Diners expect restaurants to be tech savvy and digitally agile.
Around 80% of consumers expect to be able to use technology to order at casual restaurants. This follows a period when QR codes became widely used to access menus in service of contactless ordering. But that’s not all.
“From initial search and discovery, through the ordering and post-meal engagement, consumers want a seamless and personalized experience catered to their individual needs,” said Perry Turbes, CEO of HungerRush, in a release.
The data comes from “The RushReport: The 2023 Restaurant Consumer Experience Report” from HungerRush, a restaurant management solution. The report is based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults.
Why we care. The data from HungerRush (which, of course, has skin in this game) is compelling because it echoes a message we’re hearing everywhere. Consumers (across the board; in this case, literal consumers) are blurring the lines between physical and digital.
It used to be that going to a restaurant or a bar — and ordering — was very much an in-person activity. Even grabbing takeout usually involved walking into a place and talking to people. Indeed, these things still happen. But now diners also expect the option of a digital experience, for wine and liquor as well as food delivery, from discovery to providing feedback.
You don’t have to be involved in restaurant marketing to hear the message loud and clear.
Pandemic effects. As with everything from grocery to apparel shopping, COVID-19 changed the way diners interacted with restaurants. In addition to the use of QR codes to view menus and apps to place orders (in-house as well as remotely), the pandemic accustomed diners to reading menus online, ordering online for delivery or pickup, and eating as well as working at home.
33% of the sample preferred takeout because they wanted to eat at home. Over 40% are looking for more innovative ways of ordering, including by text.
Online discovery. 60% go to Google Reviews or Yelp before trying a new restaurant while 85% say it’s important to be able to find reviews online. Just over a third discover restaurants on social media, but word-of-mouth from friends and family trumps that with over 60%.
Third-party delivery marketplaces and reservation marketplaces also provide opportunities for restaurant discovery. “Up-to-date presences on digital platforms like Google, Yelp, and social media are now table stakes,” the report says.
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