Today, technology in the restaurant industry is finding a spot at the table. Portable credit card readers and iPads join your dining experience alongside your side order of fries and margarita refill. Here's how eating out just got more tech savvy.
Restaurateurs know that to keep a client happy, speedy service is vital. Whether that's getting food or the bill to the table, expediency is the name of the game. To help with this, servers and ordering kiosks at quick service restaurants now have iPads. At many eateries at Toronto Pearson International Airport, for example, you order from your table with just a touch of an iPad, while simultaneously monitoring your flight or checking the news — perfect if you're in a rush to board or with airport time to kill. Online menus can also be programmed to suggest add-ons that pair well with whatever's been ordered, a bonus to restaurateurs and undecided customers. Clients are fed and the food paid for, while table turnover and customer satisfaction rise.
Ever given your credit card to a waiter, only to wonder when he would be back (and where he even went with it)? With advancing technology in the restaurant industry, gone are the days of handing over your card to a server to ring out on the other side of the restaurant. Diners dislike this, given the correlation between wandering credit cards and credit card fraud. Now e-waiter checkouts allow you to pay at the table using a portable terminal. It keeps cards in plain sight and speeds up the payment process, making it a win-win for both parties. You and your friends can easily break up the check without fear of being over or undercharged. Similar to iPad orders, payment is done online. With the swipe of a credit card, your meal's receipt is emailed to you — great for your wallet and the environment.
Fast food restaurants lead the way in mobile ordering. With your smart phone, you can place your order and have it delivered to you without making a call. Instead of waiting in the long Chipotle lunch line, just order from your desk with the mobile app, stroll in, grab your burrito and watch as the line dwellers get jealous. Domino's Pizza chain even developed a Spanish language app, so ordering en español is as easy as an extra large pizza with queso. Customers get access to the chain's menu in either language, as well as coupons. Domino's customers can even place orders via text (a simple pizza emoji will do), Twitter or smart watch. There's clearly demand for this type of tech: Online and mobile app ordering make up 30 percent of the pizza chain's sales in the United States.
It's only a matter of time before your social media news feeds include your friend's takeout orders alongside throwback photos and status updates. Expect to see online loyalty programs to pair with this new technology and to reward repeat clientele. Happy (mobile) ordering!
Photo credit: Flickr