Rise in tech-led restaurants to cater to digital-savvy diners

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rise in tech-led restaurants to cater to digital-savvy diners

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The UK could see a rise in high-tech restaurants over the next few years to cater to increasingly digital-savvy diners, Inamo co-founder Noel Hunwick has predicted.

Hunwick told BigHospitality that he expected more restaurants of all levels to begin introducing tablet ordering and payment options as operators realised they could be executed in an attractive way.

“I think hospitality as an industry is sometimes a little cautious about adopting new technologies and I think it’s got lots of good reasons for that,” said Hunwick.

“Interestingly over the seven and a half years since opening our first Inamo I imagined that there would be a lot more restaurants using technology, and I think that is going to speed up quite a lot over the next few years.” 

Inamo opened a new site in Covent Garden this month complete with tablet ordering and interactive tables allowing guests to adjust the lighting and watch their dishes being made via a 'Chef Cam'.

Hunwick said that diners were becoming more accepting of gadgets in restaurants compared to a decade ago.

“When we were developing the idea for Inamo nine or 10 years ago I remember lots of friends saying to us ‘technology in a social sphere? I can’t imagine that happening’.

“There were no smartphones, no iPads, but now social media and social technology has definitely happened, so that’s the kind of area we’d like to develop.”  

Future tech

The technology at Inamo is set to continually evolve as new advancements become possible.

“One thing which we were very close to having ready for the opening is the ability to interact with the tables with gestures,” said Hunwick.

“What we might initially be using is a little infra-red pointing device, though in the fairly near future that will move to being controlled by the tablet.

“I really like the idea of having the tablet for ordering and on the tables having gesture based generative artworks – attractive, interactive things that guests will really enjoy engaging with.”

Expansion plans

With the Covent Garden Inamo now open, Hunwick confirmed that the tech-led restaurant group was considering expansion beyond their existing two sites.

“In terms of our future plans I’m going to keep them a little under wraps at this point, suffice to say we are looking beyond our Covent Garden opening,” he said.

“I think in the short term we’d probably look in London but mid to long-term we would very much like to expand beyond.

“Our aims are certainly to look at future developments but I’m going to keep them a bit hush hush for now.”

Interested in Inamo's gadgets? Check out our behind the scenes video​ at the restaurant's new high-tech site.

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