Poor in-store technology dings consumer confidence in restaurant brands, study finds
- Nearly half (46%) of consumers who have had positive experiences with in-store technology in restaurants show higher brand confidence, according to findings from a new study by Boomtown made available to Marketing Dive. These consumers will visit those businesses more frequently, recommend them to others and make more purchases.
- More than 80% of consumers have experienced a technical issue at a store or restaurant, however, and nearly 60% have had it happen multiple times, the study found. Negative experiences around poorly functioning technology result in declining brand confidence and less frequent visits to the businesses for nearly a third of consumers.
- More than 60% of diners choose large chains over small or regional businesses. At larger chains, they expect technology-driven customer experience, like self-checkout, location-based promotions, online ordering and local pickup.
Restaurant marketers have broadly started to implement more in-store technology, like digital kiosks and self-checkout, but the Boomtown research emphasizes that these offerings must be functioning and seamless to deliver on their promises of greater convenience and customer service. A technology experience that is poor can have the opposite of its intended effect, and drive down customer loyalty.
As digital transformation ramps up, some big-name restaurant brands have weathered hiccups in integrating new technology, not just on the customer side, but also with employees. McDonald's last year partnered with Capgemini and Publicis.Sapient for a digital upgrade that includes digital ordering kiosks, more mobile payment options and a refreshed mobile app. However, company executives have admitted that adoption of the McDonald's app is low, and there has been discontent as employees have felt the stress over having to manage both digital and in-store orders.
Customers tend to enjoy the ease of mobile ordering, but brands need to focus on the customer journey holistically to ensure that their experiences are positive. In a potential bid to meet this demand, Dunkin' Donuts is this year piloting new store concepts that feature drive-thru and in-store pick-up lines dedicated to mobile orders done through the brand's DD Perks loyalty program. The fast-casual Mexican chain Chipotle similarly plans to add drive-thru lanes at some of its locations that are reserved only for customers who order using its app or website.