Smart dining tech is key to improving customer experience
Fri Nov 30 2018
Almost a third of restaurant owners (32%) plan to invest in improved booking technology in the next 12 months as they seek to improve the customer experience, according to a new Barclaycard survey.
The findings reveal a growing appetite for innovative tech solutions across the dining sector, from improved online booking systems, to payment apps and smart ePOS systems. They may all work differently but the objective is the same: to create a seamless operation that results in improved customer experience.
However, some outlets are still holding back from going digital. Barclaycard’s research revealed that 28% of restaurants feel that the biggest barrier to installing new tech is the challenge of integrating digital systems at their outlets.
One potential solution is introducing an ePOS terminal – a fifth of outlets surveyed said that the most important tech for ensuring a smooth customer experience is a modern ePOS system, which can help to ensure speedy service, keep track of stock and allow the efficient processing of payments.
This ties in with what diners want. Speedy, efficient service was revealed to be a “very important” aspect of the overall dining experience by 57% of restaurants. Barclaycard’s Smartpay Hub system doesn’t just offer outlets the ability to manage staff rotas – it also allows integrated card payments that can make it faster for diners to settle up.
Don’t leave customers waiting
Waiting around for payments to be processed is known to have a negative impact on the customer experience. Previous research by Barclaycard found that 36% of diners find waiting for the bill the most frustrating part of dining out.
Of the restaurants that responded to Barclaycard’s latest survey, 54% said that 0-4 minutes is an acceptable amount of time between requesting the bill and making payment.
Even once the bill has arrived, it’s important that the payment process is also quick and convenient. The survey found that 17% of outlets believe cashless payment is the most useful form of tech for creating a smoother customer experience.
Tech can help speed up the painful process of fighting to flag down a waiter, too. Barclaycard’s research found that 31% of restaurants consider speed of ordering to have the most detrimental effect on restaurant service.
Barclaycard has trialled an innovative solution, Dine & Dash, a system that improves customer experience by allowing diners to “check in” when they sit down to eat, then order and settle their bill via their smartphones.
Research from hospitality consultancy CGA suggests that this expansion in restaurants offering app-based payment is likely to continue, with 28% of outlets saying they planned to implement it by the end of 2018. This tallies with the findings of Barclaycard’s survey, which revealed that 29% of outlets plan to set up faster payment solutions within the next 12 months.
Make booking simple
Improving customer experience was also revealed to be about more than the meal itself – it can actually start before diners arrive.
Up to 53% of restaurants surveyed by Barclaycard said that ease of booking is a “very important” aspect of customer experience.
It can take the stress out of finding a table and make it easier for larger groups to find a spot without needing to queue. From a restaurant’s perspective too, smart online booking systems can be useful for efficient table management.
Research revealed that 35% of restaurant businesses feel that cutting-edge online booking systems are the most useful form of tech for their outlet, with 32% of restaurants saying it was their priority as a strategy for improving customer experience.
Not only do online booking systems remove the need to queue – they can help businesses to build customer loyalty via promotional emails and offers. Some online booking systems are also designed to integrate with ePOS systems to help restaurants collect data about customer habits and daily operations.
Over time they can help outlets intelligently maximise their resources and ensure that they’re offering diners a seamless, appetising customer experience.
Find out how Barclaycard's food & drink payment solutions can improve your business.
 Barclaycard surveyed 203 people who work in the hospitality industry in October 2018
 A survey of 195 leading industry figures from the eating and drinking out sector conducted by CGA between 17/01/18 - 05/02/18.