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Market Force Poll: 17% of Diners Say Tablets Improve the Overall Dining Experience


According to a new study by Market Force Information (Market Force), which polled  nearly 8,000 consumers, tablets are failing to enhance the dining experience, Yelp continues to greatly influences casual dining restaurant choices over restaurant branded mobile apps, and guests are primarily using mobile apps to check menus.  

Market Force found 58% of polled consumers have been provided with a restaurant tablet while dining, a 21% increase over last year, and 87% reported that they have used one. The most popular activities on tablets were paying the bill (72%) and viewing the menu (52%). However, the number of users significantly drops for categories such as reordering drinks or additional menu items (27%), take a survey (26%) or use/sign up for a loyalty program (22%).

Tablets seem to be viewed as most important for entertaining children while parents are out to eat, with 31% of respondents noting this was the most valuable use of tablets. Less than one quarter of respondents felt tablets ensured orders were correctly received, and less than one fifth said tablets helped to reduce wait times or allowed them to control the dining experience. In fact, only 17% of respondents said that tablets make the overall dining experience more enjoyable.

Market Force found that restaurant mobile app adoption is growing, with 45% of diners indicating they’ve downloaded a restaurant app, up 4% from 2016. However, among 25-44 year olds, that percentage increases to 51%.

The apps are mainly used to view menus (64%), find discounts (50%) and find locations (41%). Yelp is still the most downloaded restaurant app (53%), followed by TripAdvisor (32%) and OpenTable (25%). Specific restaurant branded apps cam in at only 7% which is still higher than GrubHub and UberEats which came in at 1%.

While Yelp might be the most popular restaurant app downloaded, it does not rank highest in user satisfaction. Only 29% of respondents were satisfied with Yelp. However, restaurant specific apps scored the highest in guest satisfaction at 40%, beating both OpenTable and TripAdvisor.

Yelp has also replaced TripAdvisor as the app that wields the strongest influence over diners’ choices. Forty-two percent said that Yelp ratings impact their restaurant choices, and just 40% said the same about TripAdvisor. Only 21% said the same about a specific restaurant branded app. Also, diners indicated that they’re more likely to leave a positive review on TripAdvisor than on other apps. On Yelp, they are as likely to leave a negative review as they are to leave a positive review.

Survey Demographics

The survey was conducted online in October 2017 across the United States. The pool of 7,926 respondents represented a cross-section of the four U.S. census regions, and reflected a broad spectrum of income levels, with 51% reporting household incomes of more than $50,000 a year. Respondents’ ages ranged from 18 to over 65. Approximately 73% were female and 27% were male.

For each category, study participants were asked to select which casual dining restaurant they visited most recently from a list of restaurants with at least 100 U.S. locations. Only those restaurant brands that were selected by at least 2% of participants in each category were ranked and analyzed.
Market Force calculates its Composite Loyalty Index by averaging the percentage of guests who said, on a scale of 1-5, that they would recommend the brand, and the percentage of those who said, on a scale of 1-5, that they were satisfied with the brand.

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