Resources, Strategy, and Comparison

The Future of the Restaurant Industry

The Way We Eat is Changing

Sitting here in 2019, I’m struck by how much has changed when it comes to how Americans eat. Vegetables we would never touch as kids (brussel sprouts? kale?) have become Instagram celebrities and menu staples. Many of us have developed a daily routine to drink coffee outside our homes - ordered from our mobile phones, of course. My mother often reminds me that innovation in her day meant feeding her kids Stouffer’s mac and cheese, whereas today there are dozens of brands of organic mac and cheese and farm-to-table kids’ menus that can be delivered right to your door.

Americans now consume more food outside of the home than in the home according to data from the USDA, and an increasing amount of that food is ordered on a mobile phone. Technology is changing nearly every aspect of our lives, and that transformation is changing our expectations of restaurants as well. The pace of change is continuing to accelerate, making it even more important for restaurateurs to evaluate what’s real and what’s hype when it comes to new technologies—and even more importantly, how these technologies will actually impact their guests and operations.

To help restaurateurs navigate this rapidly changing landscape, we turned to forward-thinking technology leaders, restaurant owners, and operators to dish on the future of restaurants.

We heard some great insights about technologies we already know are here to stay, like mobile phones, and some far-out ideas about technologies that may emerge in the future, like augmented reality. Ultimately, it all boils down to three takeaways: the era of the point of sale terminal as we know it is over, the death of lines in restaurants is approaching, and data analytics to help you run your business are more powerful than ever.

Kelly Esten
Sr. Director of Product and Partner Marketing, Toast

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Chapter One

Meet the Restaurant Experts

Eighteen experts from well-known fast casual and full-service restaurants and established technology companies shared their predictions for the future of the industry.

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Toast Leadership

Chris Comparato


Steve Fredette


Aman Narang


Kent Bennett

Partner at Bessemer and Toast Board Member

Partners and Industry Experts

Adam Garfield

Co-Founder and CEO, SpeedETab

Jeff Stone

CEO, Compeat


Sash Dias

Chief Customer Officer, Incentivio

Amanda Halle

Head of Partnerships, Harri


Ryan Hicks

President of the Hicks Group, Host of Modern Business Podcast

Casual Headshot

Jim Farrell

Vice President of Sales, Solink

Brett spiegel

Brett Spiegel

Director of Business Strategy, Fuzz Productions

Junaid Shams cropped 1

Junaid Shams

Co-Founder and CEO, Rooam