Restaurant technology is moving at a dizzying pace, rapidly redefining consumers’ concept of “normal.” Unthinkable even a decade ago, tools such as QR codes or ordering kiosks are streamlining the restaurant experience, but also changing it. Research shows that the metaverse — an advanced, social, virtual reality platform — might be the next step in this progression as a way for consumers to interact with their favorite restaurant brands.
The Digital Divide: Technology, The Metaverse And The Future Of Dining Out, a PYMNTS and Paytronix collaboration, takes an in-depth look at the complex relationship restaurant consumers have with technology. While technology may be streamlining the restaurant experience, some worry it is only worsening subpar customer service. Some consumers are excited about the metaverse, but others are still deciding whether it is something they want to try. We surveyed 2,496 United States consumers to learn more about this delicate balance and what really matters to them.
Additional key findings from the report include:
Grab-and-go consumers are most likely to believe technology is a core positive element of the customer experience.
Fifty-eight percent of grab-and-go customers think more technology inside restaurants — even to the point where it might eliminate waitstaff — means better customer service, whereas just 29% of dine-in consumers think the same.
Though restaurants have generally become more digital, little touches of customer service — such as staff continuity and friendliness — still matter to consumers.
Restaurant technology can streamline ordering processes and improve overall efficiency, but its benefits have limits. Service issues such as understaffing and a lack of friendly waitstaff have become a problem for a substantial number of consumers who frequent restaurants. Thirty-six percent of consumers at least partially agree that the restaurants they visit have become understaffed, and an additional 27% strongly agree.
Twenty percent of restaurant consumers are familiar with the metaverse and 18% have participated in these cutting-edge environments.
The concept of a metaverse has gained recognition in recent years. Although the general public is not yet very familiar with it, some groups are tracking the space. Our data finds that 33% of grab-and-go customers are “very” or “extremely” familiar with the metaverse, more than double the share of either dine-in or either-or customers, at approximately 13% each.
To learn more about how technology is changing the relationship consumers have with the eateries they visit and order from, download the report.