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New research from Barclay Card has shown that Brits are becoming increasingly more demanding in terms of requiring restaurants with faster service and more convenient ways to pay whether dining out or ordering takeaways.

Dining habits have changed dramatically and even with austerity looming over us, dining out has actually risen by more than a quarter (26 per cent) as more people now opting for a restaurant over cooking at home at least once a week, with convenience the driving factor for almost a third (32 per cent). Dining choices are changing mostly for convenience (56%) but also as a result of increased disposable incomes (28%) with restaurant spending reaching a 15-month high, up 14.9% year-on-year in August.

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At the same time, it would seem the average Brit is also becoming a lot more impatient with quick service overtaking value and menu choice in our main decision making process. According to the study, waiting too long for food is the biggest bugbear for customers just above extra charges being added to their bill. Being kept waiting to long for the bill is also a large bee in the bonnet of customers and we’ve all experience and understand how frustrating the endless waving of hands or walking the floor to find a waiter to help you simply pay and leave without being held captive for too long.

In response to this, many restaurants are looking towards technology to help, Wahaca for example, has a purpose built app that allows you to enter your table number , split the bill adding as many cards etc as you need and allows you to simply pay and leave. I personally love this method and find the app well thought out and easy to use. This technology is also invaluable for making it easier to pay in large groups and save you paying extra for alcohol or items that weren’t even yours in the first place.
Restaurants and cafes are quickly realising that consumers more likely to choose venues that offer contactless payments, the option to pre-order and pay with an app for both delivery and eating in a restaurant and payment by mobile device at the table. Many venues and companies (such as Starbucks) are now offering the option to order and pay ahead of coming in to make a collection.

On a separate note there is a continuing trend of consumers wanting personalization over generic loyalty schemes as diners would also like restaurateurs to make their experience feel more personal with a third more likely to choose somewhere to eat if they receive tailored offers based on personal data they have provided, such as free drinks for birthdays.

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Sharon Manikon, Customer Solutions Director at Barclaycard said:

“Time is of the essence for today’s busy Brits and this need for speed now seems to be translating to the dining experience. But instead of being a special treat, eating out and ordering food in are increasingly becoming the norm, with consumers turning to restaurants and delivery services to provide quick and easy meal-time options, whether it’s a bite to eat after work or a mid-week takeaway ordered from a mobile device on the move.

As the restaurant sector enters a new era of ‘dining-on-demand’, the industry needs to respond with the right technology to improve the service and experience they provide, or risk getting left behind by their more savvy competitors. By introducing a personal touch, such as apps which allow diners to pre-order and pay for meals in advance, or tools that enable bills to be split per head, restaurateurs can ensure they keep customers’ appetites for enjoyable food and high quality service well and truly satisfied.”

Top 10 frustrations when eating out in restaurants
1. Being kept waiting too long for food 59%
2. Tips added to the bill automatically 54%
3. Added service charges 50%
4. Being kept waiting too long when for the bill 49%
5. Extra charges for items assumed to be complimentary (e.g. bread, water) 44%
6. Having to wait too long for a table to become available 40%
7. Overly attentive waiting staff 28%
8. Not being able to pay by credit or debit card 27%
9. Allocated dining time slot, e.g. a two hour table turnaround 18%
10. Not being able to book in advance 15%

Food for thought.

Stephanie Hall

Stephanie Hall

Steph is an ex-Fed Up & Drunker who has now been released into the wild.

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