Staying ahead of the curve on communication technology requires close monitoring of the ever-shifting landscape. Firms like Technomic provide invaluable foodservice research that can reveal oncoming trends.
Technomic’s Erik Thoresen conducts proprietary studies for clients and tracks emerging technology in the restaurant and consumer sectors. Splick-it asked Thoresen to elaborate on some recent findings.
Splick-it: Based on what you see at Technomic, is mobile commerce increasing at a faster rate now than in recent years?
Erik Thoresen: Given rising penetration of smartphones, mobile technology represents a more lucrative opportunity to engage with consumers than in the past. However, as it grows, the playing field becomes increasingly crowded and the ability for commerce platforms to cut through the noise is a growing challenge.
S: In broader terms, what do you think your latest data revealed about mobile customers and restaurants?
ET: There is clearly a shift in the way that consumers think about mobile technology and the role it plays when they are dining out and ordering in.
S: What makes dining and ordering food so conducive to mobile technology?
ET: Internet-enabled mobile technology adds a new layer of convenience to ordering food. In this way, it enhances the consumer experience by saving them time. Also, the range of apps that are available to consumers via their mobile device increases their options and gives them more power to find exactly what they are looking for.
S: What can restaurants do to best respond to the data in your study?
ET: Restaurants can apply these insights by looking for areas in which mobile technology can increase patron engagement, drive traffic and provide exposure to new customers.
S: What are the biggest challenges for mobile restaurant ordering?
ET: Mobile is a fast-moving, fast-changing space. The biggest challenge of restaurants is understanding how prioritize their investments of time and money in mobile platforms.
S: Do you think someday mobile devices like smartphones will replace cards and cash as the preferred method of spending? If so can you estimate when?
ET: Innovation around mobile payment platforms is already strong. However, we can expect the introduction of emerging mobile payment technologies to begin boosting adoption over the next decade. However, the timeline for adoption is a big unknown. While younger consumers and early adopters will likely pick up on new payment platforms faster over the next few years, we should expect the majority of consumers to continue to be very cautious new mobile payment platforms in their “early days.”