Technology has transformed the customer experience for travelers, who now expect on-demand, personalized service at all stages of the traveler journey. This includes while dining, for everything from researching where to go to paying the bill.
The trick for restaurants is establishing a comfort level for diners that incorporates new technologies without losing the human touch.
According to a study from reservation management platform SevenRooms, conducted in partnership with YouGov, 38% of diners in the United States believe too much technology ruins going to restaurants.
Subscribe to our newsletter below
Overall, millennials are the most receptive to technology enhancing the restaurant experience, though just 12% are interested in using virtual- or augmented-reality devices to research eateries; comparatively, only 3% of diners over 55 years old feel comfortable doing so.
Millennials are three times more likely to make reservations via social media (13% compared to 4% of those over 55) and utilize cash-less payment methods (19% compared to 6%). The age group is also five times more likely to be persuaded by smart capabilities to make reservations at a particular restaurant (16% compared to 3%).
When it comes to newer technologies, 11% of those surveyed say they would make reservations with a thumbprint on their smartphone, and 5% say they would want served by robot waiters.
Some 10% say they would use a voice-powered assistant and 6% say they would use an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot to research where to go.
“The ubiquity of technology and personalization in our daily lives has created an urgency for restaurants to evolve with guests’ expectations,” says Joel Montaniel, CEO of SevenRooms.
“Diners expect the conveniences and personalization that technology offers, but want it implemented with a human touch so it doesn’t overshadow the personal elements of an exceptional dining experience. It’s more important than ever to understand and accommodate the forward‐thinking diner by enhancing the experience through technology without removing the human element.”