Dining out should be an experience, today most of us have integrated technology into our daily lives. For restaurants technology is being used by consumers and by the restaurant’s staff throughout the entire dining experience. Now servers take orders on handheld electronic devices, restaurants are using digital POS systems, Tablets are on tables to order wine or to review a menu, even the back of the house uses technology to guarantee accurate orders. Technology is most definitely a part of the dining experience at restaurants. In a business that still requires human interaction, does technology improve the dining experience at a restaurant?
Just pick your head up and look around the next time you are dining out at a restaurant. Have you noticed the different ways restaurants are using technology? How about the way consumers are using technology while at a restaurant? Social check-ins and sharing on social media, taking photos or using apps to manage dietary concerns, the use of technology is now fully ingrained into our dining habits. Mobile apps are used for making reservations, smartphones help us find a restaurant’s location and guests share reviews on consumer-driven sites like Yelp.
Cultural shifts don’t occur over-night, some industries and individuals are early adopters of technology while others resist it. While I am a fan of technology, it doesn’t mean I believe smartphones or tablets have a seat at every table. Dining out should be a positive experience, some people like to take photos of their food and document events, while others prefer to escape the confines of connectivity.
The below Infographic created by the National Restaurant Association breaks down 5 ways that restaurants are embracing technology including; payment, ordering, Smartphone apps, (online) websites and social media. All stats are based off of National Restaurant Association research, for more info visit 2013 industry forecast.
Is your restaurant serving up technology?
The above graphic answers questions about technology and restaurants.
- Would customers use technology to place an order with a tablet or self-service app? 41% say yes.
- Would customers use an electronic payment system if offered? 52% say yes.
- Would consumers use a restaurant’s smart phone app if available? 46% say yes.
Customers are becoming more comfortable with technology, integrating technology into your restaurant makes sense if it works for your concept and for your audience. You might not be prepared to operate without a wait staff, like this fully automated Japanese restaurant but who knows maybe someday you will.
One thing your restaurant needs to start doing is marketing your brand online. 61% of consumers have visited a restaurant’s website, with 36% having looked up nutritional information online. And, lets not forget about social media, 9 in 10 restaurants say social media will become a more important marketing tool. What is your restaurant brand waiting for?
Do you use technology while dining out at a restaurant? How have you seen restaurants use technology in a helpful way?