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21/12/2021 – Science & Technology / Augmented Reality / Takeaway / Foodhub

AUGMENTED TAKEAWAYS: The future of food delivery service

Augmented reality (AR) will enable customers to experience the sights, sounds and possibly even smells, of their favourite takeaway, offering consumers the full takeaway experience without leaving the house. That’s the belief of Ardian Mula, who together with his management team at online food portal Foodhub have put plans in place to develop AR within the business, placing the food delivery company at the forefront of the tech revolution.

Mr Mula says that many of the 20,000 restaurants and takeaways currently partnered with his Stoke-on-Trent-based firm could have access to the tech within just five years. He sees the development as a win-win – for the consumer, who will enjoy a never-before-seen buying experience, and for the trader, with access to a new and exciting marketing tool.

A “game-changer” for takeaway firms and customers alike

“I see this technology as being a game-changer for both the industry and the takeaway consumer. Imagine as a consumer if you could have the full takeaway experience, using just your smartphone and a pair of goggles?” the CEO suggested. “This could allow customers to effectively walk into a takeaway and get the full flavour of the business – from the branding to the shop interior. They could then ‘shop’ their own order, from building a burger to picking a pizza off the shelf, as well as interacting with staff – all from the comfort of their own living room.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, people’s ordering habits have changed, and technology such as this will revitalise the industry in a way we haven’t seen for a long time,” he added.

As progress is made developing this software, Foodhub is also funnelling significant resources into improving the technology available to independent takeaways right now, with the aim of using technology to improve efficiency, order levels and profitability. “Whilst larger chains have had access to different technologies for some time, at Foodhub we want to see a level playing field across the big players within the industry and local high street takeaways,” Mr Mula stressed.

The entirely cashless takeaway

It is also possible that takeaways will soon become entirely cashless, with more affordable technology such as pay by QR becoming the norm. “QR codes can be printed for pennies, a stark contrast to expensive payment hardware,” Mr Mula advised. “In global markets such as India, there has been a big emphasis placed on providing businesses with these more affordable technologies, and we see a big opportunity to providing business owners with the chance to save on tech and instead invest elsewhere.”

In fact, deploying software online will reduce the need for takeaway owners to rely on hardware across the board. Fusion 2.0 – an update to Foodhub’s software system currently in trial with 100 takeaways across the UK – will see traditional tools such as tills and printers being replaced with the need for only one device, such as an iPhone or iPad.

Using one device that can act as a digital chef’s menu, order management system, payment device and a tool to remove boundaries across multiple sites will result in less waste and increased efficiency.

Modularisation within the platform also gives takeaways the ability to access different features, whilst simply and easily being able to turn on and off anything they do not require access to. In turn, this provides access to cutting-edge technology, at an affordable cost.

Transformation through automation

Another development that aims to bring independents in line with larger chains is the more widespread introduction of automation. In practice, this involves kitchens having access to machinery that cooks food the same perfect way every time.

“While this tech, which has been used by big businesses for years, would reduce the need for staff, it would additionally solve staffing issues for many, whilst also resulting in increased customer satisfaction through providing a better, more precise, product,” Mr Mula said. “We’d love to see more independents with access to technology like this.”


An exciting era of evolution

Looking further into the future, within a decade Mr Mula foresees drones and robots delivering food – particularly in more remote rural areas. Overall, he sees it is an incredibly exciting time for an industry that thrived throughout the recent lockdowns and now needs to sustain consumer appetite for food deliveries.

“We’re incredibly excited about the evolution that the food industry is experiencing right now – and Foodhub is pleased to be at the forefront of it,” Mr Mula added in closing. “We are dedicating a lot of resource to ensure that we are on the cutting edge of this technology and are in a position to help our independent partners capitalise when the time is right.”

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