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National Restaurant Association - Guests want more control over dining experience

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Guests want more control over dining experience

Consumers say they want more control over their dining experience and that desire is driving where they will eat out, our research finds.

Whether it involves seating, time of service or access to technology, consumers say they want more choice when they dine out.

The ‘where’ and ‘when’ of it all

When asked if they wanted more power over seating, nearly half of them said yes. In fact, 45 percent indicated they wanted to use website seating charts to choose exact tables when making reservations.

Three out of four consumers also said they’d dine at restaurants at off-peak times if they received a discount to do so. Does anyone else hear the early bird right now?

Technology: the ultimate amuse-bouche

Regarding the use of technology, our research found:

  • 69 percent of consumers would plug into free WiFi if offered to them
  • 64 percent would pay their checks using tableside payment options if available
  • 54 percent would use electronic ordering stations at fullservice restaurants
  • 59 percent said they’d use touch-screen ordering kiosks at quickservice stores

Video: More restaurants byte into technology

Why? It’s all about convenience and comfort, said Annika Stensson, our director of research communications.

”Consumers today – especially younger generations – definitely recognize the benefits of restaurant technology,” she said. “In fact, nearly a quarter of Americans say availability of technology would make them choose one restaurant over another. Right now, we’re seeing more platforms and devices that increase convenience and speed of service. They’re trending strongly right now.”

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