OpenTable research reveals what Canadian diners want from technology

Exploring Canadian diner sentiment toward technology use before, during and after the meal

Press release

OpenTable has released the results of its latest Technology and Dining Out research survey*, which explores Canadian diner sentiment toward the use of technology before, during and after the dining experience.

“Restaurants are embracing new technology to improve the front and back of house, but as it continues to evolve, it can occasionally conflict with what diners actually want,” says Ziv Schierau, Head of National Accounts for OpenTable Canada. “The results of this study offer insights focused on diner sentiment and behaviours that can help restaurateurs improve hospitality as well as learn where technology can elevate or deter from the overall dining experience.”

Insights from the Technology and Dining Out survey of diners across Canada include:

Before the meal

  • Best seat in the house: Fifty-six per cent of diners want restaurants to know their preferred table or seating area. Seventy-six per cent of diners believe choosing a table or seating area would improve their experience.
  • It’s about the little things: Diners also want restaurants to know special dates, such as birthdays or anniversaries (44 per cent), number of times visited (33 per cent) and dietary preferences (29 per cent).
  • Skip the line: Seventy-two per cent of diners would like the option to add themselves to the waitlist before they arrive.
  • Cool or creepy: Fifty-three per cent of diners think it’s a good idea or are not bothered by the idea of restaurants Google searching them prior to their arrival.

During the meal

  • Focus on the food: Forty-six per cent of diners say they hate it when people they’re dining with use tech during a meal because it disrupts their experience.
  • Oh snap! Eight per cent of diners take photos during their meals to remember the experience.
  • A human touch: Sixty-five per cent of diners agree that automation, including robots taking orders and preparing food, takes away from the experience of dining out.
  • Technically solo: When eating alone, diners want their tech to keep them company. Twenty-two per cent use their phones several or multiple times while eating solo at a fine-dining restaurant (33 per cent for those under 34) compared to 47 per cent of diners (and 71 per cent for those 34 and under) dining solo at a counter service restaurant.
  • Tech to try: Diners want to experiment with technology they’ve never used before, with 50 per cent open to mobile payments so they don’t have to wait around for the cheque, or even a button on the dining table to alert staff to an issue (37 per cent).

After the meal

  • Keep them coming back: Twenty per cent of diners always or frequently interact with a restaurant’s loyalty program (a further 27 per cent use them sometimes).
  • Restaurant apps: Only four per cent of diners are very likely to download the apps of individual restaurants they’ve visited.

“Having multiple apps for the same function can be cumbersome,” says Schierau. “Diners want an easy and efficient way to streamline the reservation process with the ability to browse restaurants, view menus and reserve a table, all through a single platform.”

*These findings are based on an online survey of 275 OpenTable diners conducted between February 25, 2017 and March 15, 2017.

Follow OpenTable Canada on Twitter: @OpenTableCanada.

About OpenTable

OpenTable, part of The Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), is the world’s leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 23 million diners per month via online reservations across more than 43,000 restaurants. The OpenTable network connects restaurants and diners, helping diners discover and book the perfect table and helping restaurants deliver personalized hospitality to keep guests coming back. The OpenTable service enables diners to see which restaurants have available tables, select a restaurant based on verified diner reviews, menus, and other helpful information, and easily book a reservation. In addition to the company’s website and mobile apps, OpenTable powers online reservations for nearly 600 partners, including many of the Internet’s most popular global and local brands. For restaurants, the OpenTable hospitality solutions enable them to manage their reservation book, streamline their operations, and enhance their service levels. Since its inception in 1998, OpenTable has seated over 1.4 billion diners around the world and more than 54 million in Canada via online reservations. OpenTable is headquartered in San Francisco and has bookable restaurants in more than 20 countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States. Restaurants are available for reservations in Dutch, English, French, German, Japanese and Spanish languages.

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