The New Quarterly Dining Trends Report from booking website Bookatable showed that 71 per cent of Brits felt that personal and attentive service needed to be an essential part of dining in the future, compared to a host of other more technological ‘essentials’.
This was more than the 42 per cent who said ‘using technology to choose a seat before entering the restaurant’ would be essential in future, and the 39 per cent who felt that it was essential for bills to be divided digitally when it came to large groups.
Similarly, less than a quarter of people (24 per cent) said that being able to preview portion sizes via technology such as holograms or ‘plate projection’ would be essential, and just one in five (20 per cent) said that efficient mobile ordering and payment options would be essential in future.
Although personal service was still seen as key, diners were still keen to customise their experiences for the greatest speed and convenience.
Two in five (40 per cent) said they would like to choose specific time slots for their meals to be served in, and 18 per cent said they would like the ability to order extra items off the menu via a mobile app.
Not even the kitchen or stereo are safe: almost one in five (18 per cent) said that they would welcome live cameras in the kitchens and bars to allow them to watch the chefs at work, while 16 per cent even said they would like the ability to select the restaurant’s music from an app in future.
Similarly, the report found that 15 per cent of diners would like to receive mobile alerts of places nearby, based on restaurants they have recently visited.
And over one in five (21 per cent) respondents said that restaurants needed to incorporate more digital technology into their operation.
The report comes in light of much discussion about whether robots might one day take over from service staff in restaurants, and the rise in mobile ordering and payment apps.
Joe Steele, chief executive of Bookatable commented: “More and more restaurants are looking to elevate the customer experience with convenience being at the forefront of future innovation. We can definitely see a shift in how restaurants are using technology.”