Last month we surveyed diners in the U.S. to learn what guests want from technology before, during and after the dining experience — and now we’re excited to share the same feedback from diners in the U.K.
We surveyed more than 1,500 U.K. consumers to learn their real opinions on what role technology should play in dining. Our respondents shared feedback on topics like whether they were comfortable being Google searched before they walked in the door; how frequently they use their smartphones during a meal; and their wish lists for in-meal technologies.
The Restaurant Magazine recently hosted a roundtable event at London’s Quo Vadis restaurant to discuss the latest U.K. dining technology trends. OpenTable’s research findings were exclusively unveiled to five British restaurateurs: Paulo de Tarso, senior maître d’ of Bar Boulud; Dawn Sperring, co-owner of The Chilli Pickle; Razak Helalat of The Salt Room and The Coal Shed; Martin Williams, founder of M Restaurants; and Steven Smith, chef-patron of Freemasons at Wiswell.
Here are four highlights from the roundtable discussion:
1. The power of the website. 82 percent of people regularly check out menus online. Razak said, “Your website is the first portal people visit so it should be impressive and a bit of spectacle.”
2. Demand for online bookings. 83 percent of people are looking to make a booking when they visit a restaurant’s website. “Online is the main way that people book now — it’s a natural progression, so your website has to make it easy for people to do so,” said Dawn.
3. Using technology for customers’ pre-dining requests. 66 percent of people wish technology could help them choose their table before the meal. Paulo said, “We get so many seating requests. When it’s sunny everyone wants to be by the window; when it’s raining, by the kitchen. It would be wonderful to be able to do that but we can’t.” Dawn countered: “A restaurant room is a fluid thing, you can’t be dictated too much by the customer.”
4. Controlling the dining experience.17 percent of people ‘always’ or ‘frequently’ share their experiences on social media with photos. Martin said, “ We have a photo booth downstairs, which helps to control it. It takes Instagram-style pictures that people can post on social media and people are encouraged to share them. It’s about controlling the customer’s desire to take and share photos.”
Download “U.K. Technology and Dining Out 2015” today to get access to fresh insights on the role of technology in the hospitality industry, today and in the future. We look forward to hearing what you think!