STUDY: Consumers Say Mobile Ordering, Payment in Restaurants is Here to Stay

server waiting with menus
40% of diners surveyed ages 21-55 prefer to pay with apps (Google Pay or Apple Pay) vs. physical credit cards.

When dining at restaurants, customers are frustrated with the speed of service. Forty-two percent of diners surveyed, adults in Generation X and younger,  are waiting about 10 minutes to get their drinks at bars and restaurants and an additional 10 minutes to pay.

As the hospitality industry returns to pre-pandemic norms, Union—a data-driven hospitality engagement platform—released a new third-party survey detailing how consumers are adapting to new technology within bars and restaurants, such as QR codes and mobile payment apps.

Findings in the release came from a nationally representative survey conducted in March 2023 of more than 1,000 U.S. adults, ages 21-55.  Some of the key findings from the survey include:

Mobile Ordering Preferred

When asked how they feel about QR codes to view menus at bars and restaurants, almost 44 percent of participants reported that they are okay with QR codes, but wish they could order with their mobile devices instead of a server. Not surprisingly, more than half of consumers surveyed said that when they see a QR code that allows them to order and pay, they use it.

That's inline with the findings from HT's 2022 Customer Engagement Technology StudyWhen it comes to top restaurant technologies that guests demand, 49% say the ability to pay for food via mobile device (i.e., contactless payment) is tops, according to HT's 2022 Customer Engagement Technology Study.

Apps Preferred

When asked if they prefer to pay with apps such as Google Pay or Apple Pay versus physical credit cards, nearly 40 percent of respondents indicated that they prefer to pay with apps.


10+10 = 20 minutes waiting

The survey showed that 42 percent of consumers are waiting about 10 minutes to get their drinks at bars and restaurants. When asked what action they are most likely to take when waiting too long at a bar or restaurant to be served, the majority of respondents (38 percent) said they reduce the tip. The next action they take is leaving the venue (22 percent). On average, consumers at bars and restaurants wait 10 minutes for the bill, which could be a contributing factor for guests preferring to quickly pay with a mobile device and avoid waiting for the check.

"The most interesting takeaways we found from this survey is that consumers are frustrated with service speed and open to technology for support," said Layne Cox, Union's chief marketing officer. "With Union, guests can view the menu and take full control of the ordering and payment process, which gets drinks in their hands faster and takes pressure off waitstaff. High volume venues also gain valuable insights about ordering behaviors that can positively impact their bottom line."

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