Press Release

Robots, Ticketing, and Seating Preferences: OpenTable Research Reveals What Diners Do and Don't Want from Technology

May 18, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- OpenTable, the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations and part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ:PCLN), today released the results of its latest "Technology and Dining Out" research survey, which explores diner sentiment toward the use of technology before, during and after the dining experience.

Only 11% of diners are interested in pre-paying for meals.

"Technology throughout the restaurant industry continues to evolve, cater to and sometimes conflict with what diners actually want," said Scott Jampol, Senior Vice President of Marketing, OpenTable. "The goal for this research study is to deliver insights focused on diner sentiment and behaviors that can elevate the overall dining experience and level of hospitality as well as identify areas where technology might deter from the joy that it is inherent to gathering around the restaurant table."

Insights from the March 2017 survey of more than 4,700 OpenTable diners across the United States include:

Before the Meal:

  • Ticketing is still niche: Only 11% of diners are interested in pre-paying for meals.
  • Creepy or Cool? 35% of diners think it's creepy for restaurants to Google them prior to arrival (compared to 31% in 2015).
  • Seat me like a VIP: 56% of diners want restaurants to know their preferred table or seating area. 72% of diners believe choosing a table or seating area would improve their experience.
  • Remember me: Diners also want restaurants to know special dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries (45%), number of times visited (35%) and dietary preferences (26%).
  • Waiting game: 78% of diners said the ability to use technology to add themselves to a waitlist before they arrive at the restaurant would improve their dining experience.
  • Specials: 64% of diners are interested in learning about specials, offers and promotions.

During the Meal:

  • Halt the robots: 68% of diners agree that automation, including robots taking orders or preparing food in restaurants, is a bad thing and takes away from the restaurant and hospitality experience.
  • Don't text and dine: 51% of diners say they hate it when people they're dining with use tech during a meal because it disrupts their experience.
  • Technically solo: When eating alone, diners want their tech to keep them company. 19% use their phones several or multiple times while eating solo at a fine-dining restaurant (32% for those under 34) compared to 41% of diners (and 69% for those 34 and under) dining solo at a counter service restaurants.
  • Oh Snap!: 25% of diners always or frequently take a photo to remember the experience (50% for those 34 and under).
  • Tech to try: Diners want to experiment with new technology they've never used before, with 35% open to mobile payments, so they don't have to wait around for the check or even a button on the dining table to alert staff to an issue (37%).

After the Meal:

  • Loyalty: 22% of diners always or frequently interact with a restaurant's loyalty program.
  • Restaurant apps: Only 6% of diners are very likely to download the app of an individual restaurant chain to their phones or tablets.

Restaurateurs who are interested in learning more can download the entire OpenTable Technology and Dining Out study and can find additional insights and perspective on the Open For Business blog.  OpenTable's first "Technology and Dining Out" study was released in 2015.

About OpenTable:
OpenTable, part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), is the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 22 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 42,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. The OpenTable service enables diners to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus, and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. In addition to the company's website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet's most popular global and local brands. For restaurants, the OpenTable hospitality solutions enable them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations, and enhance their service levels. Since its inception in 1998, OpenTable has seated over 1 billion diners around the world.  OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco and has bookable restaurants in more than 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States.

OpenTable,, OpenTable logos, and other service names are the trademarks of OpenTable, Inc. and/or its affiliates.


68% of diners agree that automation, including robots taking orders or preparing food in restaurants, is a bad thing and takes away from the restaurant and hospitality experience.

OpenTable logo (PRNewsFoto/OpenTable) (PRNewsFoto/OpenTable)

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SOURCE OpenTable, Inc.

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