Can technology distract from a business’s main goal?

Answer: In one restaurant it did

by News Staff / July 18, 2014

A famous New York City restaurant hired a firm to discover why its reputation for service had declined in recent years, and that firm concluded that technology played a large role in the decline in customer satisfaction.

The restaurant compared surveillance footage from 2004 and 2014. In 2004, the process was simpler – people sat down, ordered, paid and left. But in 2014, the servers had new responsibilities. The footage from one day in 2014 revealed that rather than order right away, they were spending time on their smartphones and trying to connect to the restaurant’s Wi-Fi.

“Seven out of the 45 customers had waiters come over right away, they showed them something on their phone and spent an average of five minutes of the waiter’s time,” the restaurant reported. “Given this is recent footage, we asked the waiters about this and they explained those customers had a problem connecting to the Wi-Fi and demanded the waiters try to help them.”

After that, customers often spent time taking photos of their food, and “Nine out of 45 customers sent their food back to reheat” after photographing. The restaurant also reported “27 out of 45 customers asked their waiter to take a group photo,” and “14 of those requested the waiter retake the photo as they were not pleased with the first photo. On average this entire process between the chit chatting and reviewing the photo taken added another five minutes and obviously caused the waiter not to be able to take care of other tables he/she was serving.”

Overall, the extra technology distractions added 55 minutes to the average time customers spent in the restaurant, LifeBuzz reported.