The use of technology at the table to improve service and optimise profits is showing significant growth, according to the latest GO Technology report from Zonal and CGA.
GO Technology, which tracks the technology habits of 5,000 UK adult consumers, reveals that one in three (31%) agree that more restaurants should use apps and tablets to improve service.
And it makes sense for hospitality operators to sit up and take notice as the monthly spend on eating and drinking out among those using apps is much higher at £99.35, against an all-consumer average of £76.47.
“Many people don’t just want to use technology at the tables in restaurants and bars, they expect it,” said Zonal’s sales and marketing director, Clive Consterdine.
Driving the app revolution is consumer hunger for speed. Two in five (41%) of GO Technology respondents cite the ability to pay quicker and avoid waiting to settle bills as the main advantage of apps. Almost as many respondents mention the ability to skip queues (34%).
This also translates to orders being taken at the table by servers using tablets or electronic handheld devices, with two in five (41%) of respondents saying it enhances their overall experience. Over half (54%) believe it makes the ordering process quicker and a third (33%) think their orders arrive faster. A further 35% also believe it improves accuracy and they see less room for error on technology than the traditional handwritten order pad.
This view is supported by hotel operators such as family run Uig Hotel, located on the Isle of Skye. Owners, Billy Harley and his wife Anne, have seen the number of people they can serve increase by up to 40%, without having to recruit more serving staff, by adopting Zonal’s handheld alternative to the traditional order pad, iServe.
Billy explained: “The GO Technology stats come as no surprise to us. Since introducing ‘tech at the table’ the process of taking an order is so much simpler and more efficient. iServe also improves accuracy as we take the order and send it straight from the table to the kitchen and bar without re-keying, which offers our customers a sleeker more professional service.”
However, there is a caveat to adopting technology as it shouldn’t replace human interaction. Of those who didn’t believe it enhanced their experience, two in five (41%) thought it impersonal, or that servers with tablets don’t interact as much as they would like.
“Hospitality operators can no longer ignore the role technology plays in the eating and drinking out experience. GO Technology supports the fact that it will never be a replacement for human interaction, but consumers do expect the benefits that mobile technology can deliver in terms of convenience, speed, accuracy and reward. By getting the perfect balance of customer service, interaction and technology in your venue, you can provide a fantastic experience every time,” concluded Consterdine.
To access a copy of the full report visit web.zonal.co.uk or contact Zonal on 0800 131 3400