Technology Is Now Part of The Restaurant Experience

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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?

serving-up-technology-300x181Just 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.

Are consumers ready to fully embrace ordering food or to make payments on tablets and smartphones?

The below Infographic created by the National Restaurant Association breaks down 5 ways that restaurants are embracing technology including; paymentorderingSmartphone apps,(online) websites and social media. All stats are based off of National Restaurant Association research, for more info visit 2013 industry forecast.

NRA-Infographic

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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 media9 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?

This article “Technology Is Now Part of The Restaurant Experience” first appeared on Brand Education

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David Schwartz
David is a Brand Strategist focused on building relevant brands, while creating valuable consumer relationships to promote engagement. By utilizing the popularity of digital and mobile media, along with the social web he helps companies understand the power of controlling their content. David started his career working for MTV in New York, he then proceeded to Atlanta to work with the likes of Coca-Cola, Chick-fil-A and the Home Depot. From his time working with companies of all sizes he has learned that a strong brand is the key to long term success by turning customers into brand advocates. Now living in Nashville with his wife and two children, David works with companies of all sizes teaching and consulting on best practices for building a brand in the digital age.
David Schwartz

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Helping Brands transition to a digital world by building a foundation w/Social Media & Blogging. Your Brand isn't going anywhere, neither is the web. @1ad_dad
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  1. David, great post. I know I do look at menus before going to new retaurants and read the reviews as well. It would be nice to make reservations via a smartphone or app and also order for takeout that way. A few restaurants offer it but not many. Some still don't have websites, hard to believe! Foursquare is another place many should be on and ready for.
    My recent post Would Your Restaurant Be Found Easily When They Are Searching?

  2. Thanks Lisa, it is shocking how many restaurants aren't embracing technology, let alone investing in a website, social media or a content marketing plan.

  3. Good article. As you pointed out… getting most restaurants to be tech savvy is a challenge. Hard to believe that in 2013 restaurants still don't have websites, but way too many just don't have them. They clearly don't get it.
    My recent post 4 Awesome Ways To Create A Great Restaurant Website Blog

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