Personal Touch Still Important Despite Increase In Technology

In a modern “want it now, get it now” culture, personal and attentive service is still the most important for restaurants, according to a new report. Insights from the Quarterly Dining Trends Report from Bookatable, Europe’s largest restaurant booking platform, reveal that Brits prefer a faster, more flexible way of dining, using technology and digital advances to personalise our dining experience.

The report reveals that personalisation is a key focus for Brits dining out, with almost half (47 per cent) expecting to curate their entire dining experience in the not so distant future. Everything from choosing a restaurant table before they arrive (43 per cent), to selecting the background music (16 per cent), and having access to live cameras in the kitchens and bars (18 per cent) were among some of the future dining predictions.

Personal and attentive service 71%
Digitally divided bills between large groups 39%
Using technology to choose a seat before entering the restaurant 42%
Previewing portion size via technology such as hologram / plate projection 24%
Efficient mobile ordering & payment options 20%

Tech-savvy, time poor Brits are looking to streamline dining processes with more efficient ‘fast-track’ and pre-booking options when organising their evening out. Diners looking for a speedier service seek time saving tools, like choosing the specific time slots meals will be served (40 per cent) and the ability to order additional items off the menu via a mobile app (18 per cent). Although avid foodies welcome digital advances, we still consider restaurants that offer a personal service from staff (71 per cent) as an imperative factor when deciding where to dine out.

Instant gratification is central for diners looking to personalise their eating out experience, and restaurants tapping into technology are more likely to help guests achieve this. In just five years’ time, almost a quarter (24 per cent) of Brits would like a preview of portion size, ingredients used (21 per cent), and the presentation (22 per cent) of a dish shown via technology such as hologram projection or mobile app. While, more adventurous eaters (15 per cent) may be more inclined to try dishes before committing by ordering 3D printed meal samples.

Despite almost a quarter of Brits (23 per cent) noticing a shift in restaurants embracing technology, in the future, loyal diners returning to restaurants would like to breeze through settling the bill with more efficient payment options. 39 per cent would like the bill automatically split between larger groups, 24 per cent would prefer to pay using a digital dining card (a restaurant equivalent of an Oyster card) and 20 per cent of us would opt for simple mobile payment such as EasyPreOrders, which enables customers to pre-order and pre-pay for the meal booked through the Bookatable app at the end of the night – which means no manual calculating, no arguing over the bill and no hassle.

Bookatable’s Quarterly Dining Trends Report shows that 15 per cent of food lovers would like to receive mobile alerts of nearby places of interest based on the restaurant they’ve recently eaten at. A further one in five (21 per cent) Brits agree restaurants should look further to incorporate additional digital technology into the dining experience, proving that restaurants are going to have to adapt and evolve to keep up with digital-savvy diners of today.

Joe Steele, CEO of Bookatable commented: “More and more restaurants are looking to elevate the customer experience with convenience being at the forefront of future innovation. We can definitely see a shift in how restaurants are using technology, including one of the valuable elements of the Bookatable app which features a pay-at-table option, offering diners faster service and essentially granting them more time to enjoy their meal”.