Tech Use Increasing In Restaurants
Technology is literally all around us: It’s powering the phone in your pocket, bringing electricity into your home or office and even making it possible for you to read this article right now. Across every industry in the U.S., we’re increasingly dependent on technological innovation to move us forward. The hospitality business is, of course, no exception to this rule. From the increased number of culinary arts schools online to mobile ordering applications for your smartphone, it’s been clear for some time that use of new inventions is increasing in the restaurant industry. Now, however, there’s concrete research to prove this notion. According to USA Today, the National Restaurant Association recently released a study aimed at showcasing the growth of technology in the restaurant business over the past few years.
Eater has reported that the study surveyed more than 1,000 individuals regarding their habits as they pertain to dining out. One of the most prominent findings of the research was that more than one third of customers have an increased likelihood “to use technology-related options in restaurants” than they did in 2012. While astonishing, this conclusion poses something of a chicken-before-the-egg question. More clearly, it leads one to posit whether people’s likelihood to use technology is due to increasing development of technology driven options in restaurants, or if the increase in options is causing a heightened likelihood of use among patrons. Either way, it’s certainly welcome news for an industry that’s more technology-driven than ever before. Even this October, for example, popular Mexican fast food restaurant Taco Bell released a mobile application that allows individuals to get a head start on ordering by alerting the store as they approach.
One trend underscored by the results of the study was the increasing demand for mobile payment options within the restaurant community. Of those who owned a smartphone at the time of the survey, nearly one third said that they would prefer the use of an electronic, phone-based payment method to a traditional check. Several of these applications have already made a splash in the mobile market, but we may be seeing more of them in the future if this trend keeps up. If the NRA’s research is correct, then there could be quite a bit of money to be made by restaurants developing in-house loyalty programs that allowed for mobile payment.