Dec 22, 2023 4 min read

Restaurant Industry Vets Make their 2024 Predictions

7 industry vets reveal their predictions for the hospitality industry.
Restaurant Industry Vets Make their 2024  Predictions

And that's a wrap! It feels like it wasn't too long ago when Branded's very own Jimmy Frischling was chatting with Nancy Luna from Business Insider predicting the 10 most promising foodtech startups of the year, alongside other industry investors. What a year it's been and how lucky are we to be working in such an incredible industry that despite challenges continues to absolutely crush it. As Jimmy wrote in our final newsletter of 2022 before we kicked off 2023, Nobody Puts Baby In a Corner and to that I say bring on 2024!

While it's hard to say goodbye, I think we're all ready to say hello to a fresh start. A new year means, new goals, new challenges, new beginnings, new opportunities and so much more. While we don't have a crystal ball to tell us exactly what 2024 has in store, the Branded team has had the pleasure of chatting with industry professionals who've created their own crystal ball moments.

Listeners of the Hospitality Hangout podcast are probably very familiar with our our segment - "The Crystal Ball Moment" a chance for all of our guests to put on their Kreskin or Miss Cleo hat and predict the future. So without further or do, here is what some industry trailblazers have predicted!

Lauren Bailey, co-founder and CEO of Upward Projects.

"I think we're going to see a pushback in technology as guests are looking for more human interaction. I'm just starting to hear little inklings of like, 'I called this restaurant to place an order and they told me to do it online,' or 'I want to ask a question and there's no server and I can't ask a QR code questions, or I want a recommendation.' And I think there's going to be a little bit of pull back into the people side of things and wanting to have a little bit higher touch."

G.J. Hart, CEO of Red Robin

"We'll still be talking about technology in the future but at the end of the day it's all about the food. What I do think is changing in technology is our ability to specifically target and increase consumer interaction. And I think at the end of the day to win this business long term, from a technology enablement perspective, if you could create personalization, and we will get there, that's where you'll win."

David Birzon, CEO at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery

"Prior to COVID, the Hospitality Industry as a whole, were dinosaurs when it came to tech. You had a POS, maybe you had a KDS system, maybe you had basic data collection. Now, when you look at all the different segments of the industry, everyone is trying to apply technology to it. The challenge now is that these products struggle to communicate with one another. Everything has to talk to one another. It's the hardest thing because no one wants to share data. Data is king, it's where all the value and money is. Restaurants want to keep it and own it, third parties want to keep it and own it. Until someone really cracks that code I think we're still just going to see a ton of bifurcation and nothing really consolidated."

Brita Rosenheim - Partner at Culterra Capital; Venture Partners at Better Food Venture

"Automation is going to be front and center and not automation in terms of just robotics, but business automation. It's not that it's not here now but I think it will be status quo in the coming years."

Prakash Karamchandani, CEO of Balance Pan-Asian Grille

"We're just at the start of Apple releasing these Vision Pro headsets. But once they get more portable, I think that going to be the next really big thing. I don't know if it'll be two years, but if you asked me those questions in five, I'd have to definitely say AR. I think it's training for POS, I don't think it's going to exist on an iPad anymore. It's just going to be in your glasses."

Scott Boatwright, COO of Chipotle Mexican Grill

"I think robotics continues to play a huge role today and what the future of the industry looks like. And people will leverage it in different ways... whether that's labor reduction or redeployment of labor. As you think about where we are today as a country, that relates to labor utilization in general, people are having fewer children and if you think about that, that means fewer people will be coming into the industry, as well as, absent immigration reform, we are going to struggle having the labor necessary to meet the needs of this industry and many other industry. So I think there's going to be a further push into robotics to try to remove again those tasks that people can't find anyone to do."

"I'm going to say what I hope happens. I think for the industry to really be super successful and they decide where they're going to go need to have an experience that fits what they're looking for. I think one of the challenges for every brand is going to be how inclusive or exclusive are they going to be in terms of the experience they provide. Everyone's looking for different things and different aspects attract a customer. So getting that formula right within the brand is important and will be a struggle that operators will experience."

To tune in to more episodes and hear what others have predicted for the future of our industry, click the button below!

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