How restaurants can create personal experiences in the digital age

Photograph: Shutterstock

The pandemic has inevitably taken some personal elements out of the typical restaurant experience today. Often, consumers are opting to order online for contactless delivery or curbside pickup instead of sitting down in a dining room, foregoing in-person interactions for the sake of safety.

Maximizing online operations and contactless services has benefited operators and consumers alike. But no matter how restaurateurs choose to shift their operations, giving diners a personalized, engaging experience remains key to keeping customer satisfaction and retention high.

Consumers call for personalization

When it comes to creating human-centered experiences, there are few frontiers more promising than using consumer data to personalize and improve services all around. And, importantly, consumers are largely in favor of data-driven personalization.

According to Technomic’s 2020 Foodservice Technology Consumer Trend Report, more than one-third of consumers order online for takeout from restaurants, and over 28% order online for delivery. They want these online ordering experiences to be as seamless as possible, noting that they expect to be able to use a search feature on the site or app to customize menu items as they order them., They also expect to be able to pay for their off-premise orders online, too. In addition, about a third of consumers say they order through a different channel—or another restaurant altogether—when these priorities aren’t met.

Beyond the basics of ordering, paying and customizing online, consumers are interested in even more ways to make a frictionless ordering process. And especially when it comes to ordering via smartphone app, personalization is vital: Thirty-six percent of consumers say they expect to be able to save their payment information in the app, and 39% expect to be able to save their previous orders and their favorite menu items. Beyond offering convenience to consumers, operators who offer these features gain the benefit of using consumer data to further tailor each diner’s experience.

Data-driven insights change the game 

The data insights operators can reap from online customer interactions are at the forefront of creating the human-centered experiences that keep diners coming back. Loyalty programs are a must, encouraging repeat visits with customized recommendations for the consumer. Technologies such as personalized promotions and marketing, as well as geofencing technologies and location services, empower operators to engage the right customers at the right time—helping restaurants not only to make the sale, but also to boost customer satisfaction and retention.

Importantly, consumer data is, for restaurateurs, a tool; it’s not merely having the data that matters, but knowing how to interpret and leverage insights from the data as well. To truly understand the customer and offer them a personalized, engaging experience, operators must first understand the data.

That’s where NCR comes in. As an industry leader in business technologies, NCR offers the expertise operators need in order to stay at the forefront of each new opportunity consumer data unlocks. With specialized services for boosting consumer engagement and loyalty in restaurants, NCR supports mobile rewards, loyalty programs and consumer-facing communications online, as well as the ability to collect and apply valuable consumer data, including purchase history, preferences, number of visits and more.

To learn more about how NCR can help bring a personal touch even as restaurants face unprecedented circumstances, visit

This post is sponsored by NCR


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