If you’re looking to invest in the food sector and build a successful franchise business, you’ll benefit from any information that keeps you in touch with the market and ahead of the competition. In this article, you’ll discover five of the latest tech trends that are innovating the food sector at this very moment.
As a franchisee, you’ll be able to run your own business in the food industry at a lower level of risk. Only 1% of franchise units in 2018 closed citing commercial failure [British Franchise Association], compared to a far higher failure rate among SMEs (small to medium enterprises). If you absorb all the training and support that your franchisor provides, you’re likely to succeed as a franchisee in this demanding, exciting sector. Why not dive in?
The 5 latest food sector tech trends and innovations
1. Edible, biodegradable smart packaging
In the last year, the ethical consumption movement has gained traction. With plenty of time to think during COVID-19, and many experiencing emotional and financial changes, gears have been shifted across the country, and the environment and sustainability are now bigger considerations than ever for the public, in the UK and beyond.
Across the globe, people are committing to sustainable practices and buying from sustainable businesses, with 60% of worldwide consumers reporting in 2020 that they were making more environmentally friendly, sustainable and ethical purchases during the pandemic, and planning to continue to do so [Accenture].
In a technological sense, this move to environmental friendliness and sustainability has seen many restaurant and food service businesses upping their food packaging game, creating smart packaging that’s edible, biodegradable or both. New forms of nano-packaging are even being used, with nanotechnology detecting the safety and quality of a food item.
2. Traceability tech
Similarly, more people than ever are considering their health, their food, and the traceability of it. Technology supports this increased interest, and allows consumers to source the following wide range of information about their food:
- Proof of where it comes from/food safety details
- Production details/methods
- Nutritional benefits
- Aroma, flavour and texture
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3. Ghost kitchens (also known as virtual kitchens)
A ghost kitchen, or virtual kitchen, is essentially a kitchen without the restaurant. It’s a food prep and cooking facility set up specifically to cater for delivery-only meals. Some ghost kitchens might contain an additional drive-through element, but generally speaking, ghost kitchens don’t have a shopfront, don’t have customer seating, and deliver restaurant quality food to the customer’s doorstep.
As you can imagine, this kind of kitchen has thrived as a business model during the pandemic, when for long stretches of time, delivery was the only available option. Even post-pandemic, though, ghost kitchens can thrive. The key benefits to investing with a franchise that will enable you to run a virtual or ghost kitchen are:
- You don’t need as much space
- You can save money on rent, utilities, health and safety considerations and more
- You can capitalise on strong demand for quality delivered food
- Staff can park easily
- You’ll create less food waste as a business
Ghost kitchens provide more flexibility for customers by giving them control over exactly what they’re eating and when it will arrive. Most ghost kitchens use cloud-based mobile ordering, which means customers can personalize exactly what they want and get their specific meals made to order.
—Blake Morgan, Forbes
4. Food delivery platforms
The food delivery sector is competitive, thriving and undeniably profitable, and as it grows, the strength and intuitiveness of the tech on offer grows, too. More and more restaurants are finding their way onto third party platforms like Deliveroo and JustEat, hoping to appeal to one of the 24.8 million UK food delivery app users [Business of Apps]. Implementing this technology can be costly for your franchise business, but it comes with many benefits:
- It’s consumer friendly
- It makes it easier to attract new customers
- It gives you an online presence
- Orders can be handled with more accuracy, increasing productivity
- It’s easier to check cash flow
- It improves efficiency and reduces running costs
5. COVID compliance via restaurant QR codes
QR codes have been around for a while, but during COVID-19, they’ve come into their own via their role in restaurants. They’ve helped to limit contact between restaurant guests and servers and allowed people to check in via the NHS Test and Trace app, making them easily contactable at a later date in case of exposure. Essentially, QR codes in the food sector are changing the game in a few different ways:
- They’re reducing necessary points of contact between customers and staff
- They’re allowing customers to browse menus and order online, from the comfort of the table
- They’re making allergen menus easily accessible and perusable
- They’re managing the spread of COVID-19
- They’re providing an opportunity for customers to leave reviews easily and quickly
>> Read more:
6. Voice tech
Voice technology is one of the newest innovations in the sector, but with time, it’s becoming increasingly more prevalent in food and food service, particularly when it comes to supermarket/food supplier warehouse work like inventory control, line-loading, transfers and picking task instructing. Voice tech allows warehouse workers to record information to software systems, and has been shown to increase productivity and efficiency.
Unlike other technological advances that have radically changed how we live, voice technologies promise to make machines and people alike behave more like humans. In terms of adoption rates, applications and market, the possibilities are enough to leave one, well, speechless.
—Shafin Tejani, Entrepreneur
Enjoy a rewarding career as a successful franchisee in the food service industry
Hopefully, you now have a solid understanding of the food service sector as it currently is, innovating and growing with every passing month. If you’d like to get involved in such a fast-moving and profitable market, there are plenty of options available to you, from pub franchise opportunities and restaurant franchise opportunities all the way to dessert franchise opportunities and milkshake franchise opportunities. Whatever your preference, there’s a franchise out there that will suit you perfectly.
Cara Squires, Point Franchise ©