. But let’s say you install an automated ordering system in the near future. You may need to boost your property insurance to protect the costly electronic equipment while adjusting your workers’ compensation limits to reflect a streamlined workforce with new job duties and hiring requirements.

Here are three restaurant trends to watch, as they may be coming to a city near you (or your establishment) very soon.

Automated Ordering

By the end of 2017, Wendy’s Co. will have added self-service ordering kiosks to at least 1,000 restaurants, or 15 percent of their total locations, according to the Los Angeles Times. In other words, even the company that touts Old-Fashioned Hamburgers® as its claim to fame is embracing technology as the wave of the future. And they are not alone: Panera Bread, McDonald’s and many others are doing the same. Sit-down restaurants are also embracing tableside automated ordering, thus shifting their wait staff into customer service roles.

Advanced Delivery Options

Think drone home delivery sounds far-fetched? Think again. In late 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration approved a trial in which Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. delivered burritos to college students on the Virginia Tech campus during a test by Project Wing. Of course, commercial regulations currently limit drone usage, but it’s just one example of how food can and likely will be delivered in the future. The challenge will be two-fold: keeping food warm and making sure the drones can safely and accurately deliver their cargo.

Robotic Food and Beverage Prep

If you run a café or bar, you’re used to baristas and bartenders trained in how to make each drink on your menu. They steam milk or draft beer, making chit chat with customers all the while and hopefully eliciting tips for their dedicated service.

However, one startup in San Francisco opened a robotic coffee shop earlier this year in response to the founder’s observation that baristas often have to juggle multiple cups and continually move them around. As Tech Crunch reports, “At scale, Cafe X should be able to increase margins within the industry while reducing wait times for hurried patrons.”

These three trends that restaurants are moving toward convenience, efficiency and speed. Whether your restaurant sticks with tried-and-true methods over time or adapts to the changing tech landscape, it’s important to make sure that your restaurant business insurance meets your exact needs.

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