Digital Experience in the Restaurant Industry

red horizontal rule

Customers these days crave a digital experience from all tiers of the restaurant industry, whether they’re indulging or grabbing a quick bite

We help companies grow

Bottle Rocket is part consultancy, part agency, part dev shop…all in one. We design, build & grow digital experiences that accelerate businesses.

The power of experience is real

red horizontal rule
It’s a proven fact that companies that focus on experience as a core tenet of their corporate strategy are more successful. In today’s customer-centric world, it’s imperative that organizations pay special attention to every customer or potential customer touchpoint in their journey and lean into the power of experience in both digital and physical interactions with their customers. Experience-driven organizations retain better, acquire more, engage deeper, and grow faster than their competitors. Are you fully leveraging the power of experience for your business?

Retain Better

Acquire More

Engage Deeper

Grow Faster

Digital Customer Experience in the Restaurant Industry

Digital customer experience in the restaurant industry refers to the process by which restaurants leverage digital technologies to improve and optimize the customer journey. It encompasses the sum of interactions and engagements that a customer has with a restaurant via digital touchpoints such as websites, mobile apps, and social media platforms. 

In the past, the customer experience in the restaurant industry was defined simply by the quality of food and service. However, with technology permeating all aspects of our lives today, the customer experience has evolved beyond the traditional elements. It now includes things like online menu viewing, reservation systems, and digital loyalty programs.

With the modern customer demanding more from their dining experience, restaurants are tasked with enhancing customer experience through digital technology. They are doing so in new and innovative ways, taking advantage of the numerous tools available on the market. However, transforming the customer experience via technology starts before customers even visit the physical location. 

For example, through a well-designed website, customers can conveniently browse the menu and make reservations. Digital platforms also enable customers to place orders for takeout or delivery, saving them the hassle of long waits or travel. Mobile applications in particular have been instrumental in revolutionizing the customer experience. Apps provide an easily accessible platform for customers to interact with the restaurant. 

With a good mobile app at their fingertips, customers can check real-time updates on table availability, order food for delivery or pickup, pay for their meals, and even earn loyalty points or redeem rewards. Additionally, restaurants can use apps to send personalized offers and updates, thereby fostering stronger relationships with their customers. This is crucial to remaining competitive in the modern business world. 

Restaurants are also incorporating digital technologies such as digital kiosks and tablet-based menus that allow for faster, more efficient ordering and payment processing. Customers can use these digital tools to request service, leave feedback, or even split the bill. These functionalities not only streamline operations for the restaurant, but significantly improve the customer experience by reducing waiting times and improving service accuracy.

Equally important is the post-visit digital experience. Following their visit, customers can leave reviews and ratings online, providing valuable feedback for the restaurant. Digital technology allows restaurants to monitor these reviews and respond to customer concerns. Restaurants can also reach out to customers through email newsletters or app notifications to share special offers or thank them for their visit.

Digital Customer Service

Digital customer service has a major impact on the overall customer experience in the food service industry. By developing digital customer experience management strategies, restaurants can provide more personalized service and foster deeper relationships with patrons. Here are some of the ways that restaurants are engaging with customers to improve digital service: 

  • Understanding the Customers: So who are the customers of a restaurant? In a restaurant setting, customers are those that interact with the business with the intent to purchase food or beverage products. They include dine-in customers, those who order take-out, and individuals who place delivery orders. With the advent of digital customer service, restaurants can now collect data about these customers, which can be used to tailor the customer experience. 
  • Using Mobile Apps: Mobile apps have the potential to fundamentally transform the restaurant customer experience. Mobile apps for restaurant customer experience allow customers to explore menus, place orders, and more, all from the convenience of their smartphones. This ease of use significantly enhances the customer experience and, by extension, boosts satisfaction. 
  • Providing Real-Time Customer Service: Digital customer service enables real-time interaction between customers and the restaurant. Through live chats, social media, and mobile apps, customers can ask questions or provide feedback. This level of service demonstrates a restaurant’s commitment to customer satisfaction.
  • Prioritizing Digital Customer Experience Management: Digital customer experience management involves managing any and all customer interactions with the establishment across all relevant channels. By making experience management a priority, restaurants can deliver a more seamless experience to customers, regardless of how they choose to interact with the business.
  • Ensuring Post-Visit Engagement: The role of digital customer service does not end with the completion of a meal—restaurants can and should use digital channels to follow up with customers. They should thank them for their visit and address any complaints. 

Digital Customer Experience Examples

Digital innovation is a powerful driving force in improving the customer experience. This is especially true in the restaurant industry, where top-notch service is critical to business success. From digital ordering and delivery to seamless digital payment experiences in restaurants, establishments worldwide are redefining dining through digital transformation. Here are some of the best digital customer experience examples from restaurants:

  • Starbucks Mobile App: Starbucks’ app incorporates features such as mobile ordering and a rewards program that offers freebies and discounts based on customers’ purchase history. This example of digital ordering and delivery in restaurants shows how businesses can encourage repeat visits and loyalty. The app also serves as one of the best restaurant customer feedback examples, as it collects feedback directly from customers. 
  • Domino’s Pizza Tracker: Domino’s Pizza has revolutionized digital ordering and delivery in restaurants with its Pizza Tracker. This tool provides real-time updates about each step of the order process, from preparation to delivery. Customers can track their order on their device so they know exactly when to expect their delivery. This level of transparency improves the overall customer experience by setting accurate expectations and reducing uncertainty.
  • McDonald’s Digital Kiosks and Mobile App: McDonald’s improved its digital customer experience by introducing self-service kiosks and a mobile app. Customers can customize their orders, choose their preferred method of service (counter, table service, or drive-thru), and make payments digitally. These innovations streamline the ordering process and cater to the growing demand for contactless transactions.
  • ApplePay in Restaurants: Another one of the best digital customer experience examples is Apple Pay. Numerous restaurants now accept Apple Pay, allowing customers to easily pay their bills with a tap on their phones. This has simplified the payment process and increased transaction speed. 

How to Improve Digital Customer Experience

Enhancing digital customer experience requires a holistic approach. The following strategies and best practices can serve as a guide on how to improve customer experience in restaurant spaces: 

  • Offer Personalized Experiences: Personalization is one of the most well-known and widely-used strategies in business today. Using customer data on past orders, favorite dishes, and dining frequency, establishments can create personalized digital experiences in restaurants. 
  • Optimize Websites For Ease of Use and Accessibility: Restaurants’ websites should be user-friendly and mobile-optimized. They should also provide essential information such as location, contact details, and operating hours. A well-optimized website improves visibility in search engine rankings, which helps drive traffic and attract new customers.
  • Implement Digital Feedback Mechanisms: When determining how to improve digital customer experience, digital feedback tools should be top of mind. Regularly monitoring and responding to feedback via surveys and other online channels is key to improving customer satisfaction and business operations across the board.
  • Stay Up to Date With the Latest Trends: It should go without saying that staying abreast of digital customer experience trends in restaurants is critically important. Two of the most relevant trends today are the use of AI-powered chatbots for customer service and virtual reality for menu-viewing. Many restaurants are also creating loyalty programs to get customers involved in the dining experience.
  • Incorporate Seamless Digital Payment Options: Offering a variety of digital payment options can significantly improve the customer experience. Easy and secure payment options provide convenience and boost customer trust.

Importance of Customer Satisfaction in Restaurant Industry

The importance of customer satisfaction in the restaurant industry cannot be overstated. It’s a cornerstone of success and a driving force behind a restaurant’s reputation. Restaurant industry digital customer experience has a direct impact on customer loyalty. By creating more satisfied customers, businesses also create more repeat customers. This is crucial to staying competitive in the food service industry today. 

Keep in mind that satisfied customers are more likely to recommend a restaurant to their friends and family, acting as brand ambassadors. Word-of-mouth marketing, bolstered by positive experiences, is one of the most powerful and authentic forms of advertising and should not be overlooked when crafting a digital experience strategy. 

Because customers readily share their dining experiences on social media platforms, it has become more important than ever for businesses to make a positive lasting impression on each person they serve. Positive reviews and ratings can bolster a restaurant’s online reputation, while negative comments can deter potential customers. For this reason, social media engagement for restaurant customer experience is critically important. 

Ultimately, by leveraging digital transformation to address customer needs and wants in restaurant establishments, businesses can set themselves apart from their competitors; they can demonstrate their willingness and commitment to evolving with the times. This can help to retain customers and earn new patrons. 

Bottle Rocket offers a wealth of expertise to help restaurants achieve a high level of digital transformation. This positions them to deliver on and exceed the expectations of their customers. With services ranging from digital strategy to digital experience, Bottle Rocket empowers restaurants to step into the digital age with confidence.

Unlock Growth
red horizontal rule

Experience experts weigh in on their top strategies for our most successful clients.