OpenTable Research Survey Explores Diner Sentiment Toward Technology Use Before, During and After the Meal

OpenTable, a provider of online restaurant reservations and part of The Priceline Group, released the results of its latest "Technology and Dining Out" research survey, which explores diner sentiment toward the use of technology before, during and after the dining experience.
Insights from the March 2017 survey of more than 4,700 OpenTable diners across the United States include:
Before the Meal:
  • Ticketing is still niche: Only 11% of diners are interested in pre-paying for meals.
  • Creepy or Cool? 35% of diners think it's creepy for restaurants to Google them prior to arrival (compared to 31% in 2015).
  • Seat me like a VIP: 56% of diners want restaurants to know their preferred table or seating area. 72% of diners believe choosing a table or seating area would improve their experience.
  • Remember me: Diners also want restaurants to know special dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries (45%), number of times visited (35%) and dietary preferences (26%).
  • Waiting game: 78% of diners said the ability to use technology to add themselves to a waitlist before they arrive at the restaurant would improve their dining experience.
  • Specials: 64% of diners are interested in learning about specials, offers and promotions.

During the Meal:
  • Halt the robots: 68% of diners agree that automation, including robots taking orders or preparing food in restaurants, is a bad thing and takes away from the restaurant and hospitality experience.
  • Don't text and dine: 51% of diners say they hate it when people they're dining with use tech during a meal because it disrupts their experience.
  • Technically solo: When eating alone, diners want their tech to keep them company. 19% use their phones several or multiple times while eating solo at a fine-dining restaurant (32% for those under 34) compared to 41% of diners (and 69% for those 34 and under) dining solo at a counter service restaurants.
  • Oh Snap!: 25% of diners always or frequently take a photo to remember the experience (50% for those 34 and under).
  • Tech to try: Diners want to experiment with new technology they've never used before, with 35% open to mobile payments, so they don't have to wait around for the check or even a button on the dining table to alert staff to an issue (37%).

After the Meal:
  • Loyalty: 22% of diners always or frequently interact with a restaurant's loyalty program.
  • Restaurant apps: Only 6% of diners are very likely to download the app of an individual restaurant chain to their phones or tablets.
Restaurateurs who are interested in learning more can download the entire OpenTable Technology and Dining Out study and can find additional insights and perspective on the Open For Business blog.  OpenTable's first "Technology and Dining Out" study was released in 2015.
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