New research from the National Restaurant Association underscores that technology is playing a larger role in the restaurant dining experience. Options like online reservations, smartphone ordering and in-store kiosks are becoming more commonplace, and consumers are recognizing the benefits.
“Technology is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives, including interaction with restaurants both remotely and onsite,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association.
“The operator community still faces challenges to offering more customer-facing technology options, most notably cost of implementation and per-usage cost. However, there seems to be little doubt in the minds of both operators and consumers that these options will become more prevalent in the future,” Riehle said.
According to the NRA’s research, 36 percent of consumers say they are more likely to use technology options in restaurants now than they were two years ago, and 65 percent have noticed that restaurants offer more of these options in that same timeframe.
Further, eight in 10 consumers agree that restaurant-related technology enhances convenience, and seven in 10 say it speeds up service and increases order accuracy. Forty-five percent say that technology makes their restaurant interactions more fun. Operators will want to choose carefully which technology options to offer, however, as 37 percent of consumers also say technology makes ordering more complicated.
Integrating consumer-facing technology can pay off for restaurant operators, though, as about one-third of consumers say tech options make them choose one restaurant over another, as well as dine out or order takeout/delivery more often.
The NRA commissioned ORC International to survey 1,006 American adults on May 1-4, 2014, for their attitudes toward restaurant-related technology options.
Previous NRA research shows that nearly half of restaurant operators across segments plan to devote more resources to customer-facing technology this year.