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Tech Transforms Dining Out Experience

Mar 29, 2016 04:34AM ● Published by Family Features

Satisfying a craving has become easier than ever with the growing menu of interactive tools available at restaurants. From ordering to entertaining to rewarding, these resources make it simple to enjoy visiting your favorite eateries.

With technology transforming nearly every other aspect of life, it should come as no surprise that mobile and electronic tools, such as Outback Steakhouse’s new mobile app, are fast-growing restaurant trends.

Other enhancements make it faster and more entertaining to dine away from home. To make the most of your next meal out, find out which of the following services your favorite restaurants is offering:

Mobile apps. You use your smartphone for everything else, so why not at your favorite restaurant? Mobile apps give customers more control over their dining experience, allowing them to choose how and when they want to pay the bill, receive exclusive offers, join the wait list and check in. Using the new Outback Steakhouse mobile app, you can peruse the menu ahead of time and when the meal is done, there’s no need to wait for the bill; you can pay right from your phone, split the check, add a tip and even securely store payment details for future visits. To learn more, visit outback.com/app.

Call ahead seating. While you used to have to physically go to a restaurant and wait in line, you can now call ahead to find out the estimated wait time and put your party on the list for now or a later time, before walking out your door. Some restaurants even allow you to view the current wait times and join the list on their websites.

Online ordering. When restaurants first began offering carry out menus, you had to physically go to the restaurant, place your order and wait while it was prepared. Today, you can either call your order in or with a few clicks, place your order online and have it delivered or ready for carry out at the time you choose. Some restaurants even allow you to save favorite orders for future use.

Interactive table kiosks. This trend started with tableside games for simple entertainment while you waited for your order, but quickly evolved into much more. Now, not only can you pass the time playing games solo or with table mates, you can peruse the menu, place orders and pay your bill all on your own schedule.

Rewards programs. Whether you’re earning stamps or swiping a card, rewards programs can pay big for frequent customers. Basic approaches involve a punch or stamp card that accumulates toward a free menu item. More sophisticated programs let guests earn points toward free or discounted meals, offer exclusive discounts and engage patrons in special promotions. The Bloomin’ Brands’ Dine Rewards program, coming this summer, will allow customers to earn up to 50 percent off their fourth visit to any one of its restaurants, including Outback Steakhouse.

Through technology, restaurant service has evolved into an uber-personal affair. Interacting with the special features available through your favorite restaurants lets you customize nearly every aspect of your culinary experience.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Sponsored by Family Features, Sponsored by Outback

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