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How to Maximise the Impact of Mobile Technology on the Dining Experience

Guest Writer
16 Feb 2024 9min read

Integrating mobile technology in the hospitality industry has revolutionised how people experience eating out. From streamlining reservations to efficient ordering, mobile solutions have redefined restaurant customer engagement.

The impact of mobile technology extends beyond mere convenience, though. It’s bled into the entire restaurant experience. Consider the last time you ate out and appreciated when a server remembered your previous order, or even when you enjoyed the playlist.

When used thoughtfully, technology can enhance customer satisfaction and boost business growth. This article will examine the transformative role of mobile technology on the dining experience.

What is mobile technology for restaurants?

Many restaurants leverage mobile technology such as mobile apps, artificial intelligence, and other digital solutions to enhance operations and customer experiences. This technology is so prevalent in the hospitality industry that any restaurant owner not taking advantage of the benefits might find themselves at a disadvantage.

Here are a few ways mobile technology is being used across the hospitality industry:

  • Mobile apps: Many restaurants have deployed mobile apps that allow customers to browse menus, place orders, purchase gift cards, and make reservations directly from their smartphones or tablets.
  • QR code menus: QR codes made a huge comeback during COVID-19 and have managed to stick around. Access to digital menus on mobile devices has reduced the need for physical menus, promoting efficiency for customers and service staff.
  • Mobile wallets: Integrating mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or other digital wallets allows customers to pay for their meals using smartphones in seconds, whether that’s through order and pay at table apps or a QR code payment solution. Overall, improving convenience and efficiency.
  • App-based loyalty programs: Restaurants may offer loyalty programs often accessed and managed through a mobile app, providing incentives and rewards to increase repeated footfall. This fosters customer retention and engagement.
  • Order management: Mobile technology extends to the kitchen through Kitchen Display Systems. Orders placed through mobile apps or in-house systems such as the Mobile POS are directly sent to the kitchen, reducing manual errors and enhancing order accuracy.

How does mobile technology impact customer engagement?

Beyond the routine of booking tables or placing a delivery order online, mobile technology can empower customers to customise their dining journey. We already live in a world where a restaurant’s mobile app can remember your favourite dish and dietary preferences. 

This level of customisation is more than just a convenience. It’s a testament to how technology can tap into predictive intelligence and transform customers into loyal diners.

Mobile apps have evolved into personalised concierges, curating the entire dining journey for customers. From recommending dishes based on previous orders and dietary preferences to suggesting wine pairings and offering your favourite treat on your birthday, mobile apps are no longer just tools for placing orders. 

The competitive edge of personalisation

The restaurant industry is a competitive one. With dining options at every corner, people naturally gravitate to the ones prioritising their experience. In fact, 62% of consumers want personalised communication from the restaurants they regularly dine at. 

Beyond loyalty programs, restaurants can use mobile technology to provide real-time, location-based offers. Imagine sending a push notification to a customer as they walk past your restaurant with a discount for their favourite appetiser. This level of personalised engagement boosts customer retention and encourages spontaneous visits. Which also leads to increased revenue. Win-win.

Using mobile apps beyond convenience 

How can you use technology beyond easy in-app ordering and loyalty programs?

Here’s a creative one: Some music streaming services for restaurants combine predictive intelligence and mobile technology to enhance the dining experience. Predictive analytics anticipates customer preferences, and a custom musical experience establishes your unique brand identity.

With the right music app, you should be able to manage and tailor music playlists to suit specific times of the day, seasons, or even the establishment’s mood. And a curated playlist isn’t just background noise — it’s an integral part of the dining atmosphere that influences your customers’ emotional connection with your brand. 

One large study that analysed 1.8 million purchases across 16 restaurants discovered that dessert purchases increased by 15.6% when the playlist fit the brand with a mix of popular and obscure songs.

Mobile technology for forward-thinking restaurants

Now that we’ve touched on the power of predictive analytics to curate playlists and send discounts at just the right time, let’s uncover some additional examples that showcase the transformative power of mobile technology in the dining experience. 

Tableside technologies

Tableside restaurant technology allows customers to interact with digital menus, explore detailed descriptions of dishes, and even view virtual presentations of how certain items are prepared. Such immersive experiences engage customers and provide educational elements, elevating the overall dining experience.

Augmented reality in menus

The integration of augmented reality (AR) in restaurant menus marks a forward-thinking establishment and will be something we’ll see more of in high-tech venues in the future. Customers can use their smartphones to scan menu items, revealing visually stunning depictions and detailed information about each dish. This adds an element of excitement and assists indecisive diners in making informed choices.

Virtual events and experiences

Mobile technology has played a vital role in bringing people together virtually. Restaurants have embraced the trend of hosting virtual events, cooking classes, or live-streamed chef interactions. Restaurants have extended their customer base beyond their physical locations and created a sense of community with their customers. 

The rise of voice-activated services

Many restaurants have started experimenting with voice-activated ordering systems that enable customers to place orders or request information through virtual assistants. Tech-savvy consumers who appreciate convenience love the hands-free interaction. And it facilitates a more inclusive culture too.

Crafting an unforgettable dining experience

As you can see, mobile technology has weaved its way into the restaurant industry, and it isn’t going anywhere.

What started as a response to changing times is now an indispensable strategy for success. Restaurants that embrace this evolution benefit in terms of operational efficiency and building solid connections with their customers.

Mobile technology, predictive intelligence, and personalised services create a pleasurable dining experience beyond the plate. From seamless transactions to personalised playlists, each element contributes to a narrative that customers will remember and share.

Want to see the Kobas system in action?

Kobas enables teams across the hospitality industry to manage all areas of the business, from one connected and complete system.

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