News Feature | November 6, 2013

Restaurant and Hospitality IT News For VARs — November 6, 2013

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
Follow Me On Twitter @AnnaRoseWelch

BSM-Restaurant Table

This week’s news includes research that shows restaurants are planning investments in customer-facing technology.

Restaurants Plan To Invest In Customer-Facing Technology

New research from the National Restaurant Association shows that 54 percent of table service and 48 percent of QSRs plan to invest in customer-facing technology in the next year. Restaurants are responding to diners’ demands for more interaction through technology with restaurants. Research shows that 63 percent of adults have used restaurant-related technology in the past month. These experiences include using mobile and tablets to view menus, find restaurants and nutritional information, and using computers to place orders and make reservations. When asked what features customers desire from a restaurant smartphone app, customers found location/directions and viewing menus as the most useful. They also ranked takeout/delivery ordering, reservations, loyalty/rewards programs, gift cards, and connecting on social media as other important features.

Restaurateurs Predict Technology Use Will Grow

Using data from the above National Restaurant Association study, Steamfeed provides an infographic about the ways restaurants have begun to embrace technology. More than half of restaurateurs say electronic payments systems will become more popular — and 82 percent say online and smartphone ordering will become more popular. Virtually all will have a presence or use social media for marketing within the next two years. The percentages have more impact when you consider the size of the industry in the U.S.: there are 970,000 locations, employing 12,9 million people, with $632 billion in sales.  

Restaurants See Mobile Marketing ROI

Nation’s Restaurant News says that mobile marketing through smartphone-based apps is on the rise for the restaurant industry. Not only can restaurants reach customers through messages, but they can also use apps to receive customers’ geo-location and payment, and increase social media interaction with users. This is a particularly important outlet for the Millennial generation, which is not only tech-savvy but also dines out frequently.

Help Customers Decide To Adopt Mobile Wallet Technology —Or Wait

QSR Magazine highlights some of the ways the quick service industry should be approaching the decision to adopt mobile wallet technology. QSR provides a checklist that can help your customers make the decision if adoption would benefit them now— or hurt their business if they wait.  The Association For Convenience and Fuel Retailing also provides a checklist for retailers to use when determining if mobile is right for business.

Tablet Menus Are Growing Trend

Nevin Martell for NPR discusses the emergence of tablet menus in the restaurant industry. The article highlights some of the services and benefits of digital menus compared to paper menus—including the ability to provide more content and real-time updating capabilities. Security will have to be part of the solution you create for your customer — anti-theft is an important issue when implementing this technology. 

Restaurant and Hospitality IT Talking Points

Joe Doyle for Travolution argues that it is important for the travel industry to use technology to deliver a multi-channel experience for customers. He cites research that show customers are more frequently turning to online channels to find hotels and rates and make reservations. The industry needs to adapt to continue providing seamless experiences for customers. In particular, he says that social customer communities, multi-channel knowledge management, mobile virtual agents, and natural language processing will have the biggest impact on customer service.

According to a recent study released by Phoenix Marketing, only one in four members of a frequent guest program (FGP) downloaded a program’s mobile app. According to VP of Phoenix Marketing International, Greg Diaz, these results reveal that hotel companies are not developing strong enough relationships with their customers.