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National Restaurant Association - Diners seek tableside technology, report says

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Diners seek tableside technology, report says

Restaurant guests want more and better tableside technology when they dine out, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast.

“Integrating technology into a restaurant operation can enhance both customer service and efficiency, and our new research clearly shows that consumers have a strong interest in using tech like smartphone apps, ordering kiosks and mobile payment when dining out,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research at the National Restaurant Association.

More than half of consumers surveyed for this year’s Forecast said they would use tableside electronic payment options at tableservice restaurants and another 44 percent said they would use a tableside ordering system. In addition, nearly one-third of consumers polled said they would use mobile payment options, and four in 10 claimed they would use tablet menus on devices such as iPads. Another 50 percent would use smartphone apps for viewing menus, ordering or making reservations.

At the same time, however, less than one in 10 tableservice restaurants currently offer those options, but 54 percent of operators surveyed said they would invest in more customer-facing technology in 2013.

At quickservice restaurants, 44 percent of consumers said they would use self-order terminals while two in five said they would use smartphone apps to place orders or view menus. Further, more than one-quarter of those polled said they would use mobile payment options. Currently, less than 2 percent of quickservice restaurants offer those technologies, but 48 percent say they plan on investing more in customer-facing technology next year.

“Adding more consumer-facing technology options can be a way for a restaurant to differentiate itself from the competition, especially when it comes to attracting younger consumers, who are more likely than average to be interested in these options,” Riehle said. “Technology in restaurants is becoming more of an expectation than a novelty.”

For more information about or to download the 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, visit Restaurant.org/Forecast - it's free to NRA members.

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