OpenTable Research Reveals What Canadian Diners Want From Technology

OpenTable today 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.

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.

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

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