According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast released earlier this month, half of consumers would use a restaurant’s smartphone app to preview menus and make reservations; nearly 40% would use a tablet computer provided at the table to view the menu and place their order; and half would take advantage of at-table electronic payment options. The results were similar for fast food restaurants: 40% of consumers would use smartphone apps to preview menus online and order delivery or takeout, and they would be just as likely to use in-store self-service kiosks to place their orders.
Consumers’ technology interests do not stop there; one-third reported that they would follow a restaurant’s updates on Twitter or Facebook, and 3 in 10 would be interested in receiving a daily email with specials. As consumers in general are finding the need to cut back spending, businesses need to find new ways to reach out to potential customers. Restaurants in particular would be wise to turn to the web to seek out the large number of technologically savvy consumers.
The Restaurant Industry Forecast also noted a trend in consumers’ most valued restaurant attributes. When choosing a tableservice restaurant, customers most highly value food quality, customer service quality, and value. As for quickservice restaurants, customers place priority on food quality, value, and speed of service. In short, customers want tasty food, a good deal for their money, and top notch customer service.
In response to their increasingly technologically savvy customers, restaurants can integrate technology into their operations in order to go the extra mile to ensure quality customer service. The Survey on the Spot real-time customer feedback survey can be administered to patrons before they leave on at-table iPads or through a smartphone app. The survey allows restaurants to gain valuable feedback on all aspects of the customer’s dining experience, with real-time alerts prompting managers to quickly resolve any potential service issues.
When restaurants decide to enhance their service with new technology, it’s easy to include the Survey on the Spot system in the upgrade. Its platform flexibility means that the survey can be integrated at any point in the dining experience, whether it’s after customers pay at an iPad provided at their table or once they order delivery on their smartphone. At the end of the survey, customers can be prompted to enter their e-mail address in order to be included on regular e-mail communications.
Restaurants should take note of this strong consumer interest and consider incorporating new technology into their operations. This will allow for more streamlined, quality service, leading to more satisfied customers.