Is tech negatively impacting the guest experience?


Is tech negatively impacting the guest experience?

Is tech negatively impacting the guest experience?

There's no doubt that technology has made our lives a lot easier. Thanks to tech, we can keep in contact with friends on the other side of the world, reply to work emails while on the move, and drive to new places without having to pull over to check the AA road map. But, when it comes to eating out, has tech actually had a negative impact on the guest experience

Front-of-house technology has become commonplace in the hospitality industry; from mobile POS devices to tap-and-go payment systems, many businesses have embraced tech in a bid to streamline services and enhance service quality.

Yet, Sacla's recent report - the same report that found diners are becoming more adventurous - revealed that 37% of adults aged over 35 do not want restaurant staff to use guest-facing technology.

What's more, of the 2,034 adults polled, 32% of 18 to 34-year-olds said they preferred a "human approach" when they dined out, BigHospitality reports.

Robin Gill, co-founder of restaurants The Manor, Paradise Garage and The Dairy, thinks that technology harms the relationship between guests and front-of-house staff. He commented: "If a customer wants any information on a dish then we don't want any barriers between them and us. If you put a computer or an iPad there straight away it says that you don't want to speak to the guest. It's lazy.

"For me, what's important is customer interaction [...] I want a nice, personal service. I want to go to a restaurant where I can have a nice rapport with people and have a bit of banter."

The results of the survey may come as quite a shock to business owners who have already implemented guest-facing tech. Founder of craft coffee house London Grind, David Abrahamovitch, said that despite the results, his shop will continue embracing this new technology.

"It's 2015; every business is a technology business [...] technology has been important to the restaurant industry long before we could put it in our pocket," he commented. Grind are in the process of creating an app in response to growing consumer demand.

However, there are some scenarios where guest-facing tech can enhance the experience. Among the other findings of the report, 22% of diners said they would want an automated payment system in an eating-out mobile app; 34% said that GPS navigation is important in those apps; and 41% would like the app to display recent visitor reviews.

Do you implement guest-facing technology in your restaurant? If so, do you think it has had a positive or negative impact on the guest experience?

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