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How Driverless Technology Will Affect the Restaurant Industry

Self-driving vehicles and driverless technology is revolutionizing the way people think about the future of travel. It’s also changing the way restaurants think about their future business.

For restaurants that feature delivery options, driverless technology would be a boon to sales while simultaneously making the process safer for workers. The technology could help restaurant owners test previously inaccessible parts of their business. And, it could yield many important insights for restaurant owners looking for new ways to grow their business. 

Some companies have already begun testing how driverless technology could benefit its business. These tests have provided many key insights into how driverless technology, if adapted well, could take the restaurant industry to new heights.

Customer Experience

When Dominos partnered with Ford to begin piloting driverless delivery options, they said their main goal was to “test the last 50 feet from the car to the customer’s door,”

Dominos’ chief information officer, Kevin Vasconi, said, “While we work to refine that interaction, we also need to understand how operating this type of delivery in a more densely populated city will impact the customer experience and the specific challenges it might present.”

The interaction Vasconi is referring to is how a customer reacts to a delivery driver’s body language. Did they run to the door? Do they have a smile on their face? How did they speak to the customer? These are all questions Vasconi and his team are researching.

Why? Because the answers to these questions could change the way restaurateurs think about customer experience. Typically, customer experience is thought of as the way customers interact with the restaurant itself and how its atmosphere can affect their perception. Now, this research is adding employee body language to the definition of a restaurant’s atmosphere.

Return Business

Imagine sitting in a long line of traffic listening to your stomach gurgle with hunger. For most of you, this doesn’t take much effort to imagine. Many of us experience this multiple times a week on our way home from the office.

Driverless technology allows restaurateurs the ability to capitalize on this scenario because of the technology’s reliance on the internet.

As Gary Goralnick, CEO of shopinstride, a digital e-commerce company, wrote in an article for Modern Restaurant Management, “Time saved during the day by the convenience of making purchases in the car will be one of the reasons consumers will be adopting self-driving technology.”

Goralnick mentions ways restaurants can reach customers in their cars such as sending notifications to their screens, alerting them of deals or reminding them to purchase their usual order. A few taps on the screen could send an order to a kitchen and have the food ready as soon as the customer pulls in the parking lot.

This could be a huge boon to restaurants looking to increase their return customer base. Especially if they are already utilizing push notifications.

Restaurant owners should be aware that driverless technology is gaining traction in the consumer market and position themselves well in order to adopt the technology once it goes mainstream.


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