Anastasia Smolen

Responsable RestoConnection mais aussi responsable webmarketing, j'aide les PME dans leur stratégie de développement et de communication.

The use of interactive tables in the restaurant industry is not an entirely new concept. It has been trialed in various forms over the last few years in both the UK and abroad. Due to the lack of investment and available technology, interactive restaurants were seen as more of a fad than a viable business opportunity and have been very slow to gain acceptance in the UK market. This has started to change over the last few years as more development has been made within interactive technology. If you’re considering upgrading your restaurant and creating a more interactive environment, take note of the following benefits.

Benefits to the Restaurant

Staffing cost is one of the major operating expenses faced by a restaurant today and varies between 20 – 30% depending on the level of service offered. Over the last three years, restaurants have been facing an unprecedented increase in this cost due to external factors like Brexit, mandatory pensions, increases in minimum wage, National Insurance and the availability of skilled waiters.
Depending on the level of service offered by a restaurant, it is almost impossible to reduce waitering cost without sacrificing service. In order to maintain a high level consistent service, a three-course restaurant requires at least one waiter for every four tables served, with up to 25 minutes of waiter face time required per table.



Interactive tables provide a way to reduce waiter table face-time and could therefore be a viable option in helping to reduce overall waitering costs. This will depend on a number of things such as the type of restaurant you own, the typical type of customer you appeal to and the nature of the service you wish to offer. Interactive tables are not only a useful tool to have on the restaurant floor, but there are other benefits to be had. A comprehensive Interactive table such as those developed by Hinteractive Technology can offer added benefits in the following areas:

● Capture customer data to assist with targeted marketing
● Create targeted customer loyalty programs
● Capture customer feedback
● Incorporate your social media strategy into guest experience. Encouraging more user-generated content to be shared and created, or running competitions and giveaways that start right from the table.
● Third party sponsorship Programs
Dynamic menus and pricing – quickly adapt for special promotions and events.
● Adapt table behaviour to time of day and even day of week.
● On table payment systems
● Third party revenue generation (e.g via gaming applications)


Benefits for the Customer

Many customers love interactive tables for a number of different reasons. By sitting down for a meal at an interactive table, the customer has almost complete control over his or her dining experience. Orders can be placed at leisure, with chef’s specials, wine and drink recommendations at hand. Accompanying food suggestions are available at the touch of a button. Customers can see their food being prepared, browse ingredients and customise their order exactly the way they like it.

Interactive tables are also great for younger guests. Children are kept busy with interactive games and applications; drawing pictures, building puzzles or playing their favourite game, all available on a multi-touch table surface. This is great for impatient children who need something stimulating when waiting for food.

Some smart tables take things a step further and allow customers to access cinema tickets, or browse catalogues from surrounding local stores. This opens up the doors for building mutually beneficial local partnerships with surrounding businesses.


Concern Over Interactive Tables

Although interactive dining tables have been around for quite some time, the UK has been relatively slow on the uptake. This could be due to several reasons such as cost of investment, dehumanisation of restaurant experience or fear of technological change.

Cost of Investment:

Although the cost of investment can seem daunting at first, taking that initial step could potentially save long-term costs and give your restaurant a competitive advantage. Operating costs are increasing at an alarming pace and working harder is no longer an option. By working smarter and utilising technology to cut overheads, the ROI can be exponential.

Table turn times can be reduced and profits could therefore almost double within the first year of incorporating interactive tables. With a typical lifespan of 10 years, smart tables can provide a significant return on investment. Finally, Interactive tables can be rented for as little as £12 a day, removing any risk of large investment and removing financial barriers to entry.

Fear of Technological Change and Dehuminization:

These two arguments normally go hand in hand. Old school business owners tend to put off technological changes due to fear of change. New technology can appear daunting and they would rather hang on to outdated business practices than embrace change simply because it’s comfortable. Exposure and education is therefore of vital importance and fear of change does not help your business grow or develop.

On the topic of dehumanisation, you can ensure customers never experience a neglect of service or human contact. Ensure visitors are greeted and seated by a human and let them know that a waiter is only a click of a button away should they require assistance. Many patrons actually prefer not to be faced by a waiter impatiently tapping his notepad while they are trying to decide what to eat. Having the opportunity to browse the menu at leisure, making their selection and placing their order when they are ready, could ultimately lead to a more leisurely dining experience and greater customer satisfaction.




Pictures provided by Hinteractive Technology