Insurance News
September 3, 2015
Have You Embraced Smart Dining?

There are smart phones, smart homes and smart cars.

Now, you can add “smart dining” to that list.

“Smart dining” software and technology continues to change the way restaurants do everything from taking reservations to placing orders to accepting payments.

Quite a few of the newest technologies are affordable (or even free). It’s worth trying at least one option—after all, research shows that 63 percent of adults have used restaurant-related technology options in the past month.

These are just a few of the “smart dining” technologies transforming the restaurant industry:

  • Online reservations: OpenTable is still the leader when it comes to snagging a reservation via the Web. However, a slew of new competitors have entered the online restaurant reservation space. That should only make this trend grow. 
  • Online ordering: Apps like GrubHub let potential diners discover your restaurant and then place an order. Now, the world’s largest social media site—a.k.a. Facebook®–is also facilitating online ordering. A number of low-cost apps let you integrate mobile ordering into your restaurant’s Facebook® page. (Some also work on your restaurant’s stand-alone website.)
  • iPad order kiosks: Fast-casual restaurants are experimenting with this new way of placing orders. Experts say iPad order kiosks help prevent diners from abandoning their orders and encourage diners to add extra items to their order. Meanwhile, sit-down restaurants are experimenting with tablets acting as e-waiters.
  • Online coupons:  Forget about expensive mailers: Restaurants are increasingly offering diners discounts via their websites, social media, email and text.
  • Mobile payment: When diners can square their bill away via a tableside tablet, it saves time and reduces their exposure to credit card fraud.

Industry insiders say the newest apps improve efficiency, increase customer satisfaction and reduce costs. Yet there’s concern that “smart dining” technologies will detract from the personalized service for which the restaurant industry is known. There’s also the issue that some technologies are only affordable for larger chains.

Just be aware that the risk of a data breach exists with certain “smart dining” options. Fortunately, Erie Insurance automatically includes $10,000 of Data Breach Response Expenses coverage (with higher limits available) in the ERIE Custom Collection℠ Restaurant Program. To learn more and to get a free quote, contact your ERIE Agent.

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