Technology has radically transformed the way we live, from communication to transportation — and dining is no different. The internet, smartphones, and the ubiquitous cloud have shifted our expectations of restaurants and hospitality.
Two years ago, we asked OpenTable diners about how they use technology — and how they want to use technology — before, during, and after their dining experiences. The result was Technology and Dining Out 2015, a trend report following tech’s role in every aspect of a restaurant visit: from selecting a spot to posting your best food pics on Instagram.
Now, we’re excited to release the latest edition of that research, based on a March 2017 survey of more than 4,700 OpenTable diners across the U.S. Download our free Technology and Dining Out 2017 guide to find out:
- How habits, preferences, and expectations have shifted since 2015, especially for millennials
- What diners think about the latest hot topics in restaurant tech
- How technology drives restaurant discovery and dining decisions
Here’s a quick preview of what we cover:
Every day there’s another news article about robots cooking and delivering food, so we wondered: is this something diners are really hungry for? 68% of respondents said automation in restaurants was a bad thing that takes away from the restaurant and hospitality experience, while only 7% believed automation was a positive thing. Our younger segments (respondents 34 and under) felt more favorably about the idea, with slightly over half (54%) saying it’s a bad thing and 14% agreeing that it’s a good thing.
The Pre-Dining Wish List
We also asked diners to tell us what’s on their ultimate pre-dining wishlist: everything they want to use technology to do before going out. The top two most popular features both involved avoiding a long wait. 80% of respondents said they’d like to know how long the wait for a table is before arriving, and almost as many (78%) said they would like to add themselves to the waitlist before they get to the restaurant. Equally popular was booking at a restaurant that’s hard to get into (78%).
Phones at the Table
We know plenty of people are using their phones at the table—we see it all the time. We asked diners how often they interact with their phones in two distinct circumstances: when dining alone and when dining with others. Unsurprisingly, we found people are much more likely to use their phones when dining solo. The atmosphere of the restaurant matters, too: the more formal the space, the less likely they are to be locked to their screens. More than 40% of respondents said they use their phones “several” or “multiple” times at a limited-service or counter-service restaurant when they’re alone, versus only 19% at a fine-dining restaurant.
And when dining with other people? Phone interactions drop, but they’re still happening. Overall only 7% of respondents said they use their phones “several” or “multiple” times over the course of a meal at a fine-dining restaurant, compared to 21% at a counter-service spot.
Whether you operate fine dining or casual restaurants, one restaurant or hundreds, this report offers an exclusive window into what’s on the minds of your diners.