Each restaurant patron values certain aspects of the restaurant experience as determined by a combination of their own habits, budget, and personal preferences. PYMNTS research has revealed patterns in these factors. Customer service is also a deciding factor for many, as is whether a restaurant is part of a menu chain or independently owned. Additionally, the metaverse is poised to change the restaurant experience for many consumers.
“The Digital Divide: Technology, Customer Service, and Innovation in the Restaurant Industry,” A PYMNTS AND Paytronix Collaboration, examines consumers’ relationships with restaurant choice and virtual reality in a restaurant context. When consumers decide what type of restaurant they want to order from, they decide based on multiple factors, including the taste of the food, knowledge and efficiency of food preparation, or the speed with which they can anticipate their order. But the reasons why customers choose a particular restaurant do not stop there. We surveyed 2,391 restaurant consumers in the United States to learn more about what inspires their restaurant choices.
More key findings from the report include:
• Efficiency is always important in the restaurant industry, but it is especially vital for chains that experience far more customer traffic than independent sites. Our data shows that 60% of consumers visited chains only when purchasing restaurant food in the 30 days prior to the survey, vastly exceeding 25% who purchased food at both chain and independent restaurants and 14% who visited only independent restaurants at the same time.
• Consumers often choose chain restaurants for their convenience, which is related to the many digital features they offer. Our research found that 38% of exclusive consumers of chain restaurants value convenience when choosing where to eat, and 10% said they were primarily motivated by convenience. Those numbers drop dramatically for independent consumers who are exclusive to restaurants: 20% value convenience and only 1% of these consumers say this is their primary motivation.
• Personnel service is key, regardless of the consumer Those looking for the convenience or technological prowess of a restaurant. Three-quarters of consumers who visit exclusively independent restaurants as well as the same share of exclusive diners agree that employee continuity positively impacts the restaurant experience. Some groups report this is significant at higher rates, notably millennials at 81% and high-income consumers at 80%.
To learn more about the intricacies of how consumers choose restaurants and how technology affects those choices, Download the report.