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Cornell Study Finds Restaurant Goers Like Innovations in Early Dining Stages

Contact:  Glenn Withiam, 607.255.3025, grw4@cornell.edu

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Cornell Study Finds Restaurant Goers Like Innovations in Early Dining Stages

Technology Study Finds Strong Use of Pagers and Online Reservations

Ithaca, NY, April 22, 2009 - A comparison of eleven technologies commonly used in restaurants found that restaurant customers find virtual menus with nutritional information to be the most valuable of new technologies, followed closely by online reservations, kiosks for ordering, and pagers for table management. The study, "Customer Preferences for Restaurant Technology Innovations," by Michael J. Dixon, Sheryl E. Kimes, and Rohit Verma, is available at no charge from Cornell's Center for Hospitality Research at http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/research/chr/pubs/
reports/2009.html. Dixon is a Ph.D. candidate at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, where Kimes and Verma are faculty members.
 
"Restaurateurs need to make sure their customers will accept new technology when it is introduced, but we found a sort of catch-22," said Verma. "We found that people who use a particular technology find that technology more valuable than those who never tried it. However, to see that benefit the customer first has to try the technology, and many people aren't quick to try new technologies."
 
Kimes pointed out: "The eleven technologies studied are closely linked with five dining stages. Our results show that the customers are more comfortable with early dining stage technologies such as virtual menus and pagers." The study was based on survey responses from 1,737 U.S. residents drawn from a broad-based national database.
Dixon added: "Based on our study, we recommend that restaurants encourage customers to try new technologies. But restaurants should avoid forcing technology use, and implement new technologies with considerable support and demonstrations. I should note that our respondents were more likely to use pagers and online reservations than the other technologies we tested. On the other hand, they were not supportive of payment technologies involving cell phones or smart cards."

Frequent technology users visited restaurants more often than infrequent technology users did, the study found. Moreover, although young respondents were more likely to use various forms of technology than older respondents were, levels of technology use did not vary by gender.
 
Meet and interact with Dr. Verma and Dr. Kimes, active members of the executive education faculty at the School of Hotel Administration, when they present sessions in the Professional Development Program: http://www.hotelschool.cornell.edu/industry/executive/pdp/.
 
Thanks to the support of the Center for Hospitality Research partners listed below, all publications posted on the center's website are available free of charge, at www.chr.cornell.edu.

About The Center for Hospitality Research
A unit of the Cornell School of Hotel Administration, The Center for Hospitality Research (CHR) sponsors research designed to improve practices in the hospitality industry. Under the lead of the center's 77 corporate affiliates, experienced scholars work closely with business executives to discover new insights into strategic, managerial and operating practices. The center also publishes the award-winning hospitality journal, the Cornell Hospitality Quarterly. To learn more about the center and its projects, visit www.chr.cornell.edu.
 
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