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CHICAGO -- Although restaurants are not yet incorporating technology into their operations in overwhelming numbers, consumers are increasingly interested in the use of technology when dining out, according to Technomic's study “Market Intelligence Report: Consumer-Facing Technology." A majority of consumers expect to use technology to order food at restaurants more often within the next year, and only three percent anticipate using it less than they do now, signaling a clear path for restaurant operators who have yet to make use of emerging tech.
In the early stages of foodservice tech usage, consumers are most interested in tableside touchscreen devices that allow them to self-order and pay, iPad/tablet menus and digital rewards tied to loyalty programs.
"Technology can be used as a point of differentiation within the restaurant industry…especially with Millennials," stated Technomic Executive Vice President Darren Tristano. "Operators who stay ahead of the curve, in an increasingly competitive market, will need to evaluate the best use for the latest tech trends and decide how to integrate them into their operations in a way that's efficient and beneficial to consumers. It should complement and enhance the restaurant experience for all age groups, which may mean having a printed menu available, as well as an iPad/tablet."
Notable findings in Technomic's new report on consumer-facing technology include:
- 51 percent of panelists consider it important for restaurants to integrate technology into their ordering capabilities;
- Technologies related to ordering, coupons or special offers sent via e-mail or text message have the highest usage rates, and nearly three-fifths of panelists report using these at least once per month;
- Wi-Fi access and LCD flatscreen TVs are used the most among technologies designed to entertain restaurant-goers;
- Consumers are most receptive to technology-based orders at casual-dining restaurants; and
- in general, younger consumers are more interested in technology at restaurants than older diners. Consumers aged 18 to 44 are far more likely to report connecting to their favorite restaurants via mobile app and order using a touchscreen kiosk. Millennials, aged 25 to 34, show the highest interest.
The new report examines consumer behavior, attitudes and preferences toward technology at restaurants, with data based on survey results from 500 U.S. adults, Technomic said. To learn more or purchase the report, click here.