March 27, 2024

Serving Up Technology: New Data Shows How Tech Integration is Transforming the Restaurant Experience

National Restaurant Association Technology Landscape report showcases industry innovation and where consumer desires are pushing trends
Washington, D.C. – Technology use in restaurants is accelerating, creating new touchpoints between restaurants and the consumers they serve, according to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Technology Landscape Report 2024. The report, released today, identifies the varying expectations consumers have regarding technology, depending on whether they are dining at a fullservice restaurant or ordering delivery to their homes, as well as generational differences in preferences.

"Restaurant operators have tremendous entrepreneurial spirit, and they are constantly innovating – sometimes through new dishes or flavors, and sometimes through new business practices,” said Michelle Korsmo, President & CEO of the National Restaurant Association. "More than 3 in 4 operators say technology gives them a competitive edge, and this research will also help operators find the right technology fit for their restaurant and their customers. In addition to valuable research on restaurant operator outlook, our research on the technology landscape in restaurants provides insights on consumer expectations that operators need to confidently evaluate their tech investments."

Key highlights include:
  • Expect to see more technology in the coming year – 55 percent of operators are planning investments to improve their service areas, while 60 percent are looking for technology that will enhance the customer experience.
  • 16 percent of operators plan to invest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) integration (including voice recognition) in 2024.
  • 82 percent of Gen Z adults are comfortable placing an order at a limited-service restaurant with a smart phone app.
  • 65 percent of all adult consumers would be comfortable paying their check at a fullservice restaurant with a computer tablet at the table.
Restaurant operators are getting creative in how they expand technology offerings, paying close attention to consumer preferences, but generational differences persist. When asked how likely they’d be to interact with a tablet at the table, a solid majority of Gen Z adults, millennials and Gen Xers say they’d use these options but fewer than half of baby boomers said they would.

Compared with fullservice and limited-service options, the use of technology in the delivery segment is already baked into consumers’ expectation. They expect to be able to access, order, customize and pay for delivery orders through their computers or smartphones and if they can’t, they’ll order from somewhere else.

"The data clearly show that restaurant operators and owners are rapidly embracing technology and integrating it into their daily operations," said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President of Research and Knowledge for the National Restaurant Association. "Understanding which technologies customers in each segment would like to have, really want, and consider essential, provides operators with substantial opportunities to enhance the customer experience, amplify marketing and operate more efficiently."

Click here to download the Restaurant Technology Landscape Report 2024, supported by Dell Technologies and SpotOn.

About the Study

The Restaurant Technology Landscape Report 2024 is based on surveys of restaurant operators and consumers.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.