Posted: 17 Feb. 2022 7 min. read

Industry clouds and the future of the restaurant industry

 A blog post by Brian Campbell, principal, Deloitte Consulting, Nicholas Merizzi, principal, Cloud Strategy, and Diana Kearns-Manolatos, senior manager, Deloitte Center for Integrated Research


New research from Deloitte estimates that industry clouds could help to accelerate digital development for as much as 64% of the US$1 trillion cloud market—a $640 billion potential market. We’ve discussed why and how organizations can take advantage of the industry cloud opportunity in our recent post, “The industry cloud opportunity,” but let’s delve deeper to look at industry clouds in action specific to the restaurant industry.

Accelerating the digital future of the restaurant industry

Industry clouds are digital building blocks that bring sector-specific, 21st-century digital blueprints and modular high-tech capabilities to accelerate change. With industry clouds, every organization has access to the same technology, but it is how they uniquely use it to enable their overarching enterprise and digital strategy that makes the difference. It is where they invest their internal talent and tools that drives the competitive advantage. For the capabilities that are not unique, proprietary, differentiated or part of the “secret sauce” of that strategy, industry clouds can help to hypercharge the change with nimbleness, scalability, optionality, and stability.

We can look at this balancing act of strategy and technology, as well as internal and external ecosystem collaboration, in action by examining the future of the restaurant industry. During the pandemic, the restaurant industry as a whole was dramatically impacted. Large franchises and small mom-and-pop shops alike were forced to close their physical locations to reassess delivery models, reimagine customer engagement strategies, and much more. While some may have had mature digital applications for ordering or partnerships with platform companies for delivery, others needed to create digital-first business models rapidly to meet their customers where they were—at home. This disruptive moment in time provides a window into the future of the restaurant industry.

Now, restaurants are taking these timely lessons and looking long term to determine strategic use cases to become a “restaurant of the future.” They will have to consider digital strategies not just for the pandemic-ridden time but beyond that, impacting menus and product management, customer experience and engagement, restaurant operations, and supply chain management. 

Source: Reimagining digital transformation with industry clouds


To become a restaurant of the future, restaurants might need to innovate, from pricing-optimization-as-a-service and personalized dynamic menus to AI-enabled drive-thrus and blockchain-enabled food networks. Restaurants and those enabling that ecosystem can start by looking at the digital use cases that deliver the greatest revenue opportunity, address the most pressing customer demands, and create opportunity where there is white space in the market. Organizations can use this strategy-led approach to prioritize their top digital use cases and assess which digital capabilities would be the source of competitive advantage. After the business strategy is defined, organizations might then assess the technology ecosystem build strategy. This is where industry clouds and ecosystem partners have the potential to accelerate the development and extend resources.

One global restaurant chain, for example, worked with its internal and external Strategy, Cloud and Technology integration ecosystem leaders to define their digital strategy, develop a list of potential use cases to pursue objectives aligned to it, and prioritize five critically strategic use cases to advance its digital strategy:

  1. Customer sentiment sensing – Using sentiment analysis and social listening to monitor, observe, and analyze customer reviews across social media platforms and to generate insights and recommended operational changes.
  2. Elevated customer experience recommendations – Providing real-time offers and recommendations to in-person, onsite guests by using geofencing and location data.
  3. Connected restaurant – Creating an interoperable ecosystem of digital platforms across autonomous devices, point of sale, and digital signage to ingest, fulfill, and track orders.
  4. Predictive maintenance – Analyzing equipment service history to predict and prevent future potentially disruptive service outages.
  5. Augmented workforce solutions – Using enhanced visual technologies and equipment to augment staff training.

Then, they used industry clouds to help accelerate the customer sentiment sensing use case. Internal and external pod engineering teams worked together to quickly advance the app, drive-thru, and in-store pickup digital experience.

While industry clouds for the restaurant sector may include creating a unique digital blueprint for processes specific to that industry, the concept itself applies across all major industries. Pick an industry, and there will be a growing number of industry cloud ecosystem capabilities available for your industry, your sector, and your organization to accelerate your digital strategy. First, define the digital strategy. Then shift your operating model to agile, pod engineering teams for faster innovation to enable the differentiation at the heart of your strategy. Finally, consider co-creating with partners to achieve the greatest potential advantage.


For more on this topic, read our related research, “Reimagining digital transformation with industry clouds.” 

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David Linthicum

David Linthicum

Managing Director | Chief Cloud Strategy Officer

As the chief cloud strategy officer for Deloitte Consulting LLP, David is responsible for building innovative technologies that help clients operate more efficiently while delivering strategies that enable them to disrupt their markets. David is widely respected as a visionary in cloud computing—he was recently named the number one cloud influencer in a report by Apollo Research. For more than 20 years, he has inspired corporations and start-ups to innovate and use resources more productively. As the author of more than 13 books and 5,000 articles, David’s thought leadership has appeared in InfoWorld, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, NPR, Gigaom, and Prior to joining Deloitte, David served as senior vice president at Cloud Technology Partners, where he grew the practice into a major force in the cloud computing market. Previously, he led Blue Mountain Labs, helping organizations find value in cloud and other emerging technologies. He is a graduate of George Mason University.

Brian Campbell

Brian Campbell

Principal | Deloitte Consulting LLP

Brian is a principal in Deloitte Consulting’s Strategy practice. Brian specializes in growth strategy, go-to-market strategy, business model transformation, and digital transformation with a focus on high-tech. He spends a significant amount of his time working with the cloud hyperscalers and other technology leaders to drive growth, innovation, and both top and bottom line improvement for clients across industries. He co-leads Deloitte's Technology-Powered Business Transformation offering. Brian’s functional experience spans strategy, sales, marketing, finance, IT, HR, and operations. When he’s not working, Brian loves to ski, bike, and play golf. A proud Canadian, he is also an avid traveler and visits family and friends all over the globe whenever he gets the chance. His greatest passion is being a Dad to his two young kids and husband to wife Ally.

Nicholas Merizzi

Nicholas Merizzi

Principal | Cloud Strategy

Nicholas is a principal in Deloitte’s Cloud Strategy offering where he supports global clients across multiple industries. Nicholas leverages more than 20 years of experience to enable global organizations achieve their cloud and digital goals at enterprise scale. Whether it be mapping a path for transformation, modernizing complex IT systems, or exploring emerging technologies that enable business strategies, Nicholas has proven success helping companies navigate their specific digital transformation needs. It’s his goal to bring strategy, depth in infrastructure, and data center acumen to clients by being at the forefront of the cloud and digital tech transformation landscape. Today, Nicholas leads Deloitte’s global Industry Cloud offering, which is a portfolio of industry-specific business capabilities activated by cloud enabled services.