Restaurateurs plan 2017 tech spending, more plan local food programs: Survey

An American Express report indicates restaurateurs will spend more on tech. According to the 2017 American Express Restaurant Trade Survey, 65 percent of them plan spending on restaurant tech in the next 12 months. Twenty six percent of restaurant owners plan on adopting self-service customer technology, including kiosks and digital ordering devices. A significant 26-percent share of consumers overall would use customer-facing technology if offered at a restaurant, and an even greater share of Millennials show a desire to do so (39 percent).

There is much buzz in the restaurant industry regarding consumers embracing local foods. Beyond an interest in supporting their own regions, “People feel they’re doing right when they support companies that are connected to locally sourced ingredients, donations to charities, sustainable environmental practices, and animal welfare practices,” research firm NPD said this year

Consumers are looking to align themselves with companies that share their values. Local foods are a manifestation of these desires.

Rockville, Md.-based research firm Packaged Facts estimates in a report that sales of local foods could generate $19B in sales by 2019. The firm estimated local foods produced more than $12B in sales in 2014. Forty four percent of restaurateurs are offering foods containing locally-sourced ingredients. An additional 15 percent plan to include those ingredients on menus and 24 percent are currently considering offering them.

Consumers are also supporting food waste reduction, and restaurateurs are responding, notes American Express in its survey. Approximately 60 percent of restaurant owners assess inventory or train staff for the purposes of waste reduction.