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This paper examines the influence of customer-facing technology in full-service restaurants. As a new addition to the service experience, tabletop devices offer the customer more control over the dining experience, and also increase customer participation in the service process, which has the potential to upset the traditional exchange between service providers and customers in restaurants. To examine how customers react to the use of tabletop devices, this study examines 1,343 point-of-sales transactions from 20 units of a full-service casual dining restaurant chain and matches customer in-restaurant transactions to their reactions to tabletop devices used during their meals. Results show that over 70% of the customers who used tabletop devices reported positive affect toward the device, with approximately 79% of customers reporting that the device improved their experience, citing convenience, ease of use, and credit card security as some benefits of using the technology. Approximately 80% of the customers who used the device reported that they would return to the restaurant because of the positive affect. The results also indicate that likeability of the device and tip percentage were positively and significantly connected to customer reports of the devices having a positive effect on experience and on desire to return. In addition, when customers reported increased return intentions, likeability of the device was higher regardless of reports of the device improving restaurant experience, showing that the introduction of tabletop devices had a positive effect for most—but not all—customers.


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© INFORMS. Final version published as: Susskind, A. M., & Curry, B. (2016). An examination of customers’ attitudes about table top technology in full-service restaurants. Service Science, 8(2), 203-217.
doi: 10.1287/serv.2016.0132
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.