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Revolutionizing Dining: Restaurants Merge High Tech with Human Touch for Growth


Michael Chen

May 20, 2024 - 23:53 pm


Embracing Innovation: Restaurants to Thrive on High Tech and High Touch

CHICAGO, May 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- In today's fast-paced world, the restaurant industry stands at the forefront of a new era, one defined by technology's capability to enhance customer satisfaction and streamline service efficiency. A major proponent of this movement is none other than Michelle Korsmo, the esteemed President and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Her keynote address at the association's annual National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago was a clarion call to industry professionals: embrace a unique value proposition through a blend of technological innovation and customer-centric service.

The Competitive Edge of Technology

During her speech, Korsmo articulated that the cornerstone of modern restaurant success lies in understanding and leveraging the value proposition each unique establishment offers to its customers. By identifying customer needs, preferences, and behaviors, restaurant operators can tailor their use of technology and service to provide an unmatched dining experience. As Korsmo expressed, the equilibrium between high tech and high touch elements within the restaurant business is not just advantageous – it's essential for building loyalty and spurring growth.

Today's technological advancements are visibly changing the landscape of the restaurant industry. According to the findings of the 2024 State of the Restaurant Industry report by the National Restaurant Association, the sector is on track for hitting record-breaking sales. This trajectory is accompanied by the clear reality that while the restaurant industry may not have always been synonymous with high tech credentials, it is now seeing a rapid and significant uptake of novel technologies. A striking 76% of operators believe that this technological engagement is pivotal in maintaining a competitive edge.

People: The Heart of the Industry

Korsmo emphasized that despite the influx of technology, the restaurant industry continues to primarily rely on its people—the indispensable service providers who make the magic happen. The high touch aspect concerns the human element of service, the personal connection, the art of creating memorable experiences that contribute to a restaurant's reputation and success. This quality serves as the ultimate differentiator amidst a sea of dining options.

A Vision for the Future

Korsmo's vision for the future of the industry is clear-cut. The experiences created for customers in the physical realm are indispensable in maintaining a loyal patronage. In harnessing technology for customer interaction, establishments can woo new diners into becoming regulars, and turn regulars into fiercely loyal, frequently returning guests. The current market demands innovation in the way customers engage with restaurants, making a precise and thoughtful technology strategy crucial to a restaurant’s success. Nonetheless, she cautioned that this technological strategy must be intimately aligned with the restaurant's distinct value proposition.

Finding a synergy between investing in technology and meeting customer preferences is vital in navigating the new digital landscape. Restaurants can use these investments not only to improve customer interactions but also to address another pressing issue—labor challenges. According to Korsmo, one of the most significant hurdles faced by operators in 2024 is the recruitment and retention of staff.

Technology Enhancing Human Roles

Korsmo reassured that contrary to popular belief, technology is not a harbinger of employee displacement but rather an enhancer of job functions. In her final words, she implored the industry not to view high tech and high touch as alternatives but rather to strive for a harmonious balance that creates unparalleled customer experiences.

Interested parties can delve into the insights and strategies discussed by perusing Korsmo's complete keynote remarks here.

The National Restaurant Association: Pioneering Change

Since its inception in 1919, the National Restaurant Association has established itself as the leading business association for the restaurant sector. Immense by size, the industry consists of over one million restaurant and foodservice outlets, providing livelihoods to a staggering 15.5 million employees. The association’s collaboration with 52 state partners embodies a network of entities dedicated to advocating for, educating, and upholding food safety within every restaurant.

The Industry’s Largest Trade Show

It sponsors several impactful endeavours, with the linchpin being the industry's largest trade show, the National Restaurant Association Show. This event brings together owners, operators, and countless innovative suppliers, setting the stage for the exchange of ideas and the ushering in of ground-breaking changes.

Initiatives for Education and Food Safety

Furthermore, the association champions the critically acclaimed food safety training and certification program, ServSafe, and the unique career-building high school program, the NRAEF's ProStart. Both initiatives demonstrate a firm commitment to culinary education and the professional development of the industry's future leaders.

For additional information, one can visit and follow @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

Contacting the Voice of the Industry

For inquiries and further information about the industry's innovations and Korsmo's vision for the future, Vanessa Sink serves as the point of contact. Vanessa's dedication to retailing the association's message is outmatched only by her depth of knowledge in the field.

Media Contact: Vanessa Sink Email: [email protected] Phone: 913.244.8837

The industry-wide implications of this visionary keynote are manifold. As Korsmo elucidates, the interaction between high tech advancements and the high touch of personalized service is not merely a trend but the new industry standard. By harnessing the right balance of technology, restaurants can not only meet but exceed the evolving expectations of their customers, providing experiences that resonate and foster true brand loyalty.

In essence, Korsmo's address serves as a blueprint for growth and competitiveness in an increasingly digital age. It is a reminder that the heart and soul of the restaurant experience lie in the moments of connection that occur within its walls—moments augmented by the thoughtful application of technology which serves to enhance, not replace, the human element that remains at the core of the industry's identity.

As industry leaders digest and implement Korsmo's insights, the landscape of the restaurant sector is poised to evolve in ways that harmonize the art of hospitality with the power of technological innovation. The National Restaurant Association's continued advocacy for the enmeshment of these drivers of change portends a bright and thriving future for restaurants in 2024 and beyond.

Celebrating over a century of serving and collaborating with restaurants, the National Restaurant Association's commitment to upholding the industry's highest standards through advocacy, education, and food safety is unwavering. Its focus on preparing its members for what lies ahead ensures that the industry is not just responsive to changes but stays ahead of them, carving out a path of success defined by resilience and adaptability.

The anticipation for a transformed industry, galvanized by the integration of high tech solutions and the preservation of high touch service models, has never been greater. As Korsmo's words reverberate across Chicago's bustling halls, it's clear that the future of dining is ready to be served.

In conclusion, the National Restaurant Association Show serves as an incubator for thought leadership and next-gen solutions for an industry that is both historic and forward-thinking. As restaurants around the globe gear up to ride the wave of technological innovation, they do so backed by the wisdom and guidance shared by visionaries like Michelle Korsmo. The message is loud and clear: in the constant quest for excellence, there will always be a seat at the table for those who combine the best of technology with the warmth of human touch.