Mobile ordering is nothing new, but when COVID-19 hit, it became one of the safest methods of payment, requiring little to no human contact. In fact, among top quick-service restaurant apps, a recent Mobiquity report found a 36 percent year-over-year increase in the number of people saying it was their first time using a restaurant’s mobile app. If you’re a restaurant operator, mobile ordering for delivery and pickup should be a top priority this year.
Bring Home More Bacon with Digital
Off-premises orders through third-party apps, mobile apps or websites can generate additional revenue for restaurants. In fact, orders placed digitally are, on average, 20 percent higher than in-restaurant purchases. Among the variety of reasons customers spend more:
- They have plenty of time to review the menu in detail and make necessary customizations and additions;
- Without a line of people behind them, they don’t feel rushed to place an order;
- In-app or online menus can offer upsell opportunities or special offers; and
- They can use loyalty points to purchase additional items.
Order, Eat, Easily Repeat
Consumers are also gravitating to mobile ordering because it allows them to personalize their experience. With a mobile app, hungry customers can see their past orders to easily repeat an order again, customize their order and browse additional menu options. While restaurant operators cannot show diners the quality of tableside service or on-premises ambiance through app ordering, they can extend their brand and present menus and special offers in a way that accurately conveys brand voice.
By leveraging digital platforms and mobile apps, restaurants increase loyalty while collecting consumer insights. With greater consumer insight through mobile profiles, brands can keep customers coming back with tailored experiences. For example, if a customer consistently orders a small strawberry smoothie from the restaurant’s mobile app, the company can track his or her preferences and generate an offer to try a new smoothie bowl that has a strawberry base, mixed fruit and coconut topping. Using customer data, restaurants can send personalized offers, in app and email reminders and loyalty points, all through one convenient platform that makes the customer feel special.
Use Data to Delight Diners
Mobile food ordering is quickly becoming essential in the quick-service restaurant space and is a rising preference among younger generations. Since 2014, the $38 billion industry has grown 300 percent more quickly than dining in for a meal and despite the rise of third-party apps, on-site pickup through a restaurant’s website or app is still the most popular mobile ordering option. With consumers increasingly seeking choices in where and how they order and purchase food, it’s more important than ever to provide a digital offering that can meet their changing needs.
Quick-serves compete in a challenging, competitive market. And with customers expecting fast, seamless and accurate ordering right from their smartphone, brands cannot afford to fall behind the competition. However, not all white-label ordering systems are created equally. Therefore, restaurant operators must carefully evaluate their options and know what to look for in an online ordering system. When comparing providers, restaurants should consider the following:
- Does the system integrate online ordering natively as opposed to third-party platforms?
- Is the online ordering system instantly update menu, price or branding as needed?
- Does the system offer detailed reporting, so analyzing top-selling items, tracking item costs and managing ROI is possible?
Stay Ahead of the Game with Digital Tech
Advancements in technology have opened the floodgates for digital food ordering. Unlimited opportunities for innovative promotions and continuous improvement are there for the taking. As such, restaurants that migrate to a digital, mobile system will have a leg up on the competition.
Dirk Izzo serves as president and GM of NCR Hospitality. He is a seasoned leader with experience in building and marketing innovative cloud-based solutions to help clients optimize their business performance. In his current role, Dirk is responsible for developing simple and innovative solutions that run the restaurant from end to end. NCR is the technology provider of choice for restaurants around the world and Dirk is focused on delivering the next-generation software, hardware and services that delivers on what customers want, when they want it.