Restaurant scene

More and more restaurant owners are considering adopting self-order kiosks or other automated customer service technology, according to a 2017 survey from American Express.

American Express conducted the survey online in April of 2017 and sampled responses from 488 people who are owners, managers, directors or CEOs of food service businesses.

Of those surveyed, only seven percent currently used some sort of digital kiosks or table-side ordering at their establishment.

But, the trend appears to be growing because 26 percent of the respondents said they plan to or are considering adopting the technology.

American Express also surveyed consumers to find out what they thought about the new trend in restaurant technology. The majority of consumers – some 75 percent – said they favor a restaurant with traditional wait staff who provide in-person service.

That left 25 percent who said they prefer restaurants with digital customer service platforms.

When the data was viewed through a generational lens, some interesting numbers came to the fore. A larger number of Millennials (39 percent) said they preferred restaurants with digital customer service platforms.

American Express noted in the survey that the generational disparity demonstrated that restaurants should strongly consider their target customer base and pair traditional customer services with the convenience of technology at the table when they decide on how to augment their approach to restaurant technology.

Plans for Tech Investments and Hiring
At the time the survey was taken, many of the restauranteurs felt positive about the future and planned to use part of their revenues to make tech investments.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents planned to make tech investments in the next 12 months. And, they also planned to hire both front of the house and back of the house staff.

Generational Divide Evident in Take-Out Tech Also
The generational difference in views of kiosks extended to take-out technology as well with Millenials being more likely than any other generation to order using a mobile app or website.

For instance, Millennials were more than twice as likely than Baby Boomers to have used a restaurant’s mobile app or website in the previous month.

In addition, Millennials were significantly more likely to have used a service such as Grubhub or Seamless.

This technology trend does not appear to be slowing down and restauranteurs are taking notice, according to American Express’ survey.

While a minority of restaurant operators (24 percent) had an online ordering or delivery platform such as Grubhub or Seamless, another 31 percent told American Express that they planned or were considering adopting such services.

In addition, some 24 percent of restaurateurs offered order ahead technology through their own website or mobile app while another 42 percent plan to or are considering adopting the technology.
“The survey results confirm what we’ve long heard, especially from our Millennial diners: that consumers value being able to order the foods they love, on mobile or desktop, from their favorite local restaurants,” said Stan Chia, chief operating officer, Grubhub.

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