A lot has been happening in the world of mobile ordering apps, guest experience and loyalty, so here’s a round-up of some of the more noteworthy Hospitality stories:

Moving to self-service drives higher sales and improves the guest experience

By making the move to self-service order and payment kiosks restaurant operators can shorten lines and improve the customer experience by giving them the power to find and explore new menu items and personalise their order.  Food ordering kiosks improve throughput which increases sales and customer convenience resulting in more frequent visits and ultimately guest loyalty.  Kiosk ordering has also been shown to increase the average check size!

40% of frequent restaurant visitors prefer to order online

A Deloitte survey also found 7 in 10 surveyed restaurants expect apps to be more personal and that quick service restaurant customers expect to spend 20% more when leveraging digital channels.  The survey also found they spend 26% more per online order at QSRs and 13% more in casual and fast casual establishments.  A major finding was that the restaurant menu is still king.  It is the most important factor when choosing a restaurant for the first time with 85% of respondents saying they will view the menu first before making a decision.  >> Full survey results 

Helping with a specific task and friend recommendations are top reasons for downloading an app

Reasons that US smartphone owners install mobile apps include:

  • 37%: had a specific task, thought the app would help
  • 31%: friend’s recommendation
  • 20%: ad for app looking interesting
  • 13%: app returned as answer from Google
  • 13%: app was featured by Apple or Google
  • 11%: was a customer of the company, wanted to get services on mobile
  • 10%: other

When it comes to app retention, less than 25% of mobile app users will return to an app they day after they use it and 43% of respondents used 4-6 apps on an average day compared to 40-70 apps installed.

Restaurants should be more ‘emphatic’ when it comes to technology

Listening to your customers is a golden rule every business owner should never break according to Modern Restaurant Management.  When it comes to technology, Hospitality operators make decisions based on what they think is required, what’s available or what’s affordable rather than customer preference.

For example, a number of full service restaurant operators scrambled to find an answer to the EMV problem but early solutions proved a bad fit because, whilst they did provide the security, they were nothing more than repurposed retail devices not developed with restaurant in mind.  By implementing something built for retail, the resulting solution was out of place, intrusive and unrefined.

Better customer experience tops the list of reasons why restaurants should offer a mobile app

Restaurants were given 3 reasons why they should provide a mobile channel for their customers.  These included:

  • In-app ordering leads to a better customer experience by reducing lines and improving efficiency within the restaurant itself
  • In-app loyalty programs lead to higher spend – loyalty program adoption currently sits at 12% and increases to between 18-28% when mobile payment is offered in addition to the loyalty program
  • Saved preferences leads to more customer engagement through a better, more tailored user experience and social media interaction capabilities.


 Capitalising on social media given as top tip for driving mobile adoption

Mobile Product Manager, Dunkin’ Donuts, Tim Doherty and Digital Marketing Manager at Pita Pit, Jordy Patano share their advice at CONNECT Mobile Innovation Summit for driving mobile adoption.  Tips include:

  • Using social media to push app use and return use, to drive engagement and gather more customer data
  • Integrating a menu
  • Group ordering
  • Fostering greater use of the app among employees


Restaurants are getting more ambitions with their tech experimentation

Restaurants are experimenting with RFID, beacons, geo-fencing and other location-based technologies to upgrade their marketing and improve the ordering process according to QSR Magazine.

While brands such as Pita Pit use these technologies to provide very customised marketing messages to guests, others are using them to enhance the ordering process by allowing customers to place, track and control orders.  By employing RFID, casual-dining establishments can determine which guest purchased what order and then deliver to the table.  These technologies are expected to become a necessity for any limited-service brand that wants to remain relevant in the future.

3 steps to ‘wow-ing’ customers with your loyalty program

Customers will forgo convenience for the sake of a more valuable customer experience.  They will drive further, pay more and generally do more for the brands they love.  Fast Casual believes brands must follow three key steps for loyalty success which include:

  1. Building a base for brand engagement by using a technology platform that captures information to be used as the base for the loyalty program
  2. Making sign-up simple and fast or including incentives for people to sign-up
  3. Tracking other businesses with similar customer bases and discovering what works best


4 Features that will help your app deliver a great customer experience

There has been a shift in emphasis from mobile app to mobile experience with the most successful hospitality operators offering these top 4 features in their mobile apps:

  1. Relevance and usefulness by offering personalised, location savvy information and timely marketing offers.
  2. Frictionless transactions that provide privileges without wasting time for front-desk personnel.
  3. Entertainment and engagement by taking advantage of immersive experiences, interactive gaming and social engagement.
  4. Rewards that feel like true rewards by offering something that is personally appealing, whether it’s a few stay, VIP privileges or one-of-a-kind experimental rewards.