Research from tech firm Zonal found there are, on average, 1.3 phones per person in the UK; we change our phones more often than our toothbrushes and there are 3.1 connected devices for each pub customer.
With this in mind, operators should seek to offer their customers better experiences with technology. This could include using it to help reduce waiting times, to provide more information about food and drink offers or ways to make payments simpler.
In 2017, research from technology company Eagle Eye claimed Millennials are calling out for pubs to better tap into the digital world, in a bid to improve their dining experience.
The study of 2,000 customers found 16 to 24-year-olds frequently used their phone at the pub to send a message or make calls (40%), take photos of friends or their food (37%) or check social media (41%).
In comparison, just 16% redeemed promotional vouchers and even fewer (10%) paid the bill with their mobile phone. The results also showed frequent diners were more likely to use their phone while in the pub.
Those who dine more than once a week (regular diners) were significantly more likely to use social media (32% v 14%) than those who ate out less than once a month (rare diners).
Similarly, regular diners were more likely to send messages and make calls (36% v 17%) and almost three times more likely to take photos of their friends or food (32% v 13%).
Tim Mason, CEO of the digital promotions firm Eagle Eye, said the research showed consumers’ ever-changing demands and how pubs should adapt to tap into the digital market.
One pubco that has taken the opportunity technology offers with its food offer is Fuller’s, which has introduced a talking menu in a bid to improve the experience of visually impaired, blind or dyslexic customers who want to order food.
It has added its menu to the service Good Food Talks, which makes menus more accessible through text-to-speech software.
The technology is available as a free downloaded app and on a website that can be accessed on smartphones and tablets.
Diners are now able to access features, including large text format, background colour inversion and OpenDyslexic font.
Good Food Talks founder Matt Wadsworth says the service gives diners with visual impairments more independence when eating out.
He says: “If you are visually impaired or blind, you are reliant for people to read the menu to you.
“I’m blind, so a print menu is not of a lot of use to me. My wife and I developed Good Food Talks because she was always having to read restaurant menus to me, and we sought to improve that.
“You can browse through the menu and hear the allergy information, so whether you’re visually impaired, blind or dyslexic, you can now read the restaurant menu completely independently using Good Food Talks.”
Operators should embrace using technology to boost food sales with generations of customers using mobile devices more and more.