Restaurant guests are keen to go mobile, study finds

Researchers at Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) have confirmed that restaurant goers are enthusiastic about the wave of smartphones and table-top tablets as ways to pay their food bill.

The report, entitled Ready and Willing: Restaurant Customers’ View of Payment Technology, surveyed nearly 1,300 consumers in the US, found that paying with these new forms of technology is significantly more popular than paying by credit card.

In fact, respondents rated the experience of paying via a smartphone or tablet higher than traditional methods in all eight areas considered:  accuracy, control of pacing, convenience, efficiency, experience quality, future spending intentions, privacy, and satisfaction with the payment method.

Our study was conducted before Apple Pay was announced, but it’s clear that restaurant customers are ready to use this kind of technology to settle their checks,” said Sheryl Kimes, professor of operations management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, and co-author of the report. “We tested the use of smartphone apps and table-top systems on eight different measures. Technology beat out the traditional settlement method on all eight, including overall guest satisfaction.”

Restaurant operators should take notice of consumers’ favourable view of payment technology, since the industry has long been concerned that guests would not want to use it,” added Kimes’ co-author Joel Collier, associate professor at Mississippi State University. “What’s especially interesting is that the consumers in our study gave high marks to payment technology for its privacy aspect, since their credit card never leaves their hands. I also want to point out that these consumers said that payment technology would encourage them to spend more money on their next visit to a restaurant.”


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