Technology is used to enhanced almost every area of our lives these days, and when it comes to dining out, guests increasingly expect restaurants to offer the same tech wonders they’re used to at home.

From the now familiar tableside contactless payment facilities, to new and innovative ordering apps and virtual reality entertainment, here’s six pieces of future tech independent restaurants like yours will be able to offer – soon!

1. Augmented reality food apps

When a new dish whizzes to its destination, you can often see other diners crane their necks to get a good look.

Amidst a chorus of “ooh that looks good” your diners may also be inspired to try that new dish themselves.  Augmented reality (AR) food apps provide this same inspiration without diners even having to see the real dish itself.

AR allows diners to experience an interactive, 360-degree view of each dish as well as see the correct portion size and visualise its ingredients.

This is perfect for diners who “eat with their eyes” as they can see the food before they commit to ordering it.

2.  Virtual reality (VR) for your restaurant

By using innovative VR software, your diners will feel what it’s like to eat under the sea, or be transported to some other wild, wonderful, imaginary landscape.

You could also use VR technology to create fun pre-dinner entertainment. ‘Projection mapping’ will immerse diners in a fantasy world during their meal and allow them to enjoy quirky displays like a mini chef ‘preparing’ the dish on the table in front of them.

Offering an experience unlike any other, this type of technology gives diners a unique and fun experience while they eat, or while they wait for their food to be prepared.

3.  Order and pay apps

Some big chains already use this kind of technology, and many independents are certain to follow.

Using a smartphone app, diners can order and pay for their food as soon as they find a table.  The order is then sent automatically to the kitchen, and the food brought to them – fast.

This kind of easy ordering system is perfect for restaurants that experience a high turnover of covers, and for diners who are more concerned with being fed quickly than waiting for hand cooked plates to arrive.

Fast, effective and convenient, order and pay apps offer a very efficient way for diners to order what they want, when they want it.

4. Split the bill apps

Nothing ruins a good night our more than having to wait ages for everyone to work out what they owe.

‘Split the bill’ apps making it quick and easy for diners to work out their own obligations in respect of the final bill.

There are many of these types of app already available, but the beauty lies in the opportunity to add value for your diners.  Offering your own, branded app with this functionality gives you the chance to include other benefits like real time bill updates, and personalised offers and promotions.

5.  Cloud-based payment systems

While contactless payments are easy enough to use, the need to carry payment cards could soon be a thing of the past.

Bars and restaurants are at the forefront of cloud-based technology that allows customers to pay using their smartphones or smartwatches.

The best news? Most existing Chip and Pin hardware can already deal with contactless, cloud-based payment systems (just check with your provider to be sure!).

6.  Technology based loyalty schemes

While diners enjoy the satisfaction of getting their loyalty cards stamped, being able to view the points balance on a smartphone is a quick and efficient way to reward loyalty.

Savvy restaurateurs can also incorporate other elements into their loyalty programs that draw customers in, including highly targeted offers, mobile wallets for easy payment and even camera integration for coupon scanning.

The internet of things is all around us, and now more than ever, the independent restaurant sector needs to learn to incorporate the use of technology to enhance diner experience – before it gets left behind.

What forthcoming tech revolution are you most looking forward to for your restaurant? Tell us in the comments section, below!