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Food Customers’ Expectations Rise as Technology Evolves

Convenience Store Decisions – Digital technology continues to shape customers’ expectations when dining out. According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) and Windstream Enterprise, rapidly evolving guest expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation in the restaurant industry.

“The Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations” report, based on research conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise, combines findings from surveys of 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.

“As guest expectations continue to rise, restaurants must transform their business with new technologies to make the dining experience more seamless and frictionless,” said Scott Langdoc, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Unfortunately, many restaurant brands and franchisees have a long way to go to catch up to guest expectations. The good news is that restaurants are aware of the gap and their future plans include enhancements to key areas that guests deem important for a great experience: ease of ordering and payment, WiFi availability, and mobile POS.”

New Survey Findings Confirm the Digital Lag between Guest Expectations and Current Restaurant Technology

The team at BRP is excited to have sponsored (along with our parent company Windstream Enterprise) a new report titled The Restaurant Digital Crossroads:  The Race to Meet Guest Expectations.  The report was produced by Incisiv and details the research survey findings from 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.  The central message derived from the findings was crystal clear to all of us – rapidly evolving guest expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation across the whole of the restaurant industry.

Looking deeper into the themes the survey data told us, as guest expectations continue to rise, restaurants must transform their business with new, digital-enabling technologies to make the dining experience more seamless and frictionless – period. Unfortunately, many restaurant brands and franchisees (and you know who you are) have a long way to go to catch up to guest expectations. The good news is that restaurants (both brand owners and their franchisees) are increasingly aware of the gap the report calls out, and their short and long-term future plans include enhancements to key areas that guests deem important for a great experience, including easing the of ordering and payment process, adding or improving guest WiFi availability, and mobile POS capability.

Restaurant guests expect (make that demand) a frictionless dining experience that empowers them with relevant, helpful information, all while making it MORE convenient for them to operate on their own time and at their pace.  This requires restaurant operators to embed a broader spectrum of digital technology across the entire dining journey.

As you would expect, the Millennial and Gen-Z consumer demographics have the highest expectations for digital capabilities. The report identifies significant gaps between what younger generations feel is extremely important and what current capabilities many restaurant operators have in place.  Specific examples of this gap from the Incisiv/BRP survey findings include:

Ease of ordering and payment – Guests expect the ordering and payment process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 74% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 45% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Guest WiFi availability – Guests expect fast and free WiFi in restaurants, especially where cell reception is limited.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 44% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Discounts and promotions – Guests expect to receive digital discounts and promotions on any platform they choose, especially their mobile devices.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 35% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

There is a lot more data and strategic insight behind the excellent work Incisiv did on behalf of BRP and Windstream Enterprise.  I encourage you to download and read through the entire Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations survey findings report:

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As always, I appreciate your opinions – both on the insight from the report and across the broader restaurant and hospitality space.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

Scott

Diners Have High Expectations for Restaurant Tech

eMarketer – As in many industries, there is a gap between consumer expectations and business execution for restaurants. Operators are often slow to adopt new technologies and those that they’ve implemented aren’t always satisfactory.

In a February 2018 survey of US internet users and restaurant executives by BRP (Boston Retail Partners) and Windstream Enterprise, restaurant operators met consumer expectations on only two factors: contactless/mobile payment, for which 32% of consumers valued it and one-third of operators offered it, and Wi-Fi availability (44% both valued it and offered it).

Consumer expectations will be even higher over the next 24 months. The most important factor now (71%) and in two years (81%) is simply ease of payment, but just 45% of restaurant operators said they had “excellent” execution.  Two of the biggest jumps in consumer expectation between now and 2020 will be the ability to order ahead digitally (a 55% increase) and Wi-Fi availability (up 59%).

Read Full Article: Diners Have High Expectations for Restaurant Tech