Spencer Stuart: The Future of Restaurant Leadership

Going Digital While Maintaining the Human Connection

The restaurant industry has taken a quantum leap forward in the last ten years. Once a cash business that regarded the takeout window as a cutting-edge innovation, the sector is being reshaped by developments such as mobile technology, facial recognition and driverless delivery.

What will these and other technological advancements mean for the future of the industry?

Sheila M. O'Grady of Spencer Stuart's Hospitality & Leisure Practice focuses on restaurant companies, both public and private. She spoke with CEOs and other top leaders of prominent quick-service, fast-casual and full-service restaurants to explore what’s ahead for this dynamic industry and the implications for leadership, talent and culture. Some of the new technologies across ordering and delivery platforms include:

  • Facial recognition for payment
  • AI and voice recognition to digitize phone conversations
  • Kiosks in the front of the restaurant that allow “frictionless” ordering
  • Increasingly automated kitchens
  • Tabletop devices that let people get their check and pay without flagging down the server
  • Driverless cars and drones for delivery

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