A recent report from Nation's Restaurant News (NRN) shows most consumers believe that the food-service industry has a significantly higher potential for technological integration than it currently does.
The report was supported by a survey conducted by food-tech start-up OpenTable, which polled over 6,000 of its users on how they used technology to interact with their dining experience. A walloping 76 percent of respondents claimed that technology could play either a "much bigger" or "somewhat bigger" role, especially at limited-service restaurants.
More questionable was the role of technology in fine dining experiences, with only 12 percent claiming they saw it playing a "much bigger role" in that venue, and only 34 percent saying it could play a "somewhere bigger" role.
It should be noted that, as the poll's respondents were all at least one time user of OpenTable, their opinions are likely not entirely representative of the public's current perspective on the issue. What it is representative, however, is the general consensus of users who have already been exposed to the world of restaurant technology. The consumer interest is definitely there, it just needs to be fully sparked.
The survey also measured how frequently respondents used web-based options and other technological integrations before trying a new restaurant. 88 percent of people polled frequently made reservations online, 87 percent used the Internet to find new restaurants, and 60 percent regularly used review aggregation sites to better inform their decision making. All of these responses point to a food-service industry that is not only already thriving in the world of technology, but one that has the potential to harness it for much greater gains.
One of the more interested sets of information collected by OpenTable were lists of personal preferences diners wished restaurants knew about them before arriving. Sixty-four percent of respondents wished restaurants knew their seating preferences, 43 percent of them wanted establishments to be aware of any special occasions for the visit, 19 percent wanted servers to be pre-informed of any allergies, and 23 percent said they wanted staff to know who the check should be given to.
While 18 percent of respondents didn't want restaurants to have any additional information, the other 82 percent of respondents hint at what could be immensely successful Internet-of-Things integration for the industry.
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