Is there a place for tech at your table?

Digital dining is on the rise; from franchise chains to fine dining, technology is making an appearance on menus everywhere.

New technology solutions are being implemented to help restaurants tackle pain-points that have plagued them for years. Realising the cost benefits of switching-out conventional cash registers for tablet POS (point of sale) systems, the hospitality industry has begun trialling a customer-facing approach. Software companies like MenuPad offer solutions like ‘Table Mode’, designed to make ordering and paying from table-placed tablets as seamless as possible.

We’ve seen the success of customer-facing tablets at McDonald’s, but is there a place for this sort of tech at upscale restaurants?

According to Buzztime, self-order systems dominated the National Restaurant Association Show in May this year, and the number of touchscreen ordering systems has nearly tripled in 2018. This technology means more customers are served more quickly, leading to increased orders and revenue. The proof is in the pudding; Modern Restaurant Management’s study about touchscreen ordering found that when guests used digital tools, their average cheque size was 30% larger.

Image courtesy of The Mercury News (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Although it may seem impersonal at first glance, diners respond well to touchscreen ordering. Toast POS surveyed diners in 2017 and discovered that 73% believe that technology improves their restaurant experience. In line with these findings, the National Restaurant Association found that 79% of patrons believe this kind of tech makes their restaurant visit more convenient.

Benefits for guests include browsing and ordering at their own pace with more information readily available, and paying when and how it suits them. Restaurants can show off promotions, events and implement suggested selling without coming across as pushy. But this kind of self-service doesn’t mean replacing staff, it simply helps them to provide better customer service. They’ll find themselves being more available to tend to guests’ needs, improving the dining experience all-round.

Good for the environment and for your pockets – digital menus can be updated frequently and include extra add-ons, reducing the cost and waste of paper. Digital menus also improve order accuracy. Making the distance between customer and kitchen staff smaller, there’s less room for mistakes and misunderstandings. Additional perks are also available to customers such as nutritional information or allergy warnings associated with their chosen dishes.

Table-placed tablets can do more than just improve the current functioning of your restaurant. Opening up a unique opportunity for customer insight and guest email capture, tablets make taking surveys, filling-out short questionnaires and sharing contact details easy and time-efficient.

Read our guide on how to put tablets to use in your restaurant here.