On the menu at your restaurant?
Maybe it’s a decadent quinoa, roast beetroot, and macadamia salad. Or possibly a succulent roast duck breast drizzled with a plum, mango, and ginger sauce.
Perhaps you are feeling adventurous and serve up a dish of saucy mobile apps or seamless online ordering.
Yes, mobile apps.
Digital technology is here to stay and restaurants would be wise to incorporate this into their offerings.
For the first time in history, tech-savvy restaurants are beginning to bridge the gap between what they think their customers want and what they actually desire with their dining experience through the use of social media and mobile devices.
These digital tools are becoming the main platforms that diners use to elevate their culinary adventures and restaurants can use this to magnetize their presence in the online world.
Offering exceptional customer experience is the main driving force behind the development of culinary mobile apps.
Customers want to be in control of their dining experience and what better way to do this than catering to their needs.
Mobile apps provide the perfect medium to satisfy diners’ appetites.
Being far more intuitive than a desktop website, apps offer the flexibility, convenience, and time-saving benefits of gathering information about your restaurant.
If they are curious about your menu, hours of operation, specials of the week, or even specific nutritional information about the dishes you offer, they simply pull out their smart phone and have access to this information within seconds.
A mobile app can offer all of this before they even step into your restaurant.
Then there is the ease of ordering online take-out orders or even cancelling a dinner reservation without any fuss.
This offers an added benefit as it frees up more time with your restaurant host and servers as they can devote more time to the patrons already present in your restaurant.
Of course, mobile apps are a powerful way to market your restaurant to these savvy mobile users.
Consider weekly dinner or drink specials, exciting monthly events, and loyalty programs as potent ways to build your brand as well as deliver exceptional experiences for your customers.
Now let’s consider this digital technology being present right at the diners’ tables.
Imagine being able to browse a restaurant’s menu, order, and pay your restaurant bill all without the help of a server.
This is a trend that is becoming increasingly popular among casual eateries.
Some may argue that this feature may disconnect diners from the servers and restaurant staff who are dedicated to meeting their needs.
However, others consider that these tabletop additions add an interesting and exciting twist to a typical restaurant experience.
Many of these tabletop devices offer games and activities designed to entertain the diner as they wait for their entrees to arrive.
Other diners may use it as alternative to the usual paper and crayons offered to young children at most family restaurants and use it as a way to distract and engage these young diners while they wait
Some sports bars and pubs are jumping on this trend by offering trivia, puzzles, or even allowing each table to choose which sports game they would like to watch during their meal.
How’s that for an elevated dining experience?
Moving into 2018, mobile payment is becoming the preferred payment of choice among restaurant patrons.
Some experts predict that the mobile payment volume will increase tenfold over the next few years.
Why this trend?
The main reason is that mobile payment has the ability to improve the diner’s experience by offering fast and efficient payment service right at their table.
Mobile pay options like SamsungPay or Google Wallet are often much faster than paying with traditional cash and credit cards and this translates into faster checkout and payment times, shorter waiting times for new guests, and increased volume of diners.
What restaurant wouldn’t want this?
Now consider some of the statistics behind this new trend.
In the United States alone, mobile payment options account for approximately $50 billion in sales annually, and this is expected to increase to $142 billion by 2019.
Furthermore, 39% of mobile phone users would prefer to pay with their smartphone if the options were available in restaurants and a lot more are coming on board in desiring this new form of payment.
Other great additions to consider adding to the restaurant experience is free Wifi access, electrical outlets to charge mobile devices, and dedicated charging stations.
These extras can literally transform your customers’ dining experience from good to phenomenal because a smartphone that is lingering on critical low battery can certainly take away from a positive eating experience and instead fill the diner with a sense of frustration and anxiety.
Providing these essential digital services can put the diner at ease and allow them to relax and fully enjoy the culinary delights that are placed in front of them.