Over the past few years, online ordering has changed the game for restaurant delivery and takeout options. But as delivery and takeout continues to grow, offering online ordering isn’t enough to meet the demand. A growing number of consumers want to use mobile ordering options to fulfill their off-premise dining desires, making this an area of opportunity for operators.
The trend toward mobile ordering is especially relevant for younger diners: 46% of consumers ages 18-34 years old say that mobile ordering options are important or very important when deciding on a restaurant to visit, according to Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics.
For operators that are looking for ways to boost business, online ordering is not only a great way to do so, it’s a must-have. Knowing the trends, as well as the benefits of offering it, can help plan and shape a restaurant’s strategy.
WHO'S ORDERING DELIVERY AND TAKEOUT?
Among today’s consumers, younger diners ages 18-34 order food to go more than older generations, according to Technomic’s recent Takeout & Off-Premise report.
On average, consumers overall order food to go 5.5 times per month, while younger consumers do so 7.4 times per month. Additionally, those younger consumers are ordering food to go more often than they were three years ago.
Busier lifestyles play a big role in younger diners’ to-go order frequency, and to continue appealing to those heavy delivery and takeout users, mobile ordering is crucial. Mobile ordering appeals to consumers’ desire for convenience, as they don’t need a computer to order delivery or takeout. With a few taps on a smartphone, they can get an order of chicken strips and fries delivered to the office on a night they’re working late so they never have to turn off their laptop.
MOVING BEYOND APPS
Offering easier ordering technology is key to attracting more to-go diners regardless of age or demographic split. New opportunities for mobile ordering include chatbot ordering via social media, which can help users who may have questions as they are placing an order (but who can’t or do not want to call in the order on the phone) and text message ordering, with some restaurants offering the option to save favorite orders to an account and order those items simply by texting an emoji.
Consumers still prioritize online ordering via sites over apps, and by ensuring that their websites are outfitted for orders and optimized for mobile, operators can be sure that anyone who wants to order from them can—without needing to download a special app, for instance.
BENEFITS OF ONLINE ORDERING OPTIONS
Delivery boosts sales—chains that excel at delivery service are pulling ahead in sales, according to Technomic’s recent Takeout & Off-Premise Dining report. Mobile ordering options not only allow for easier ordering of delivery, but they also help increase check averages, too. Technomic’s report finds that 26% of consumers overall say they purchase more food when they order it to go versus when they dine in. That number is higher among younger consumers –32% of diners ages 18-24 say so, while 44% of consumers 25-34 do.
Knowing this, operators can offer mobile ordering-exclusive appetizers (like loaded fries with different toppings than the dine-in option, for instance), buy-one-get-one promotions during certain hours or deals that include a free dessert with a minimum purchase. All of these options can help to increase check averages.
For operators looking to increase their business, setting up mobile ordering can be a big help. By ensuring mobile sites are accessible for those diners looking for a quick and convenient way to order food for pickup or delivery, operators may notice an increase in interest in those services.