The next frontier for social media and smartphones might well be the restaurant table. Consumers want to see that the new technologies they utilize incorporated in their dining experience, a new analysis on consumer-facing technology shows, particularly when it is going to accelerate the process of getting their dinner or paying their bill. Just over half of respondents to the poll said it is important for restaurants to begin using these technologies, and that they expect to utilize technology more frequently in the upcoming year to purchase food off the breakfast menu.
Sounds like the first restaurant that lets you order dinner from their mobile-enabled tweet-stream wins. Up to now, restaurants are slow to take to engineering, but a couple of chains are breaking new ground. Here’s a look at some of the recent innovations:
This is one place where fast-food chains are in the forefront. Pizza shops and takeaways are now creating their own apps so you can order quicker off your phone!
iPad order kiosks
Why wait in line if you can file your order in a kiosk immediately, and then sit down and relax? The Blazing Onion Burger Company is testing out this system in a brand new restaurant opened last month in Seattle. Expect more of this, because it might help stop customers walking away, and may result in more orders.
This might be the largest technology jump coming from the next year, as almost 100 percent of restaurant owners say they intend to get a Facebook existence by next year. Businesses specializing in Facebook-payment integration for restaurants like ChowNow and NetWaiter are assisting chains to receive their ordering on the popular platform.
Tabletop e-waiter & checkout
Diners hate it when waiters take their credit card off and run it up in the register as it is a frequent stage for credit-card fraud. Hand them a restaurant iPad they could self-checkout on where their card does not leave their sight, and they are happy. This often-endless wait for the bill and card to return does not win fans, either. E la Carte’s Presto pill is 1 solution that provides tableside self-checkout and much more. It even suggests additional items to purchase, and the company reports it cuts 7 minutes away from the average diner’s stay. Customers are delighted with the quicker service, and restaurants may function more diners per night.
Digital menu boards + smartphones
Watch for fast-food restaurants to alter menus more frequently, because digital menu boards make it so much easier than manually changing items and prices. Digital signage also permits quick-serve restaurants to give entertainment and interactivity as you wait in line — for instance, Boston-based burrito chain Boloco’s electronic signboard permits patrons to play tic-tac-toe against friends or the computer while they wait.
Gaming industry sources report McDonald’s is casting gesture-enabled matches on restaurant floors for children to play while they await Happy Meals, in 150 of the series’ higher-profile locations. Now that will keep children busy, and most of us know happy children mean happy parents that return to your restaurant.
More restaurants are utilizing electronic vouchers, and diners gobble them up. At the Technomic survey, 58 percent of diners said they have already used them. Tech-savvy diners expect elegant solutions that work, as McDonald’s clunky test of bolted-to-the-table iPads revealed. But for restaurants that may get it right, incorporating technology into their facility may just help in the long run, as they can help speed up orders and process information quicker; after all we now are moving into a digital era, why not try to include these technologies into your breakfast café or restaurant?