Chief Economist, National Restaurant Association
More than ever before, American consumers are relying on their laptops and smartphones to explore their dining options. Here are some takeaways from the Association’s recent research:
1. An online visit
More than 6 in 10 consumers say they have looked up information about restaurants online, viewed a menu or visited restaurant websites before choosing their dining destination. More than one-third of smartphone users say they use their phones to look up restaurant locations, directions or hours of operation at least once a week.
2. The takeaway
Half of adults, including 67 percent of millennials, say they’ve placed a food order online for takeout or delivery. Forty-two percent of adults surveyed — including 53 percent of millennials — say that if a restaurant offers online ordering, they’re more likely to choose it over another one.
3. Calories still count
About 1 in 4 adults – and 1 in 3 millennials – say they’ve gone online to look up nutrition information for restaurant food.
4. Resting on loyals
More than half of smartphone users report that they use their phones to engage in restaurant loyalty programs, rewards or special deals.
5. Simply, service
When asked whether they’d rather sit down for a restaurant meal with traditional table service or sit at a table where they could place orders and pay for them with a tablet or phone app, more than 6 in 10 adults said they’d choose traditional table service.
However, there are generational differences: 3 in 4 baby boomers said they would opt for traditional table service, but millennials were split. Fifty-two percent of millennials said they’d order and pay electronically from their table, while 48 percent would pick the section with table service.