May 23, 2022

What’s in your restaurant tech stack? The best restaurant technology—backed by data

Who remembers the line from When Harry Met Sally when Carrie Fisher goes, “Restaurants are to people in the 80s what theaters were to people in the 60s”? 


What would that line be now? A seamless digital experience is to people in the 2020s what drive-thrus were to people in the 2000s? Or, AI and automation are to people in the 2020s what mobile was to people in the 00s? 

No matter how you look at it, the restaurant experience has changed significantly, especially in the past few years. Now, restaurants need to have an online presence in order to succeed, and not only that, but they need to keep it updated and optimized for today’s customer expectations. 

According to Google, 89% of diners research restaurants on their phone before visiting. And there are over one billion restaurant searches on Google every month, with a growing number of searches for “food near me”. The opportunities are there.

As a response to changing customer preferences, staffing challenges, and environmental and safety concerns, many restaurants are turning to contactless menus using QR codes, mobile ordering, mobile apps, and digital checks. As of 2021, 7 in 10 restaurants are single-unit establishments, meaning that they may not have big corporate teams to implement and manage the latest tech. But since 73% of diners feel that restaurant technology improves their experience, restaurant operators of all types of businesses should invest in technology now, and start getting comfortable with the new diner expectations. 

To meet these high consumer expectations while maintaining a positive staff environment, restaurateurs are turning to new restaurant technology and integrated systems, the “restaurant tech stack”. 95% of restaurant owners feel that restaurant technology helps their business to be more efficient. The right restaurant tech stack can help even the busiest restaurant teams deliver incredible service and keep up with major chains without breaking the bank.

Restaurant technology trends

As Gen Z grows up, gets on the road and out on their own, and more digital natives gain spending power, the restaurant experience will only get more tech-y. 

Recent restaurant industry research from Toast shows that:

  • More than half of millennials (54%) prefer the option of a self-ordering kiosk
  • Most guests (62-88%) choose to use their credit card for both low-ticket and high-ticket items, like coffee or a fancy meal, respectively
  • Less than one third of restaurants (31%) offer mobile payments
  • The most popular restaurant operations tech solutions are POS technology, payment processing systems, accounting software, and payroll software
  • Diners care most about online reservations and free Wifi
  • 61% of restaurant-goers believes that when servers have handheld tablets, it creates a better experience

Some of the top restaurant technology trends in 2022 are:

  • Smart restaurants: High tech restaurants that incorporate robotics, AI, and self-serve kiosks to operate more efficiently.
  • Contactless restaurant technology like menus and digital checks/receipts
  • Apps and loyalty programs
  • Online and mobile ordering
  • Automated reservation management systems
  • Integrations with popular reservation systems and other restaurant technologies: Restaurant owners say that their top integrations are credit card processing systems, accounting software, and inventory management along with their POS system.
  • Touch screen kiosks

What technology do restaurants use?

A typical restaurant tech stack might look like this:

  1. A point of sale (POS) system
  2. An email service provider
  3. A website (many use an all-in-one website builder/CMS)
  4. Social media management tools
  5. Branding and marketing platforms
  6. Payroll software
  7. Accounting software
  8. Phone and voicemail systems
  9. Reservation software
  10. Customer service and feedback tools
  11. Loyalty programs
  12. Online and mobile ordering
  13. Food delivery trackers or partner programs
  14. Digital checks/receipts
  15. Digital menus with QR codes
  16. Digital menu screens
  17. Tabletop tablets with card payment systems
  18. Self-service kiosks
  19. Food and beverage inventory management systems
  20. Vendor management platforms or spreadsheets
  21. Equipment management tools
  22. Employee onboarding and training portals
  23. Compliance and policy management tools
  24. Employee communication apps
  25. Customer communication apps

This list can go on and on depending on the technology your audience prefers and the mission, branding, and identity of your restaurant. For some customers, order-ahead is a must-have feature for their morning coffee since they run on a tight schedule. For others, they prefer a more collaborative environment of a community-oriented space with local meetups advertised via SMS. 

According to G2, a third-party review site, the top 10 restaurant management software platforms that restaurants are using in 2022 are:

  1. Toast
  2. Posist Restaurant POS
  3. Lightspeed Restaurant
  4. Restaurant365
  5. HungerRush
  6. Zenput
  7. Foodics
  8. NCR Aloha POS
  9. TouchBistro
  10. EagleOwl

The top tech tools for restaurants, by category

Here are the tools that restaurateurs swear by to provide the best possible guest experience. 

By the way — did you know that the top three reasons people call restaurants are 1) to make reservations, 2) to place takeout orders, and 3) to modify existing reservations? There are tools on this list to help you automate all of those requests, saving your restaurant team time to serve the customers you have standing in front of you. 

Restaurant Payment + POS Technology

Restaurant Ordering Technology

Restaurant Phone + Customer Service Technology

Slang, an AI-powered virtual phone agent for restaurants, helped the Weimann Maclise restaurant group eliminate hundreds of unanswered voicemails. Digital phone and customer service technology, like live chat software, SMS communication, and virtual assistants help to improve the customer experience, all while generating helpful data for your business.

Restaurant Reservation Apps

The top tech feature that diners want from restaurants is the ability to make an online reservation.

Restaurant Marketing + Branding Tools

  • Canva, an easy-to-use restaurant branding and design tool: 4.5/5 stars on G2, 4.5/5 stars on TrustRadius
  • MailChimp, an email marketing platform: 4.5/5 stars on G2, 4/5 stars on TrustRadius 
  • Squarespace, a website builder platform and content management system (CMS) that integrates with Shopify if you sell products: 4.5/5 stars on G2, 4/5 stars on TrustRadius

Restaurant AI Technology

  • 80% caller satisfaction score
  • Halla, shopper behavior mapping with AI: Increases in-store sales by $5+ per shopper per month
  • Grubhub, voice-powered ordering on the app: 4/5 stars on G2

Restaurant Inventory Management and Operations Software

Ready to use tech to improve your restaurant experience?

Whatever your biggest challenges as a restaurant manager or operator are, there’s a platform that can help you. Whether you’re overwhelmed with staffing, inventory, reaching new audiences, retaining customers, or managing customer service, there are new restaurant technologies that meet even the most specific needs.

Looking for a restaurant tech solution that you can get up and running in just a few minutes? Try, the first customizable, AI-powered restaurant virtual assistant. Your customers will love it.


Alex Sambvani

Ready to learn more? 

Join hundreds of top brands using today!