Hungry? Smart phones are changing the way we eat out. Now its age of Digital Dining.
Feeling peckish? Gone are the days where those rumbles in your tummy will be solved with a take-out menu or a magazine’s restaurant review.
Smart phones and their capacity to quickly deliver location-based information have revolutionized the way we think about eating out, as well as the process of chowing down itself. The result is a highly personalized, socially networked, and joyfully adventurous approach to discovering locals eats in your neighborhood.
“Mobile search and the wealth of instant information based on user location has increased spontaneity,” confirms Sage Radar, of Kismet Mobile. He goes on to explain that current technology eliminates the need to go online in advance, like we would have even two or three years ago. Location Based Services (LBS) have the ability to pinpoint food on offer in your local area (think Yelp), make a reservation (think OpenTable) then use your phone’s GPS to be sitting in your brand new favorite place, eating in a matter of minutes. All hail the new fast food culture!
Okay, so you’ve found a great organic place right nearby, but you wouldn’t mind checking out exactly what that veggie burger looks like before you commit to ordering it. Sites like Foodspotting and apps like Instagram deliver. These popular new apps allow you to upload photos of what’s making your tastebuds happy, as well letting you be inspired by your fellow foodie’s fave eats. “The Foodspotting trend has increased the digital ‘social’ nature of going to restaurants then sharing your experience there with a network of ‘friends’ and future diners who are part of the whole social game layer,” Sage says. “I don’t know how “social” snapping and uploading photos at the dinner table really is, but that’s the latest trend!”
Other ways smart phones are changing the way we fill our bellies is the daily deal phenomenon. From Groupon to Living Social, the allure of a sizeable daily discount is enough to lure patrons away from their regular haunts for newer, and cheaper, hunting grounds. “Users are taking the Scoutmob incentive as a reason to be more adventurous with their dining decisions,” explains Liza Dunning, founding editor for daily deal site Scoutmob, confirming their app is increasing spontaneity and diversifying individual’s eating patterns. And with consumers and businesses both benefiting, that’s nothing but good news. “It’s as little as getting people to take a second look at a restaurant they might have passed by before, and it’s as big as saving marriages,” she says. “True story: we recently got an email from a woman thanking us for ‘making her marriage fun again’!”
Alright then – who’s hungry?
Keith Thorn, Managing Partner