The Benefits and Challenges of Wearables in Hospitality

Revolutionizing Restaurant Operations and Improving Customer Experience with Wearable Technology

Revolutionizing Restaurant Operations and Improving Customer Experience with Wearable Technology
Article update
November 8, 2023
Table of Contents

Wearables technology has made significant advancements over the last decade, revolutionizing the way people interact with technology. In recent years, the integration of wearable devices with smart devices such as smartphones has enabled users to easily track their fitness goals, monitor their health, and stay connected.

Another notable advancement in the field of wearables has been the development of flexible and stretchable electronics. This has allowed for the creation of wearable devices that are more comfortable and discreet, such as the Fitbit Flex and the Jawbone UP. Additionally, the development of sensors such as accelerometers, gyroscopes, and heart rate monitors has enabled wearable devices to accurately track physical activity and biometric data. It's worth noting that the user experience plays a crucial role in the success of wearable devices, as it has a direct impact on adoption and user satisfaction.

The key considerations for selecting wearables

The user experience is critical for the success of wearable devices, as it directly affects its adoption. When designing and selecting a wearable, it is important to consider the following 5 key considerations:

  1. Usability: it refers to the ease of use and accessibility of the device
  2. Design: encompasses both aesthetics and ergonomics
  3. Comfort: is an important factor, as users are more likely to adopt a device that they find comfortable to wear for extended periods
  4. Functionality: refers to the features and capabilities of the device
  5. Compatibility: compatibility refers to its ability to integrate with other devices and systems

Wearables are increasingly being used in the hospitality and restaurant industries to improve the overall customer experience and streamline operations. In hospitality, wearables such as smartwatches and wristbands can be used as room keys, allowing guests to access their rooms without the need for traditional keycards. Moreover, wearables can be used to provide guests with in-room services, such as ordering room service or controlling room temperature.

The widespread adoption of wearables in the restaurant and hospitality industries is imminent. The effectiveness of these devices, however, is contingent upon the quality of the embedded software as well as the seamless integration with the backend system. This integration enables the devices to function effectively and collect valuable data while maintaining the privacy of guests and staff.

In restaurants, wearables such as smartwatches and head-mounted displays can be used by servers to place orders, check on the status of food, and communicate with the kitchen quickly and efficiently. This helps to reduce the time it takes to take orders and deliver food, leading to faster service and a more positive customer experience. Additionally, wearables can be used to track inventory levels and monitor food preparation, helping to ensure food quality and reduce waste. The use of wearables in hospitality and restaurants has the potential to revolutionize the way these industries operate and improve the overall customer experience.

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What devices do restaurants aim for?

Smartwatches are among the most popular desirable wearables in restaurants, due to their compact size, convenience, and ease of use. To be effective in a restaurant setting, a smartwatch must have certain key characteristics, including:

  1. Ease of Use: The smartwatch must be intuitive and easy to use, with a user-friendly interface and large, easy-to-read text.
  2. Connectivity: The smartwatch must be able to seamlessly connect with other devices, such as point of sale (POS) systems and kitchen displays, to ensure real-time communication and coordination.
  3. Battery Life: With the demands of a busy restaurant environment, a smartwatch must have a long battery life to avoid the need for frequent charging. Staff is used to having a routine at the beginning and end of the working day, which helps with the maintenance of smartwatches, however, the charging process must be easy and intuitive.

Additionally, these devices allow real-time monitoring of operations, enabling restaurant owners to track performance, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions. Wearables are now poised to revolutionize the restaurant industry, providing a seamless and personalized experience for guests, while also empowering staff and owners to make informed decisions that improve the bottom line. 


Despite these key features, there are some challenges that if not properly addressed can block the use of smartwatches in restaurants. One is the cost of the devices, which can be expensive, especially for smaller restaurants. Another challenge is the need for staff training, as not all employees may be familiar with using a smartwatch in a restaurant setting. Finally, there is the risk of device malfunction. To overcome these challenges good software and backend systems are essential.

In the end, wearables are ready to be massively applied in restaurants and the hospitality sector in general. Notwithstanding, the success of devices, in special, smartwatches in restaurants, is related also to the app running in the device as well the staff experience empowered by the integration with the backend system that turns the devices actionable as well as extracts valuable data always respecting the privacy of guests and staff.



"The Future of Wearables: Opportunities, Challenges and Trends" by J. Nathan Matias, a research paper published in ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI).


Waerable software development:

"Developing Software for Wearables: The Essential Guide" by David Levy, a book that provides a comprehensive guide to wearable software development, from the basics of wearable technology to the latest trends and best practices in the field.


Useability of wearables:

"Usability of Wearable Devices: A Systematic Literature Review" by Maria Laura Boschi and Giuseppe LaPaglia, a research paper published in the International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of research on the usability of wearable devices and offers insights into the challenges and opportunities associated with this emerging field.

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