Restaurants Remain Hungry for Tech without the Headache

National Restaurant Association study maps the restaurant industry technology landscape.

Roughly four in five operators agree that technology can help make restaurants more productive, increase sales and provide a competitive advantage, according to data from a study released by the National Restaurant Association. Conversely, half say technology also makes the customer experience more complicated.

“This research highlights the importance that user-friendly, streamlined tech solutions play in creating an innovative restaurant environment and that closing this divide will be a priority for the industry going forward,” said Annika Stensson, director of research communications for the National Restaurant Association.

According to the study Mapping the Restaurant Technology Landscape, limited-service restaurants have a significantly higher adoption rate of customer-facing technologies that facilitate speed of service or ease access to off-premises options such as online ordering, smartphone apps and mobile payment. Franchisees and chain-owned restaurant operations have implemented more technology overall.

“Operators say that costs in various forms remain the primary barrier to implementing more technology in their operations. Cost-effective solutions and strong arguments for ROI are going to make all the difference going forward, as operator interest in exploring the technology arena is clearly there,” Stensson said.

Other data points from the report include:

  • 81 percent of restaurants use a POS or electronic register system.
  • 68 percent of restaurants offer Wi-Fi for guests.
  • 37 percent of restaurants offer online ordering.
  • 32 percent of restaurants accept mobile payment.
  • 53 percent of restaurant operators say they would implement predictive ordering technology if it were available to them today.
  • 37 percent of restaurant operators believe customer ordering is the most important area of technology development in the next five years.
  • 32 percent of restaurant operators consider their operations to be lagging when it comes to technology use.
  • 12 percent of operators consider their operations to be leading-edge.
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