Restaurant Articles

How Technology is Changing the Dining Experience

By July 26, 2016 No Comments

Modern tech like smartphones and online innovations in social media are changing the way customers interact with restaurants, so how can quick service restaurants use this to their advantage? Let’s examine some of the fundamental ways that QSRs can use advanced apps and smartphone technology to improve the dining experience.

QSR customers like anonymity.

In some QSRs, restaurant managers are experimenting with customers’ preferences for the convenience, accuracy and relative anonymity of touch screens. Digital tablets are replacing “Can I take your order please?” but also allowing customers to order what they like as well as customizing their orders on the fly. It’s unlikely to fly at a Michelin-starred restaurant anytime soon, but for QSRs and other casual dining experiences, it’s a great way for customers to take responsibility for their own ordering while simultaneously improving the efficiency of the restaurant.

Technology can augment customer relationships.

Now that apps are not only more interactive but also easier to navigate, they have quickly become a go-to technology for consumers who frequent quick service restaurants. Customizable apps and social media allow customers to set preferences on their mobile devices and allow restaurant chains to respond to those preferences. The best results are usually achieved when QSRs make use of multiple channels to send different types of messages to customers that help create a better dining experience. It also gives QSR brands more ways to learn about their customers. Mobile interactions provide QSRs with a rare opportunity to learn exactly how their customers engage with their brand and also hand restaurants big data that can help improve marketing campaigns, messaging points, sales strategies and other initiatives.

Technology improves customer education.

New applications like push notifications to phones and wearable devices, as well as geotargeting has made engaging loyal QSR customers easier for restaurant strategists and marketing teams. Push notifications can also help drive repeat visits among customers at different QSR locations. Essentially, the technology allows QSR marketers to engage with customers inside the restaurant as well to as continue the conversation after they have finished their meal. The key for QSR strategists is to engage with customers based on authentic data about their preferences, behavior and spending patterns, as well as focusing on their most loyal customers.

Wi-Fi brings customers in the door.

According to a recent UK study, 30 percent of diners think wireless Internet service is important in choosing where to eat out, and in London that number shoots up to nearly 50 percent.  Providing free Wi-Fi access to customers is not only a cheap and easy way to boost customer loyalty, but it also allows QSRs a significant touch point with diners when they sign in to access the service. This is also another significant opportunity to capture data and build retention, such as asking diners to sign up for coupons, newsletters or other marketing tools in order to use the Internet for free.