Every person today falls into one generational category or another, where it’s the Silent Generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennial’s or Gen Z. Each generational group is shaped and formed through common experiences and current events leading them to have different wants and needs that influence their consumer behavior. And any marketer knows all too well that with a better understanding of what matters most to key generational groups they have a greater opportunity on how to gain the attention of these consumers to drive traffic.

While, usually what matters most to one group is considerably different than that of the other generational groups, one thing that is becoming a common trait across generations is the want or desire for more technology to improve the customer dining experience.  According to the latest National Restaurant Association’s 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry report, while Gen Z and Millennial are now tech dependent, technology usage is now a shared feature across age groups increasingly meaning that restaurant technology options are becoming a must-have and not just a nice-to-have.

Most consumers, regardless of age bracket, now currently use some amount of technology in their restaurant experience and the latest NRA report shows there is an appetite for even more advancements with the majority of consumers saying they would like to see more technology that focuses on improved customer service, easier ordering, easier payments and more takeout and delivery options.

  • 60% of all adults surveyed agreed that restaurant technology (i.e. smartphone apps, table-side tablets, kiosks, etc.) increases convenience.
    • The number jumped to 70% of respondents ages 18-34.
  • 66% of those 18-34 said technology increases order accuracy and encourages them to dine out or order out more frequently.
  • Technologies that rated highest among consumers: tablets at the table, self-service electronic kiosks, and wearable technology for restaurant servers.

Plus, consumers are using their smartphones and tablets to look up restaurant locations and hours, check out menus, order takeout and delivery, and read and write reviews. 25% are also using devices to look up nutrition info and make restaurant reservations.

Just as it has changed every other aspect of modern living, technology has and continues to constantly reshape the restaurant business. With significant growth in tech adoption in recent years, especially among older generations, technology options that are on offer to consumers are now just as important as the food being served. Those restaurants that wait to invest risk getting left behind by both the competition and customers.

For more tech trends and to get the 2019 State of the Restaurant Industry and watch the webinar, visit Restaurant.org/SOI.