With new NFC-enabled application, restaurant visitors dine in, but order out.


It’s no surprise that U.S. restaurants are struggling to make the sale to cost-conscious customers. While diners are still visiting their favorite restaurants frequently, they’re spending less: an average of $11.60 per visit in 2010, finds AlixPartners. That’s down 21% from the $14.70 per meal consumers said they spent in pre-recession 2008 in a similar poll, and down about 4% from the $12.10 in average meal price consumers say they spent in 2009. Could NFC technology help restaurateurs ring up a winning strategy for handling the current economic reality of frequent diner visits and low spending, which stresses operations and depresses margins?


CustomerIn™ Systems and SMARTRAC have teamed on an innovative new solution, the Connected Restaurant, which provides diners with valuable information and self-service capabilities. The tool leverages NFC-enabled phones; a mobile customer service application; BullsEye™ NFC tags; tagged posters, menus and table tents; Wi-Fi; a web-accessible manager’s dashboard; and a cloud server to enable customers to:


  • Check in, request specific tables and order appetizers and drinks
  • Browse menus, specials and coupons
  • Receive a text message when their tables are ready
  • Obtain detailed information about entrees, such as ingredients, calorie counts and sodium levels
  • Summon waiters, monitor running orders, request checks and review and pay for bills
  • Provide restaurant reviews and read other diners’ feedback


In addition, the system generates analytical information restaurant managers can use to make critical decisions.


CustomerIn™ Systems is currently seeking a restaurant to pilot the Connected Restaurant application. The company also plans to integrate the tool with reservation and billing systems, providing restaurant owners with a turn-key self-service solution that enables staff to serve more customers.

With the NFC-Connected Restaurant application, restaurateurs can cross-sell menu items, enhance the dining experience and accelerate table turnover. To hungry restaurant managers, that smells and tastes like higher profitability. Thus, NFC technology is proving that restaurant operators can not only have their cake, but also eat it, too.