Millennials — now the largest restaurant customer segment in the U.S. — have a preference for conducting retail and restaurant transactions without having to speak to a live person — using a tabletop ordering system, for example.
It is likely rooted in them being the first generation to grow up with the internet and become early adopters of smartphones, which have instilled the expectation that they should be able to get what they want on their own time, and at a moment’s notice.
Rather than seeing this as an impediment, savvy restaurants are turning this predilection into a positive and embracing younger restaurant guests by installing restaurant tablet ordering systems and table-top checkout options.
Remember what we just said about millennials expecting to get what they want on their own time? That’s one of the factors at the heart of the push towards tabletop ordering systems and checkouts. Some diners want to sit down, immediately browse the options, and place an order as quickly as possible.
Plenty of others desire to dive into a conversation and take their time without worrying that a server will be interrupting them every three minutes to ask if they’re ready. In any situation, using technology to let these guests create their own dining timetable is an attractive proposition.
As a restaurant owner, your primary reason for installing a tablet ordering system or employing any technology should always be to create value for your guests. But that doesn’t mean that the system shouldn’t have other quantifiable benefits for the company as well.
Restaurant companies are paying close attention not only to how these tablets affect the guest experience, but also what impacts they may have on their revenues, costs, and operations.
Applebee’s, which now uses tabletop ordering systems in every one of its U.S. locations, says over 70% of their guests use them during their visit. Outback Steakhouse, meanwhile, claims that their dessert sales have risen by 30% due to their restaurant tablet ordering system, and several other chains have reported higher overall tickets when they are in use.
Clearly, most diners (especially younger ones) are open to utilizing tabletop ordering systems and tabletop checkout systems in restaurants, and businesses can use them as a part of their overall digital technology strategy to engage guests in different ways.
Leaders must remember that this kind of restaurant technology is a tool to enhance the service experience, but it will never be a replacement for an established and robust service culture throughout the business. A tabletop ordering system and other innovations can be used to attract millennials, but there is no evidence thus far to suggest that diners will sacrifice the qualities they normally want out of a dining experience — friendly service and consistent food quality — for the sake of technology.
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