5G promises to change restaurants forever. Suggestive selling can keep you caffeinated even when you don’t realize you need a coffee. And, IoT is allowing the restaurant industry to be more data driven. We are connecting delivery bags, coolers, and even food waste recycling.

One could say we are on a technology tipping point for the restaurant industry. An industry that has been steady in terms of growth over the last few years has major potential to tip the scales in revenue and customer experience.

What’s the tipping point? Compute, speed, and ultra-low latency (latency is the time it takes to get a response to information sent). This year at the National Restaurant Association, we will discuss and share several technologies that are re-shaping the Restaurant Industry from how we engage with our consumers, crews, and supply chains. Our solutions will soon change many of our interactions from how we read menus, order and received food, and deliver content to our customers and crews, to reinventing loyalty solutions, and even recycling our food into renewable energy.


5G is at the helm of all the changes we can expect to see in the restaurant industry.  Think about the technology that’s already changing the industry – digital menu boards, mobile POS and ordering, delivery services – and so much more. It all requires a network to make these things possible.

Simply put 5G will eventually be faster with lower latency than we’ve seen with 4G networks. It will enable seamless interaction across your restaurant and consumer experiences.

Through this next generation of mobility we will enable new automation and robotics experiences from how your food is prepared and cooked to how you communicate and market to your consumers. We will make training a virtual reality experience that can speed product rollouts or enhance consistency of your brand. We will enable drone and autonomous delivery experiences that will forever change the restaurant industry.

5G is already here, and we can expect to see the impacts evolving the industry for years to come. AT&T is helping enable these evolutionary experiences.

Internet of Things

IoT can help address a $218 billion¹ problem in the restaurant industry – food waste. 

McCormick Place, North America’s largest convention center and venue for National Restaurant Association, has installed Emerson’s Grind2Engery system. Using AT&T’s IoT solutions and Emerson’s specialized InSinkerator® grinder, this technology allows McCormick Place to advance its already leading sustainability efforts and convert food waste into renewable energy through anaerobic digestion.

With AT&T Global SIMs and IoT solutions, Emerson’s Grind2Energy system can provide near real-time environmental sustainability information, performance data reporting and data analytics that allows McCormick Place to reduce food waste.  See this release to learn more.

Digital Transformation

From Fine Dining to Quick Service to Fast Casual, restaurants are investing where the revenue is and are focused on ways of improving their consumer experiences through digital transformation. Technology is now a critical business enabler for every brand and restaurant segment. As we help transform computing, increase speeds and provide ultra-low latency, we will enable a host of artificial intelligence and machine learning experiences.

Machine learning will transform digital experiences through content personalization and suggestive selling, enabling learning from each interaction to alter the message and experience at your drive through to dining table based on a multitude of conditions.

Imagine this scenario. You enter a drive through. It’s cold outside. You pull up to get your kids a quick afternoon snack. The network recognizes your device and based on the temperature outside, and your previous visits, the content is adjusted to highlight a warm vanilla latte promotion. You leave with happy kids and fully caffeinated.

Alternatively, you are seated in a Fine Dining restaurant where you have signed up for a brand loyalty experience. You begin to search through the wine list on a tablet on your table. The network identifies you based on your device and is able to highlight previous selections and make recommendations based on your palate and preferences.  

This is something that’s not in the future. It’s here and AT&T is already working with several restaurant chains to make this a reality.

We can expect great change across the restaurant industry through the use of technology. We will see and feel the world through new senses and interact with each differently than before. The network is becoming an overlay on top of our physical world. 5G will bring improvements to technologies like IoT, business automation, and suggestive selling. It has the speed and compute power needed to change industries.  We are on this road together and will utilize these new capabilities to create positive change for business, consumers and employees.