OpenTable Research Reveals What Canadian Diners Want from Technology
"Restaurants are embracing new technology to improve the front and back of house, but as it continues to evolve, it can occasionally conflict with what diners actually want," says
Insights from the Technology and Dining Out survey of diners across
Before the meal:
- Best seat in the house: Fifty-six per cent of diners want restaurants to know their preferred table or seating area. Seventy-six per cent of diners believe choosing a table or seating area would improve their experience.
- It's about the little things: Diners also want restaurants to know special dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries (44 per cent), number of times visited (33 per cent) and dietary preferences (29 per cent).
- Skip the line: Seventy-two per cent of diners would like the option to add themselves to the waitlist before they arrive.
- Cool or Creepy: Fifty-three per cent of diners think it's a good idea or are not bothered by the idea of restaurants Google searching them prior to their arrival.
During the meal:
- Focus on the food: Forty-six per cent of diners say they hate it when people they're dining with use tech during a meal because it disrupts their experience.
- Oh snap! Eight per cent of diners take photos during their meals to remember the experience.
- A human touch: Sixty-five per cent of diners agree that automation, including robots taking orders and preparing food, takes away from the experience of dining out.
- Technically solo: When eating alone, diners want their tech to keep them company. Twenty-two per cent use their phones several or multiple times while eating solo at a fine-dining restaurant (33 per cent for those under 34) compared to 47 per cent of diners (and 71 per cent for those 34 and under) dining solo at a counter service restaurant.
- Tech to try: Diners want to experiment with technology they've never used before, with 50 per cent open to mobile payments so they don't have to wait around for the cheque, or even a button on the dining table to alert staff to an issue (37 per cent).
After the meal:
- Keep them coming back: Twenty per cent of diners always or frequently interact with a restaurant's loyalty program (a further 27 per cent use them sometimes).
- Restaurant apps: Only four per cent of diners are very likely to download the apps of individual restaurants they've visited.
"Having multiple apps for the same function can be cumbersome," says Schierau. "Diners want an easy and efficient way to streamline the reservation process with the ability to browse restaurants, view menus and reserve a table, all through a single platform."
*These findings are based on an online survey of 275
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