What consumers want out of restaurant tech

panera tablet ordering

Considering the cost of restaurant hardware and software, it can be challenging for operators to stay up to date on current tech trends. However, consumer preferences for in-restaurant tech and online services are changing quickly, especially among millennials, and operators should be aware of what customers want from their dine-in and online experiences. Here’s a look at what consumers expect from tech in restaurants and online, based on data from Technomic’s 2017 Driving Digital Engagement presentation.

Kiosks are rarely used at LSRs

While only 13% of consumers overall have used a self-service kiosk to place an order in LSRs, 20% of 18- to 44-year-olds have done the same.

Consumers think tech is important

A full 38% of consumers think technology amenities are very important at LSRs. Millennials assign even more importance to tech in LSRs, as 50% feel it is very important.

Customers want to read menus on their phones

Some 44% of consumers want restaurant websites to be mobile-friendly. Millennials take the preference for mobile-friendly websites a step further: Nearly half of 18- to 34-year-olds would also like the ability to place orders online or through their mobile phones.

One in four use tabletop tablets

In FSRs, 26% of consumers have used a tabletop tablet. Comparatively, 38% of 18- to 34-year-olds have used a tabletop tablet in FSRs.

Some consumers expect tablets

When deciding where to dine, 24% of consumers prioritize tabletop tablets in their decision. Among 18- to 34-year-olds, a third prioritize tabletop tablets.

Those who use restaurant tech generally like it

Some 78% of consumers say their experience using an automated service was positive. “Consumer online and in-restaurant experience must be consistent,” according to the presentation. It also suggests investing in staff training to get the most out of any investment in tech.

Over half of parents rely on tech to entertain children

A full 55% of parents with kids younger than 12 say it’s very important for a restaurant to offer kid-friendly tech, such as game tablets. Chains that use game-capable tablets include Chili's, Red Robin and Abuelo's.

Third-party delivery is gaining users

While 13% of consumers say they use third-party delivery more often now than they did one year ago, even more young customers—26%—use third-party delivery more than last year.

But third-party delivery isn't as popular as it seems

Just over half of consumers say they never order delivery via third party, and 47% of consumers say they are not likely to use third-party delivery.

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