Technology Trend

Technology is finding its place at the restaurant table, according to the National Restaurant Association's 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, released Feb. 1. Although high-tech items such as wireless payment and iPad menus aren’t commonplace just yet, there is strong consumer interest in such options.

Nearly 4 in 10 consumers say they’d be likely to use an electronic ordering system and menus on tablet computers at tableservice restaurants. About half said they would use at-table electronic payment options and a restaurant’s smartphone app to view menus and make reservations. 

At quickservice restaurants, about 4 out of 10 consumers say they would place online orders for takeout, use in-store self-service ordering kiosks, and use smartphone apps to look at menus and order delivery.

In addition, roughly 3 in 10 of adults said they would like to receive an email with daily specials, while about 1 in 5 prefer text messages with similar information. If a restaurant’s specials were available on Facebook or Twitter, nearly one-third of consumers say they’d be likely to sign up, indicating that social media continues to be a powerful marketing tool.

To further feed consumers’ digital hunger, more than nine out of 10 restaurant operators said their restaurant will likely be using Facebook in the next year or two, with use of Twitter and smartphone applications expected to be on the rise as well.