Is tech set to stay?

Is tech set to stay?

Person using app 3

In our latest survey, we asked you, our panel of mystery guests for your thoughts on the use of tech in the hospitality industry. Due to the pandemic, now more than ever, nobody blinks at using a QR code to check in, or using an Order & Pay app at the pub anymore.

The question is, do guests want to revert back to the way things were with good old human interaction and low-tech solutions, or are there some things that are here to stay?


Over half of guests (54%) prefer to order from paper menus and have a server take their order and payment, almost a quarter (22%) want to only use apps going forward.

Browsing and ordering

Another quarter (24%) think that a marriage of the two approaches (technology meets personal touch) is the winning combination.

We asked you for the key factor, and the most popular answer was the desire for a 'personal / human touch', which was selected by 40%. The second most favoured reason was convenience, chosen by a third (30%). 13% of all guests said they don't like relying on technology, and less than 1 in 10 (9%) stated that the most important factor for them was 'speed of service'. Perhaps the most surprising result was that only 8% of you indicated the environment as the key driver for their decision.

Paper menus and a server taking the order and payment

Of the 54% who prefer traditional methods of ordering and paying, 62% said that the 'personal / human touch' was the key contributing factor for their decision. 18% of you explained that you don’t like relying on technology, and another 13% stated they thought this was the most convenient solution. In terms of age, we found that the likelihood to prefer traditional ordering methods increases linearly with age, as only 35% of Gen-Z (18-25) prefer non-technological solutions, but this percentage reaches 74% amongst the 66+ age groups. From a gender perspective, 60% of women tend to favour traditional ordering and paying methods, whereas with men that figure is only 38%.

App to browse, order & pay

Of the 22% who have completely adopted a technology-first approach and prefer an app for menu browsing, ordering and payment, 3 out of 5 (60%) said ‘convenience’ was the primary factor for their decision, and another 21% prefer apps because they improve ‘speed of service’.

New habits

Interestingly, 14% of guests who prefer apps said their reasoning was due to environmental concerns, a higher percentage than the entire average (9%), meaning that some of you purposefully choose apps over paper menus for their environmental impact.

As one would expect, younger people are more likely to favour apps, with nearly a third (30%) of you aged 18-35 stating it as your preference. That figure then drops in a downwards trend to a mere 12% for people over 56. In terms of gender, 32% of men chose apps over paper menus and servers, whereas that percentage is only 18% with women.

Combination of hospitality technology and personal touch

24% of our mystery guests want the best out of both worlds and favour a marriage of the two approaches, but have opposing views on how that combination should be set up. A slightly more popular option is to have paper menus with an Order & Pay app (13%) however, 11% believe an app / QR code for online menu browsing with a person taking the order and payment is the best solution. The biggest driver for both groups is convenience, followed by the desire for personal / human touch.

More than a third of (35%) of Gen-Z (18-25) prefer a combination solution, however, contrary to expectations, that percentage drops to 23% in the Millennial (26-35) and 36-45 age groups but then increases to 25% and 27% for ages 46-55 and 56-65, respectively. Unsurprisingly, only 13% over 66 prefer a marriage of hospitality tech and human interaction.

QR Codes

Has scanning become second nature or will you brush this off once we’re back to normal?

Qr codes

The answer for the vast majority (78%) is a ‘no, thank you’, when it comes to scanning QR codes for menu browsing, whilst 22% actually prefer using QR codes to access menus on their phones over regular paper menus.

The choices follow previously established patterns, namely that younger people are more likely to favour tech solutions, as do 2 out of 5 (40%) in the Gen-Z age group, and following a linear downward trend, dropping to only 4% within the 66+ age group.

The contrast between men and women is less stark in this category, with only 27% of men and 21% of women choose QR codes over traditional physical menus.

Loyalty programmes


Loyalty programmes

Would a loyalty programme encourage you to visit a venue more than you regularly would? Surprise, surprise, results showed a resounding ‘yes’ for 4 out of 5 (80%) guests.

From an age perspective, all age groups from 18 to 55 are very positively attuned, the uptake within those age ranges being highest at 92% for consumers aged 45-56, and lowest, at 85% for the 36-45 age group. However, interest decreases dramatically for those aged over 56, as only 67% respondents in the 56-65 would be keen in a loyalty programme, and the figure is even lower (44%) for those aged over 66. There’s little contrast between men and women, both are equally enthusiastic about good loyalty programmes.

Key factors for a revisit

Whilst exploring the subject of loyalty programmes to encourage guests to revisit a venue, we also wanted to know what the deciding factors were for a revisit in the first place. Here they are in descending order:

  1. Food & drink quality
  2. Service
  3. Value for money
  4. Cost
  5. Atmosphere
  6. Location
  7. Trend factor (e.g. is it ‘Instagrammable’)

Unsurprisingly perhaps, younger guests favoured trendiness, location and value for money, whereas food quality becomes more important as customers move up in age groups. Looking at differences in gender profiles, women tend to look more closely at cost, but also have a keener interest in the ‘trend factor’, whilst men are more after value for money.

Where do you sit within these stats? Overall, it looks like tech is here to stay but even after the changes we’ve experienced this year, it will never replace the human touch. It’s a balance for sure but we like to think that the human touch is and will always be a huge part of the guest experience. With the help of our mystery guests, we look forward to supporting the industry in getting that balance right as we continue to ease out of restrictions.

Safety tracker

Just a quick nod to Covid. It’s great to know that confidence amongst guests is rising slowly but steadily. Our most recent survey results reveal that the average figure is now 7.88 out of 10. That number was 7.55 in March, 7.51 over Christmas last year, and 7.07 in October 2020.

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