Each restaurant patron values certain aspects of the restaurant experience as determined by a combination of their habits, budget and personal preferences. PYMNTS’ research uncovered patterns concerning these factors. Customer service is also a deciding factor for many, as is whether the restaurant is part of an established chain or independently owned. Additionally, the metaverse is primed to change the restaurant experience for many consumers.
“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 the restaurant context. When consumers decide what kind of restaurant they wish to order from, they are deciding based on multiple factors, including the taste of the food, familiarity and efficiency of the food’s preparation or speed in which they can anticipate their order. But customers’ reasons for choosing a specific eatery don’t stop there. We surveyed 2,391 restaurant consumers in the United States to learn more about what inspires their restaurant choices.
• Efficiency is always important in the restaurant industry, but it is especially vital for chains, which face far more customer traffic than independent locations. Our data shows that 60% of consumers visited only chains when purchasing restaurant food in the 30 days prior to being surveyed, vastly exceeding the 25% that purchased food at both chain and independent restaurants and the 14% that visited only independent eateries in that same time.
• Consumers often choose chain restaurants for their convenience, which correlates with the many digital features they offer. Our research finds that 38% of chain-restaurant-exclusive consumers value convenience when choosing where to eat, and 10% said they are chiefly motivated by convenience. These figures drop significantly for independent-restaurant-exclusive consumers: 20% value convenience and just 1% of these consumers say it is their primary motivation.
• Staff service is key, regardless of a consumer’s convenience-seeking or a restaurant’s technological savviness. Three-quarters of consumers that exclusively visit independent eateries as well as the same share of chain-exclusive diners agree that staff continuity positively impacts the restaurant experience. Some groups report this as important at even higher rates, particularly millennials, at 81%, and high-income consumers, at 80%.
To learn more about the intricacies of how consumers select eateries and how technology impacts these choices, download the report.