Consumers globally are demanding more value than ever from both in and out of home leisure experiences – and the foodservice sector is no exception. This month, Pizza Hut revealed its vision of a future dine-in ordering experience that involves touchscreen tables for creating custom pizzas.

The pizza chain teamed up with Chaotic Moon Studios to create “an interactive concept table” that visualizes the customization process. The table lets guests use their own hands to spread or shrink the pizza to different sizes, swipe through different crust options, and sprinkle toppings on all or half of the pizza. Pizza Hut says the idea “could be the future of the Pizza Hut dine-in ordering experience” in order to bring more people into its locations.

Why should consumers come to you?

Many companies in foodservice and retail are making a concerted effort to refresh and enliven the consumer experience in their brick-and-mortar stores. These companies are trying to create new reasons to bring consumers into (or back into) storefronts where they can experience the brand more fully, interact with company representatives, and purchase items right there and then.

The need for this has arisen from consumers growing more accustomed to home delivery services. Certainly home delivery in the foodservice industry is nothing new, but with the rise of Amazon and other online retailers, consumers are changing their shopping habits across categories. In fact, Mintel’s Online and Mobile Shopping-US-2013 report found that nearly two thirds of consumers (63%) agree that shopping online is more convenient than going to a store.

We’ve also seen other foodservice companies making attempts to counter the “home as venue” mentality by constructing elaborate themes, making exclusive dishes and drinks and offering multisensory experiences.

Drawing consumers into a store or restaurant demands that venues have a reason for the consumer to make the trip. If it can be delivered, why leave the house to get it? Companies can answer this question by providing special interactions with chefs or staff, greater customization options and immersive environments that cannot be replicated at home. Double cheese optional.

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