10 | Hospitality Today | Feb / March 2017
Machines Human Int how to strike the right by Nicola Gibson , Head of Local &
“ Technology gets diners through the door , but 9 in 10 still want to enjoy the art of personal service once they ’ re inside your restaurant .”
Picture this ; you get into the taxi you ordered via your smartphone and , while travelling , you use an app to book a table at the restaurant you ’ re on your way to . As you take your seat for dinner , you pick up an iPad to order your food and drink , before waiting for your food to arrive . Once the food is finished and the plates have been cleared , you log in to your preferred mobile pay provider to pay the bill before making your way home in another taxi ordered through your smartphone .
On the journey back you realise that while your hunger may have been sated , you ’ re a little starved of the warmth that comes from top-notch customer service ; end-to-end , your dining experience has been facilitated by technology .
Although this may sound more like science fiction than fact , it ’ s fast becoming a reality in large cities such as London , Birmingham and Manchester , where self-service is increasingly becoming the norm , as restaurateurs implement technology that offers diners convenience , ease of use , speed , and above all , a tailored customer experience .
But as more and more services go mobile , the real question is how can you strike the right balance ; between a personalised onscreen experience and an authentic offscreen customer service ?
Technology : Leading the way in the hospitality industry
You only have to look as far as the $ 22.5million investment in Velocity , a worldwide restaurant-booking service , to realise that the future of tech-driven solutions in restaurants is bright . Mobile-pay solutions are at the forefront of this , with Apple Pay leading the charge , along with services like Cake vying for a slice of the action .
Technology is available now to help your diners find , book , pay for and review your restaurant . And , with Statista estimating that we ’ ll be downloading 20 billion apps a year by 2020 , the role of technology in driving footfall and easing efficiency in restaurants can ’ t be ignored . But where does that leave your front of house team ?
Well , actually in a fairly good position according to our recent survey of over 6,000 consumers . Although the industry is riddled with technology that helps get diners through the doors and sharing their experiences with your restaurant , once sat down the majority of diners enjoy a more personal touch .