5G and Blockchain to Transform the F&B Industry. Here's What You Need to Know.
Don't miss the inside scoop on what to expect from future F&B tech
We've never lived in an age where technology is as widely-used and important for business as it is now. Just in the F&B industry alone, we're seeing the adoption of technologies on all fronts that are changing the entire landscape of the industry. From CRM, loyalty programs and automation on the restaurant side to social media apps like Yelp, Instagram and Food Panda on the customer side, the way we use technology to interact with food is on a scale like never before.
Now though, we're set for two new revolutions in the form of 5G and Blockchain. While you may have heard of these terms floating around in passing conversations or news articles, chances are, it's usually not related to the F&B industry. However, for those in the F&B industry to ignore these technological advancements would be a huge mistake as they are set to change the very way the F&B industry operates. Here's the inside scoop as to how blockchain and 5G are likely going to impact your F&B business in the next few years.
5G - More than Just Boosted Speed
Even without considering 5G, many F&B businesses have begun moving away from traditional analog operations and have instead adopted  "mobile and online ordering, digital signage and cloud-based scheduling platforms." While these new technologies increase efficiency and improve a business' flexibility and capabilities, 5G promises to provide a whole lot more. At the crux of the matter, 5G will provide ultra high speeds and ultra low latency. Indeed,  "with speeds of up to 100 gigabits per second, 5G is set to be as much as 100 times faster than 4G."
What Are the Benefits of 5G?
1. You can expect that 5G to greatly impact the food delivery sector as it will allow smart cars and drones to operate with far greater efficiency, accuracy and success.
2. The ultra-fast data speeds will also mean that more and more restaurants can operate without storefronts. This could lead to the creation of more ghost restaurants, which have no storefront and are solely comprised of a kitchen to take and prepare orders for delivery.
3. Sharing an experience of a restaurant can be an instantaneous experience as food bloggers and regular diners will be able to post videos of their experience on the spot. Just for context,  "Instead of downloading a video in seven minutes on today’s network, it could take eight seconds on 5G."
4. Robotics and automation will also receive a huge boost from 5G networks. Automated and smart kitchen equipment will be able to communicate with one another while relaying important information to kitchen staff with no lag or latency. This would make kitchen operations far more efficient and capable.
5. 5G will allow us to track everything to a higher degree. This means that  "how we source, track and even dispose of food might change with 5G.”
6. Finally, virtual and augmented reality will also be a greatly-beneficial byproduct of 5G networks. Virtual reality is made far more powerful and capable by 5G networks. This means that restauranteurs will be able to advertise directly within apps like Google Maps, which could show real-time information about what customers point their phones at in the future. It can also allow restaurants to train their staff through virtual reality so that no food is wasted in the process.
Blockchain - Not Only Cryptocurrency
While most people think of Blockchain as the enabler for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, this technology can have a far greater impact on other industries. In terms of F&B, Blockchain can be used specifically to make food traceability more transparent. This is possible because  "Blockchain [contains] secured data that is verified by multiple parties and incorporates automated processes. Once you have trusted data, then you can digitally execute contractual agreements.” If your suppliers were using a Blockchain system, they would be part of a network that does not require manual verification for each step of the supply-chain process. Instead, these companies can communicate through secure data - instantly and in real time.
What Are the Benefits of Blockchain?
1. Blockchain makes it quicker and simpler to track and manage the data would otherwise require slow, tedious manual communication from multiple business entities.
2. Food suppliers can provide more accurate information to their customers about their products. For example, Golden State Foods, McDonald's' beef supplier,  "has been using blockchain to better capture food temperature and production times so that franchisees and their employees know the exact shelf life left and which products to use first."
3. Blockchain lets suppliers track just how quickly their customers go through their products. This allows suppliers to better predict when to send over new shipments while also determining how much to produce.
4. Businesses will be able to let customers see where their food comes from. For example,  "Starbucks is using blockchain to share where a customer’s coffee comes from, a feature that will be added to its mobile app. Customers will be able to scan a coffee bag and see its journey from farm to store."