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National Restaurant Association - Technology is top trend for restaurants in 2012

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Technology is top trend for restaurants in 2012

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Technology is finding its place at the restaurant table, according to the National Restaurant Association's 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, released today. Although high-tech items such as wireless payment and iPad menus aren’t commonplace just yet, there is strong consumer interest in such options.

Nearly 4 in 10 consumers say they’d be likely to use an electronic ordering system and menus on tablet computers at tableservice restaurants. About half said they would use at-table electronic payment options and a restaurant’s smartphone app to view menus and make reservations. 

At quickservice restaurants, about 4 out of 10 consumers say they would place online orders for takeout, use in-store self-service ordering kiosks, and use smartphone apps to look at menus and order delivery.

In addition, roughly 3 in 10 of adults said they would like to receive an email with daily specials, while about 1 in 5 prefer text messages with similar information. If a restaurant’s specials were available on Facebook or Twitter, nearly one-third of consumers say they’d be likely to sign up, indicating that social media continues to be a powerful marketing tool.

To further feed consumers’ digital hunger, more than nine out of 10 restaurant operators said their restaurant will likely be using Facebook in the next year or two, with use of Twitter and smartphone applications expected to be on the rise as well.

Giving consumers what they want will be crucial for restaurant operators in 2012. As the recession has caused 8 out of 10 consumers to cut back on spending to some degree, it is more important than ever for operators to nudge those guests into patronizing their restaurants.

According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, food quality, customer service quality and value are the top attributes consumers look for when choosing a tableservice restaurant. For quickservice restaurants, customers are looking for food quality, value and speed of service when picking where to dine.

Healthful Choices chart2012.jpgWhen it comes to food, the top menu trends are all about local sourcing and nutrition, especially kids’ nutrition. Nearly three-quarters of consumers say they are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers locally produced food items, and more than half of all restaurants currently offer locally sourced produce.

Similarly, nearly three-quarters of consumers say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago, and a majority of restaurants agree that customers are ordering more such items.

Read more about what's ahead for restaurants in 2012.

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