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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : May 19, 2017


Diners want personalization, not robots, to improve their dining experience

Robots are out, pre-booking of a preferred table is in. New research reveals how diners feel about the use of technology before, during, and after the dining experience.

by Helen Leggatt

According to OpenTable, a provider of online restaurant reservations, surveyed more than 4,700 OpenTable diners across the U.S. and discovered their tech preferences when booking, dining and paying.

"The goal for this research study is to deliver insights focused on diner sentiment and behaviors that can elevate the overall dining experience and level of hospitality as well as identify areas where technology might deter from the joy that it is inherent to gathering around the restaurant table," said Scott Jampol, Senior Vice President of Marketing, OpenTable.

Before arriving at a restaurant, consumers would like restaurants to be able personalize their visit. They want restaurants to know special dates such as birthdays or anniversaries (45%), how often they have visited the restaurant in the past (35%) and dietary preferences (26%). More than half (56%) want restaurants to be aware of their preferred table.

In fact, nearly three-quarters (72%) think being able to choose a table, or seating area, at the time of booking would improve their overall dining experience. Being able to add themselves to a waitlist before they arrive at the restaurant would appeal to 78%.

When dining, technology does not feature quite as much, unless dining alone. More than half (51%) say they "hate it" when fellow diners use technology during a meal as it "disrupts their experience". While less likely when eating at fine dining restaurant (19%), 41% (69% for those aged 34 and under) of solo diners said they use their mobile phone several or multiple times at counter service restaurant.

The technology that diners believed could enhance the dining experience is, according to the report, mobile payments (35%) and a button on the dining table to alert staff to an issue (37%). However, two-thirds (68%) of diners said that any automation, including robots taking orders or preparing food in restaurants, is a bad thing and takes away from the restaurant experience.

Following a dining experience, nearly half (22%) of diners said they 'always' or 'frequently' interact with a restaurant's loyalty program but only 6% of diners are 'very likely' to download the app of an individual restaurant chain.

Tags: customer experience, mobile, restaurants, technology










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