Restaurant Technology: What Customers Expect

Restaurant Technology: What Customers Expect

There’s a bewildering array of technology options available to restaurant operators, each claiming to make your operation more productive and profitable. Which ones matter most to your patrons? A leading POS maker surveyed customers to find out.

ParTech Inc. conducted an online survey of 1,277 consumers from the U.S. and Canada, asking for their views about dining and technology. The findings were an eye-opener, at least from the restaurant operator’s perspective.

“The results of the restaurant consumer survey highlight just how early technology now becomes involved in the dining consumer’s thought process and how pervasive technology is in delivering an interactive restaurant experience,” says Scott Langdoc, ParTech’s chief technology officer. “This validates the contention that focusing on traditional investments in restaurant marketing, loyalty and POS will simply not be enough to maintain competitive positioning and existing market share, and that those operators who broaden interactions with their consumers with advanced technologies are set up to win in a very big way.”

This insight may be the key takeaway for many restaurants, but may not apply to every restaurant in every segment. Yet most operators will find plenty of food for thought in the five key trends the ParTech survey identified:

  • A very successful shift to targeted restaurant promotions is underway.
  • Technology creates proportionally more opportunities with frequent diners.
  • Social networks are changing restaurant marketing—forever.
  • Real-time order influence works.
  • The “Millennials” demographic is influenced much differently than the average restaurant customer.

Digging into the details, here are some key numbers the ParTech survey turned up:

• 52 percent of survey respondents said they have chosen a restaurant solely because of an online advertisement or email offer.

• 42 percent of respondents had eaten at a previously unvisited restaurant solely because of information gathered online from user-generated reviews at sites like Epinions, OpenTable, Yelp or Zagat.

• 62 percent of respondents said they “might consider” or “seriously consider” changing their order based on a specific discount, combo or promotional offer made during the creation of a restaurant order (via either POS terminal or server).

• 72 percent of the “Millennials” demographic (defined as ages 16-24 for this survey) expressed serious interest in receiving location-based restaurant offers on their mobile phones.

ParTech says data from its survey suggests restaurant operators need a new business strategy and may wish to think about acquiring new technology that best supports it. ParTech, naturally, is hoping you’ll buy that new technology from them, so you’d probably want to take this information with a grain of salt. However, in the current everybody-wants-a-deal climate restaurant operators are in now, it’s hard to argue with many of the conclusions the company makes.