Why Your Customers Order Online…and Why You Want Them To

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Major brand establishments, such as Taco Bell, Panera Bread and Papa John’s, are leading the mobile restaurant consumer experience and, in turn, creating customer expectations around mobile capabilities in the restaurant environment. This new level of demand now leaves many restaurants contemplating their own future-proofing strategies. Part one of our two-part series discusses the benefits restaurants can realize when implementing an online or mobile ordering system.

Breaking Down Restaurant Walls

The restaurant of the future caters to a customer’s individual preferences, and interaction with your brand starts long before the customer comes through your doors. No longer will consumers be limited to connecting within your four walls but rather can start that engagement from their sofa, the soccer field or the office. Ultimately, the world becomes an extension of your dining room.

Whether it be, a mobile-friendly site or a mobile-ordering app there are many benefits to “breaking down the restaurant walls.”

  • Increase order ticket size. With mobile ordering, the interactive menu design that suggests add-ons such as dessert, a larger size or an extra condiment has resulted in a 20 percent average ticket uplift in many restaurants. In addition, customers order more when they have the time to view the menu without feeling the pressure to order quickly because of a lengthy line.
  • Increase order throughput without changing your dining room. Curbside and specialty pickup are generating additional revenue, and taking the ordering process online can reduce staffing costs and order-taking errors. Our own merchants have seen up to a 30 percent increase in order volume during their lunch hour when their phone line wasn’t tied up taking an order, resulting in frustrated customers who can’t get through.
  • Allow customers to interact with your business in the way that they choose. According to the National Restaurant Association, 54 percent of adults order directly from a restaurant’s website or mobile app because of the customer experience it provides. Now Joan, the busy soccer mom, can pre-order meals during the game from her favorite restaurants on her mobile device and simply pull up to the curbside parking spot to pick up. Zack will pick up his meal in-store, but pre-ordering helps him bypass the line. Ted can order food for the football game for delivery without missing a play. Karen and her friends don’t have to wait for a table on girls’ night out—they can search availability and make a reservation or see the wait time and put themselves on the waiting list in advance.

In addition, the ability to capture customer preferences and history provides the foundation for experiential rewards, as well as a meaningful way to surprise and delight your patrons. Little-to-no-cost options can increase customer loyalty. When your customers put their names on a waiting list, you can offer a complimentary cocktail to entice them to come in—or when those customers reach a certain status level, they are provided special waiting times. When you have access to rich data, the engagement possibilities are endless.