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Restaurant technology: picking the right tech stack

The restaurant industry has long been characterized by frequent change, but in recent years the scale and speed of change has escalated.

The pandemic made online ordering through digital channels—such as mobile apps, aggregators, and websites—a necessity. Within a little over a year, those channels were accounting for 41% of the average restaurant's revenue, according to PYMNTS.

Inflation quickly hit the industry, too. According to TouchBistro, 50% of restaurateurs report that all or most of their suppliers have increased their prices, leading to an average 43% increase in the cost of food.

On top of all that, keeping restaurants staffed has gotten much harder. TouchBistro also reports that 97% of restaurant owners say they’re short at least one position.

Restaurants are increasingly investing in technology to help meet the demands and challenges of the moment. Developing the right tech stack for your needs is now an important part of running a successful restaurant.

What is a restaurant tech stack, and why is it important?

A restaurant tech stack is the mix of technology tools you use to support your restaurant business. The right restaurant tech stack can provide a number of valuable benefits, such as:

  • Increasing operational efficiency
  • Reducing costs
  • Unlocking new sales channels
  • Improving the customer experience
  • Providing data analytics

How to pick the right tech for your restaurant

With so many restaurant technology tools available, it can be challenging to identify the right ones for your restaurant. As a starting point, think about your particular business needs and goals. Some good factors to consider are:

  • Your business priorities
  • Your most pressing challenges
  • Your business size and number of locations
  • Employee feedback on what they need
  • Customer feedback
  • The current tech products you use (more on that below) and whether you want to keep them
  • Your budget

Once you’ve clarified those factors, you can evaluate your tech options based on:

  • Features and capabilities
  • Ease of use
  • Integration with other tech
  • Support options
  • Price

If you’ve narrowed your list to a few choices, try contacting the support team at the tech companies. Many offer demos or free trials to help you get a feel for a product before paying for it.

Types of restaurant technologies

Restaurant tech tends to fall into a few categories based on the main purpose it provides. We’ve organized the list below based on the key goal each type of restaurant technology can help you achieve, but note that some products will offer functionality that spans multiple categories.


Streamline operations

POS (point-of-sale) systems

POS systems provide a combination of hardware and software to help you manage many of the most important tasks of running a restaurant.

The hardware can take a number of forms, which may include:

  • Tablets
  • Kiosks
  • Phones
  • Printers
  • Payment terminals

The software can offer a range of features, such as:

  • Payment processing
  • Accounting
  • Inventory management
  • Loyalty programs

A POS system is an essential piece of restaurant technology for most restaurants, regardless of size or restaurant type. You can choose a comprehensive POS system that provides all this functionality within one tool, or you can go for a more basic option that focuses on a couple of key features like payment processing and sales tracking.

A comprehensive option will typically be more expensive, but if you need the functionality, investing in multiple products to cover the same territory could end up costing more. Plus, having a POS that offers more of the functionality you need can improve efficiency. Your staff will have to learn only one system, and you can skip some of the work involved in connecting various tools to one another.

Regardless of which option you choose, it’s wise to research what integrations your POS is compatible with. This can be especially valuable if you're managing incoming orders from third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats.

Kitchen display systems (KDS)

KDS products offer a digital replacement for the traditional paper ticket system. Your front-of-house (FOH) staff can use technology to send orders to the back-of-house (BOH) team the moment the orders come in, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of errors or lost tickets. KDS products can also help simplify the complicated task of managing orders that arrive from multiple sources (such as in-store, online, and through third-party delivery platforms). A KDS can help kitchen staff get started on orders faster, keep track of tickets more easily, and determine the best order for preparing items based on prep and cook time.

Inventory management software

Inventory management products help you keep track of all the ingredients you buy and use. They often provide predictive forecasting to help you place orders at the right moment—before you run out, but not so soon that you end up with more than you can use. They also provide analytics to help you better analyze and make smart decisions about what ingredients you buy based on factors like cost and popularity.

Online reservation systems

Online reservation systems make it easy for customers to book reservations online and for the restaurant to automate the process of tracking and managing those reservations. For any restaurant that takes reservations, online reservation systems can reduce work for your staff. Online reservation systems also provide a way to collect customer data, and many will integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) tools (more on those below). Some online reservation systems also provide features like automated text reminders to customers, to reduce the likelihood of no-shows.

Table management systems

Table management systems help FOH staff optimize seating for guests who eat at the restaurant by:

  • Tracking which tables are available
  • Helping the FOH team assign the best table when guests arrive
  • Providing estimates on which tables are close to turning over

Some table management systems also offer functionality to automate keeping track of the wait list, providing wait time estimates, and alerting customers when their table is ready. In addition, some products combine table management and online reservation features into the same product, which can be useful for restaurants that need both.


Manage your team

Payroll and accounting

Accounting software is useful for keeping track of your income and expenses. Payroll technology can help with paying employees efficiently and on time. Together, accounting and payroll software can: Help track employee hours and make sure you pay the right amount Automate direct deposits Integrate with other products (such as POS and inventory management) to automate some expense and income tracking Simplify budgeting and forecasting

While you may technically be able to accomplish payroll and accounting tasks without software (businesses managed it before the internet, after all), technology makes the process much faster and easier, while also reducing the likelihood of errors.

Employee scheduling software

Employee scheduling is a longstanding challenge in the restaurant industry. With labor shortages, matching the right amount of employees to your needs each shift has gotten even more difficult. Employee scheduling software helps with creating and keeping track of shift schedules. Most products also employ historical data and forecasting features to help you better predict the right number of people to schedule for each shift. Having sufficient staff on hand helps improve both the employee and customer experience, while also optimizing labor costs.


Grow your online business

Online ordering platforms and apps

Research from Paytronix found that a third of all restaurant orders came in digitally in March 2022. Having technology that enables those orders is essential to earning the business of customers who want an easy option for pickup and delivery. Many restaurants use a combination of online ordering technology products that may include:

  • In-house online ordering tools that let you take orders through your own restaurant website and/or a branded app
  • Third-party apps that enable online ordering through a third-party marketplace, like Uber Eats
  • Order management systems to help you bring orders from various sources into the same place and efficiently manage the life cycle of each order

For any online ordering technology you use, you’ll want a product that integrates with your POS, so all online orders are seamlessly incorporated into the processes you already have set up. Some additional online ordering features to consider include:

  • Scheduling options for customers who want to place an order for later
  • Customer data collection that can help you continue marketing to new customers and (hopefully) turn them into loyal patrons
  • Data and analytics to help you gain insights from your online orders that you can use for informed decision-making moving forward

Delivery tech

Uber research conducted in 2023 found that over 90% of customers say the delivery experience affects how valued they feel and how likely they are to make future purchases and recommend a brand to others. At this point, customers don’t just expect restaurants to offer delivery; they have high standards for the overall delivery experience. Delivery technology can help with that and comes in a few main forms:

  • Third-party delivery apps that match each delivery order with an available driver to handle fulfillment for you. These apps also help you reach new customers by listing your restaurant on their popular mobile marketplace.

  • White-label delivery technology that lets you offer delivery options through your own online sales channels (like your company website and app), while still using a third-party company for fulfillment.

  • Delivery management software, which helps you manage all your delivery orders in one place if you use multiple sources for fulfillment, such as using your own delivery staff as well as working with multiple third-party companies. Many online management systems can also help with delivery management.

  • POS integration software that helps you connect all the technology you use for deliveries and online orders to your POS so you can seamlessly fit them into your existing processes.

Restaurant delivery technology products don’t just enable deliveries; many also provide additional benefits such as:

  • ETA (estimated time of arrival) calculations
  • Real-time communication between drivers, customers, and the restaurant
  • Automated route optimization
  • Integration with your other restaurant technology
shopping bags

Deepen customer engagement

Customer relationship management (CRM) systems

CRM software helps you keep track of each customer you earn. By collecting customer data in one place, you have the knowledge needed for personalized marketing efforts that can inspire loyalty and engagement.

Restaurant CRM platforms should ideally integrate with many other technology products to automatically record information such as:

  • Contact information
  • Order and reservation frequency
  • Typical order size
  • Commonly ordered menu items
  • Which promotions customers respond to

You can also record any information customers are willing to provide, such as birthdays and dietary preferences, which you can then use to further tailor the promotions you send.

Restaurant technology trends to watch

The restaurant technology industry is still evolving, and new tools and trends are entering the scene all the time. We’ve listed below some of the biggest restaurant tech trends to consider when building your restaurant tech stack.

  • Contactless payment. Contactless payment became a common expectation in the early days of COVID, when people were concerned about transmission through surfaces. But many customers liked the convenience of the option enough to stick with it. Consider giving patrons the option to check out on their phone using QR codes or contactless payment options like Apple Pay or Google Pay.

  • Automation. Technology can now automate many tasks that once required (often tedious) humans to complete. In the restaurant world, that includes some of the work involved in tracking sales and expenses, creating employee schedules, tracking inventory levels, and providing accurate delivery ETAs. Automation can’t entirely solve staffing challenges, but it can help restaurant staff accomplish more with fewer people, making it a smart feature to look for in the technology products you choose.

  • Virtual restaurant models. Virtual restaurants are restaurant concepts that exist primarily on third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats and give existing restaurants a way to reach new customers. Starting a virtual restaurant involves developing a new restaurant concept, promoting it on third-party apps, and using your current kitchen and staff to support it. Virtual restaurants can potentially help you grow your earnings without needing to hire more servers or stay open longer hours.

How Uber Eats fits into your restaurant tech stack

Every item you add to your tech stack should offer valuable functionality and work well with the other products you use. Uber Eats offers solutions that can help you provide much more than a seamless delivery experience. And, if you're using a POS system, our technology is designed to integrate seamlessly with a number of popular providers, allowing you to unlock the benefits of Uber Eats from your existing devices.

Explore some of the tools you can use to take your business further:

  • Online ordering capabilities. Uber Eats’ Webshop tool makes it easy to add online ordering capabilities to your existing website.

  • White-label delivery. You can easily offer on-demand delivery through your own sales channels (like your website or app) with Uber Direct.

  • A new sales channel. By joining the Uber Eats marketplace, your restaurant will show up in an app already used by millions of customers, increasing your reach and potentially helping you earn new sales. Plus, choose between flexible fulfillment methods based on what works best for your business and customers—use your own delivery drivers, connect with couriers in Uber's network, and/or offer pickup.

  • Customer engagement features. Customers who order from you on the Uber Eats app can provide reviews and ratings to help you gain useful feedback. And you have the option to provide review responses to improve customer engagement. You also have access to a pair of in-app marketing tools (ads and offers) to increase your visibility in the Uber Eats app and drive orders with enticing savings opportunities for users.

No matter the size of your restaurant, Uber Eats provides easy options for adding delivery capabilities and/or increasing your delivery capacity. Providing multiple choices to customers and delivering a great experience each time can win you new customers and help you earn their loyalty. Get started today.

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