Restaurants and Technology

Restaurants and Technology - smartphone user

Restaurants and Technology are often entwined. You can reserve a table online, order food via mobile apps, get ‘live updates’ on digital beer tap displays, instantly share your food photos via social media, and even pay with your smartphone.

These are just some of the ways in which technology has changed the restaurant industry, and more and more guests are adapting to these systems and habits becoming the new norm.

Recently, the National Restaurant Association conducted research to see how fast these technologies are being picked up, and shared some great insights into the ways in which consumers interacted with restaurants and technology.

Hudson Riehle, SVP of Research for the NRA said, “As restaurants integrate more customer-facing technology, usage among consumers is growing. When done right, it can help a restaurant’s productivity and the customer experience.

Measuring and acknowledging trends are important to any business, and the NRA has completed some solid analysis that is worth checking out:

Restaurants and Technology Survey Key Takeaways

70% of consumers own or regularly use a smartphone or tablet computer.

50% of smartphone owners look up nutrition information on their devices several times per year.

25% of smartphone owners use their phones to pay for meals several times per year.

33% of consumers are more likely to use technology options in restaurants now than two years ago.

Those who are not using technology options in restaurants were asked the main reason why:
50% prefer dealing with human beings,
15% don’t know how,
12% don’t have those options at restaurants they usually patronize,
5% don’t trust the technology to work correctly.

The NRA also broke down the data by generations, and was able to quantify some of the differences between baby boomers and the ‘born-into-technology’ millenials, as per the infographic below.

Restaurants and Technology Infographic- Smartphone Generation NRA


While this is a growing segment of the population, and though technology is important in restaurants, it should be considered a supporting role at most. We are still some way from fully integrated systems being a natural part of the dining experience, and anyone who aims to rely solely on technology options will limit their potential audience.

Riehle went on to emphasize this by saying that the restaurant industry is “still an industry of hospitality where the human factor will always be paramount.

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