Investors & Entrepreneurs Make 2024 Predictions
Soaring labor costs, false promises and searching for product-market fit
2024 is already in full swing, with major announcements coming out of CES (check back Monday for a full roundup.) While we already heard from some of the industry’s leaders about 2023’s most unexpected developments, let’s get their predictions for the year ahead. We asked some of the food tech and restaurant automation world’s top investors and entrepreneurs “What do you think the industry has to look forward to, and guard against, in 2024?”
Amodini Chhabra - Director, Compass Digital Ventures:
“In 2024, the industry anticipates embracing new fintech opportunities within the food retail sector, fostering end-to-end experiences. This promises enhanced operational efficiency for business operators and an improved overall experience for customers.
On the flip side, vigilance is required in the face of the AI revolution. It's crucial to guard against solutions that may not be "pain killers," lacking clear problem-solving applications. It is important to ensure that adopted technologies genuinely address industry challenges and contribute to meaningful advancements.”
Darian Ahler - Former Head of Product Strategy, Vebu Labs & CEO, Bobacino:
“It all comes back to money. Hardware development takes a lot of time and money to scale a product into the real world. It's still a tough funding environment out there for startups, so they are exploring ways to keep their costs down or alternative ways to bring cash in. On the restaurant side, labor is going to take an even bigger hit. The fast food industry is already struggling to staff their stores. With the $20/hr minimum wage in California coming in April, this won't do much to alleviate staffing challenges and will also make it more expensive. If left unsolved, this will all hit companies' bottom lines in a big way.”
Editor’s Note: The minimum wage increase is specific to FSRs and QSRs with 60+ nationwide locations.
Clayton Wood - Venture Partner, Redstick Ventures & Former CEO, Picnic: