Releases New Industry Technology Research
The National Restaurant Association is hosting its first-ever Restaurant Innovation Summit this week in Denver, Colo. The inaugural event has brought together restaurant and foodservice professionals from all aspects of the industry to focus on customer engagement through emerging technology.
With leaders from Google, Square, MOPro, Wendy’s, Bloomin’ Brands and Dunkin’ Brands, among others, the summit is featuring sessions on utilizing mobile technology, maximizing in-store and out-of-store customer interaction and leveraging big data. Colorado Governor and former restaurateur John Hickenlooper also delivered remarks today.
“Consumers crave technology and we are beginning to see the need for technological expansion in our industry now more than ever,” said Atlanta restaurateur John C. Metz Jr., chairman of the National Restaurant Association Board of Directors’ Profitability and Entrepreneurship Committee. “The summit is designed to provide restaurant operators in all segments and company sizes innovative new ways of engaging guests through emerging technology while keeping up with consumer demands.”
During today’s session, the NRA released new research on consumer use of technology options in restaurants.
“Technology can add convenience and efficiency to the customer experience, as well as provide productivity benefits to restaurant operators,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research and Knowledge for the National Restaurant Association. “Following wider societal technology trends, we’re seeing that younger consumers are much more likely to interact with restaurants on their smartphones than older adults. However, there is a substantial number of older consumers who say they would use smartphone apps for certain things, like looking up directions and finding nutrition information.”
The new NRA research shows that 63 percent of adults have used restaurant-related technology options in the past month. More than two in five have used a smartphone to find restaurant locations and directions, or viewed menus and placed orders on a computer. One in five has ordered takeout/delivery or looked up nutrition information on a smartphone or tablet.
Younger consumers are more likely to have used these restaurant technology options. Seven out of 10 consumers age 18 to 34 have looked up locations and directions on a smartphone or tablet on the past month, half have used a computer to order food or make reservations, 35 percent have placed takeout/delivery orders on a smartphone or tablet, and more than one-quarter has used a smartphone to find nutrition information.
In addition, consumers say they are likely to use technology options if they were available in restaurants. Half of all adults say they would use a smartphone or tablet app to place takeout/delivery orders, while three-quarters of 18-to-34-year-olds say the same.
When asked in which area they would most like to see restaurants adding technology options, loyalty programs and ordering topped the list, followed by reservations, entertainment, and payment.
Consumers were also asked about their likelihood to use an option to split the check among dining companions and pay with a smartphone if it were available. One-third says they would use such a feature, and once again, younger consumers came in at a substantially higher proportion at 53 percent.
In addition to its latest technology research, the NRA today released a new policy paper, “Mobile Commerce in the Restaurant Industry,” focusing on mobile commerce options and policy priorities relating to mobile payments and consumer engagement. This paper addresses critical issues within the industry such as consumer demand, privacy and security, technology integration, and the cost of technology to accept payments.
Research has shown the restaurant industry will be on the front lines of customer experiences with mobile commerce. More than half of all adults say they would opt for an electronic pay-at-the-table option if a fullservice restaurant offered it; 40 percent of adults ages 18 to 34 say they would pay for their quickservice restaurant orders by mobile or wireless device if they could.
For more information regarding tech trends or restaurant industry research visit Restaurant.org/Research.
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