Technology can enhance the dining experience for consumers short on time but who crave personalization, according to new National Restaurant Association research.

Our 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast found that diners increasingly rely on smartphone apps, tablets, self-serve kiosks and other tech to make orders faster, easier and more accurate.

Below are seven tech takeaways from our research and what they mean for restaurants:

1. One in four customers factors in technology when deciding where to eat.


Smartphone apps, tablets, online and electronic ordering, and free Wi-Fi can tip some diners to choose one restaurant over another.

2. Some technology makes dining out more complicated.


 Forty-two percent say technology makes restaurant visits more difficult to navigate, versus 37 percent a year ago. The lesson: It’s important for operators to consider the user experience when adding new technology.

3. Young customers want technology as part of the dining experience.

Among millennials, the availability of technology is an important factor when choosing a restaurant. Thirty-two percent of 18- to 34-year-olds say it factors into their choice of quickservice restaurant, while 28 percent say it helps them make their fullservice restaurant choices.

4. Tableside payment stations and devices are gaining acceptance with diners.


Though this technology is still relatively uncommon, 63 percent of diners say they’d be willing to use it, compared with 48 percent a year ago.

5. Social media is part of the dining experience.


One quarter of restaurant guests take pictures of their food to post online. Twenty-two percent of consumers shared positive information on social media, compared with 12 percent who shared negative information.

6. Online reviews and social media help people decide where to dine.


According to the Forecast, 36 percent of diners factor in information from Yelp, TripAdvisor and other review sites when choosing a restaurant. Thirty-four percent use information on social media to make their decisions.

7. Consumers use technology to get nutrition information.


Among regular smartphone and tablet users in 2015, nearly one-quarter went online at least once a month to look up restaurant nutrition information. Twelve percent said they did so at least weekly.

Download the National Restaurant Association’s 2016 Restaurant Industry Forecast here.