Is Technology Changing Dining Out Forever?

A couple of weeks ago, Japanese stalwart Inamo opened their newest outlet in Covent Garden. Inamo is best known for projecting the menu onto the tables so customers can send their orders straight to the kitchens by just tapping the items they want, reducing the jobs of the waiting staff significantly, while allowing customers a view into the kitchen through the camera function, as well as games for children and various other features.

The new venue has all this and more, including a better kitchen camera and ipads used alongside the table projections.  There is of course a stellar food offering, a must in the current climate, but what effect does the rapid advance of technology have on hospitality businesses?

Image courtesy of InamoImage courtesy of Inamo

Booking technology is nothing new, but recently we’ve seen a new wave of bill-paying apps on the market, reducing the time between requesting the bill and leaving the restaurant to mere seconds. The Velocity app was founded in March 2014 and last year secured £7.6m in what was, tellingly, one of the biggest tech first-funding rounds ever.

There are plenty of similar models popping up, Cake, Zapper and Flypay to name a few, and Pizza Express, Five Guys and Starbucks have their own versions. It’s very convenient for customers and allows restaurants to turn more tables, but further reduces any interaction with customers and the opportunity to build that rapport that is often at the very heart of good service.

‘The Velocity app secured one of the biggest tech
first-funding rounds ever’

The advent of services like Deliveroo and Supper means diners no longer need to go out (or even get dressed) to eat from a restaurant, and the success of these and other similar concepts shows that the market for the product is there, it’s tapping into what people want.

So with booking, ordering, paying and even going to the restaurant at all, now automated by technological advances, dining out is undoubtedly ever more convenient for the customer, and widens revenue streams for restaurants, something unlikely to be a passing fad. But it will be interesting to note whether we will in fact see a return to full face to face service, or whether dining out is changing beyond recognition.

To experience new technology in restaurants, get a glimpse behind the scenes and an insight into ever more innovative operations, join an EP Taste food tour in Soho, Covent Garden, Shoreditch or Fitzrovia. Click below for more information and to book.

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