Times are a-changing. Dozens of companies have integrated technology into their business processes to improve the consumer experience and enhance the sales process. Businesses in the foodservice industry, in particular, have begun the potentially lucrative process of utilizing technology to enhance the service they provide.
Business is a dog eat dog world. In order to survive, food service joints need to understand the potential new technology available to them to enhance their company. And at the very least, they should understand how technology as a whole has transformed customer expectations.
How Technology Has Shaped Expectations
The internet and various other technological advances has led to shifts in customer expectations and preferences. Customers are no longer ruled entirely by finding either an extremely cheap or an extremely high quality restaurant.
In our highly technological era, customers often value convenience far more than high quality or cheap service. According to The Washington Post, time is often perceived as a more valuable commodity than money today.
Technology has partially shaped this shift. The internet allows individuals to gain information in a matter of seconds. As internet speeds increased over the years, so too did individuals annoyance with waiting 10, 20, 30 seconds for videos to load.
That expectation of almost instant gratification has slowly seeped into our expectations for other services. Individuals, especially the younger generation who grew up in the internet era, now expect fairly fast service at most restaurants and have very little patience for long waits at any point in their eating experience.
Technology has slowly been adopted by many restaurants to provide a service or services that either capitalize or cater to the modern consumer’s desire for faster service.
Online ordering through a website or mobile application is on the rise. According to MegaTrends: The Future of Dinner, “40% of Domino’s pizzas are ordered through their delivery app.”
The ability to order online or through a mobile app has a variety of time saving features that appeal to individuals concerned with saving time. Why do time conscience people love online or mobile ordering? It grants them the ability to:
- save their payment information for later use.
- save their favorite orders.
- find fast and accurate information about ordering options for individuals with special diet needs.
- skip the line.
- put in a faster and more accurate order than might be capable over the phone.
- set a delivery or pick up time.
The fact that is appeals to customers for so many reasons, should mean that restaurant owners should at least look into adopting the ability to order online.
If you’re still not convinced, there is one more reason to invest in the ability to order online. Customers who complete digital orders, tend to order more which can lead to a higher profit.
eTable ordering can be a godsend that leads to faster and higher quality service. Franchise restaurants like Red Robin and Applebee’s have recently added eTable devices to all of their tables. Adoption of the devices lead to many time saving possibilities.
The devices allow the customer to:
- peruse the entire menu on the device after the menus are taken.
- order the entire meal or extra food without the need to wait on the waiter.
- call the waiter to the table if a problem or concern arises.
- pay utilizing a credit card without the need to wait for the waiter to run the card.
The device, beyond the ability to help the customer save time, can aid the business in their ability to meet customers’ high expectations of high quality and fast service. Waitresses and waiters can only do so much to without the aid of technology to meet customer expectations.
Technology has gradually shifted customer expectations. Restaurants, like other businesses, need to continually evaluate how the adoption of new technology can increase their appeal with customers. Restaurant owners should evaluate if it’s time to consider the development of a mobile apps, an online ordering platform or the purchase of eTables.