The use of mobile technology is changing shoppers’ way of life from researching products, receiving promotions and making purchases. Businesses are reacting to this shift in consumer behavior by formulating mobile media strategies, and the restaurant industry is no different. From consumer apps to pre-order, touch screens for food selections and orders taken on a tablet by an employee, it seems as though fast food, quick service and full service restaurants are attempting to carve out a piece of the mobile pie. The good news for dining establishments is that generally speaking, Mobile Users have positive reviews.

For nearly half of Mobile Users, the jury is still out on whether or not the use of mobile technology at restaurants actually makes the experience better, according to a recent survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights. However, for those who’ve chosen a side, it seems as though tablet order-takers and order-ahead apps are more likely to improve the dining out experience:

“Consumers are more likely to think mobile will improve their eating experiences when they are in a rush—for instance, in a drive-thru—versus those occasions when they want to unwind—say feasting at a full service restaurant,” said Pam Goodfellow, Consumer Insights Director at BIGinsight.

Just under half (43.2%) have experienced some form of mobile ordering at a restaurant. 24.2% have used their smartphone or tablet to place an order ahead of time. 21.1% had an employee in a drive-thru use mobile to take their order and 17.5% have experienced this at a quick service restaurant or sit-down establishment. This trend is only likely to grow: mobile usage continues to climb, and early adopters seem to approve of the use of smartphones and tablets to better their dining out experiences.

Other Key Findings on Mobile Users:

  • Over half (52.3%) say they’ve used their smartphone or tablet as a coupon (by scanning a bar code or showing a text or email to a cashier, etc.).
  • 3 in 5 (60.1%) say location-based coupons are convenient and useful; however, 45.3% are concerned about security issues and their location being tracked.
  • The majority (56.8%) would prefer to receive coupons on a smartphone or tablet via email. 1 in 4 (24.5%) prefer to receive promotions automatically when they are near a store.
[Source:  “Mobile Survey.”  Prosper Mobile Insights.  3 Oct. 2012.  Web.  4 Oct. 2012.]