Customer Preferences for Restaurant Technology Innovations

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When restaurateurs evaluate whether to adopt technology-based service innovations, they must consider not only the costs and benefits of that technology, but also customers’ reactions to the procedural changes accompanying the innovation. Technology that damages customer satisfaction may not be worthwhile, no matter how much it reduces labor costs. In this report we present the results of a national survey on customers’ perceptions of eleven restaurant technologies, as well as whether respondents use those technologies and the value they see in them. The technologies are pagers for table management, handheld order taking while waiting in line, internet-based ordering, kiosk-based payment, kiosk-based food ordering, online reservations, payment via SMS or text message, payment via (RFID) smart card, payment via cell phone using NFC technology, virtual menus available tableside with nutritional information, and virtual menus online with nutritional information. These technologies are categorized in the following five categories: kiosk, menu, online usage, payment-based service innovations, and queuing. Using a research technique called best-worst choice analysis, the study found that the technologies used most commonly were pagers and online reservations, while cell-phone payment was used hardly at all. The results show that the perceived value of a specific technology increases after the customers have had the opportunity to use it, and different demographic segments valued the technologies differently. Frequent technology users visited restaurants more often than infrequent technology users did.
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restaurant technology; customer preference; queue management; internet based ordering; menus; kiosks; payment technology
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