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UK restaurants are letting diners down: The dish of the day needs to be digital

While new technologies have transformed a number of sectors, including healthcare, sport and finance, it seems that at least one industry is lagging behind.

A new report commissioned by Berland and released by Velocity has revealed that UK restaurants are missing out on a collective £5.6 billion per year in revenue, due to their relative ignorance of modern tech.

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According to the results, UK diners typically have to wait 11 minutes to pay the bill in restaurants. This adds up to a staggering month of thumb-twiddling over the course of a lifetime, says Velocity.

76 per cent of diners also said that inefficient service is a huge downside of eating out, and can have a more negative effect on the overall experience than receiving the wrong food order (48 per cent).

What's more, 59 per cent of participants involved in the survey said that quick service is more important than variety of food (49 per cent) and ambience (23 per cent).

From a business perspective, 50 per cent of respondents said that they would eat out at least once more each week if they could pay for food through mobile restaurant apps, and 64 per cent said that they would use restaurant loyalty schemes if they came bundled into an app. Just 20 per cent currently make use of such promotions.

"New technology is increasingly empowering consumers to take control, enhancing our experiences with immediate gratification. We are already seeing this in the transport, hotel and home entertainment sectors... but these advances aren't happening in a meaningful way in the UK dining sector yet," said Alex Macdonald, Velocity's co-founder.

"These technological advances have the potential to transform the dining sector resulting in quicker bill payment, personalised service and increased customer loyalty and sales, a rare win-win for both consumers and restaurants."

ITProPortal recently caught up with Bradley Duke, the UK MD of Zapper, a company that allows consumers to quickly pay for restaurant bills using QR codes.

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"The key to restaurants actually saving money through technology is making operations run more efficiently," said Duke. "Empowering a customer to pay on their own terms with a smartphone means that not only are they getting a great experience but waiters are freed up to handle more covers in one evening and provide better service - rather than standing around with a card reader.

"The reason restaurants are slow to embrace modern technology is often the high barriers to entry. If you need to set up a whole new POS and there's little benefit then you're simply not going to. Besides just saving money, technology well-used can actually build revenues by driving footfall and promoting loyalty."

Having seen the app in action at a branch of the Burger and Lobster restaurant chain in London, it's a wonder such software isn't already in widespread use.

Image credit: BGR