technology in restaurants

What do Canadian diners want from technology in restaurants?

When it comes to the foodservice industry, consumer trends have rapidly and significantly evolved over the course of the pandemic. One development that has proven it is here to stay, however, is the integration and use of technology in restaurants.

Technology has been there to ease restaurants’ concerns, from labour shortages to changing dining operations to supply chain stretches. Whether by incorporating automation, online ordering, or simply upgrading their POS systems, the possibilities have been endless when it comes to tailoring tech to meet a restaurant’s needs.

A new consumer survey from Canadian integrated technology company Givex has evaluated Canadians’ dining motivations and comfort with the use of technology in a restaurant.

The survey polled over 1,500 Canadians and found that while 68 per cent of Canadians are comfortable with using technology, such as a mobile device, to view a menu and order in a restaurant, nearly one-third (32 per cent) expressed some level of discomfort.

“In the past two years, restaurants have had to adopt new technologies if they wanted to survive. Many restaurants have done this well, which we can see reflected in the data. However, there are still gaps in the market between what restaurants are offering and what consumers are comfortable with,” said Mo Chaar, CCO of Givex.

“Technology is essential for the modern restaurant experience but not all their customers are at the same level of tech adoption. These results underscore just how important it is for restaurants to ensure they’re not alienating customers, and are offering value to customers through the right technology that’s convenient and user-friendly for people of all ages. The Givex platform provides restaurants with full insight into their business so they can better serve both new and prospective customers.”

Key findings from the survey include:

Dining motivations

The survey found that Buy One, Get One (BOGO) offers, coupons, and loyalty programs drive customers to restaurants.

Promotions are the biggest incentive, with 81 per cent of Canadians saying that offers such as BOGO deals make them much or somewhat more likely to dine out at a restaurant.

Even higher-income consumers ($100,000+ household income) are enticed by promotions, with 78 per cent reporting that promotions such as BOGO make them much more likely to dine out. Unsurprisingly, the percentage was higher for mid- and lower-income consumers, at 84 per cent and 81 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, 77 per cent of Canadians reported that coupons and discounts make them much or somewhat more likely to dine out at a restaurant, and more than half 56 per cent say loyalty programs make them much or somewhat more likely to dine out at a restaurant.

The effect of an old-fashioned “happy hour” seems comparatively limited, as only four in 10 (40 per cent of) Canadians cited that as a factor that would make them much or somewhat more likely to dine out.

Tech insights

From QR code menus to contactless payment and online ordering systems, technology has many different functions in a restaurant.

The most popular aspects of mobile ordering include the ability to see images of menu items before ordering, which was desired by 36 per cent of Canadians, as well as the ability to customize your order (30 per cent).

Perhaps surprisingly, only one in nine respondents (11 per cent) cite the ability to focus on friends and family without interruption from the server as one of the factors they enjoy most about restaurant technology.

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of Canadians say they enjoy the ability to order without having to flag the server to come over the most when it comes to mobile app ordering.

Maximizing the potential

These survey results further illustrate that the pandemic has accelerated the incorporation of technology into the guest experience and it will play a pivotal role in the industry’s future.

If you as a restaurant operator are looking to not only entice customers but also grow and increase profits as the market changes, using coupons or special offers to get people through the door is a great start, and success lies in investing in point-of-sale technology that is scalable and directly benefits customers.

Learn more about the findings of the Givex 2022 Consumer Report here.