Much of this month’s guest-facing Hospitality news emphasizes the importance of convenience for customers.  It’s a primary factor when driving the uptake of digital ordering technology such as a mobile and kiosk order and payment and, unsurprisingly, bears even more weight within the fast food sector with pizza and coffee coming out on top as the most popular foods to order through a mobile restaurant app.  Here are some other stories we thought worthy of your attention this month:

 

Consumer demand for convenience boosts restaurant ordering apps and kiosk technology

QSR Magazine urge limited service brands to implement mobile ordering because it’ll soon be core to the quick-service experience.  Digital ordering, whether it be mobile or kiosk is growing at a pace unrivalled since the drive-thru explosion back in the late 70’s.  The world’s biggest brands have recognized this with McDonald’s extending their plans for mobile order and pay, Starbucks testing a voice ordering app and Wendy’s installing kiosks at 1,000 of its locations.  QSR Magazine quotes Robin DiPietro, hospitality professor at University of South Carolina, “As quick-serve customers trade up to fast casual or even casual dining, conventional quick-service restaurants have to rethink how to compete.  And the key to competing these days is convenience.”

 

Convenience listed as primary reason to use a fast food mobile ordering app

A survey by Field Agent has found 69% order via a fast food app to avoid lines and crowds while 66% use it to earn points, rewards to discounts. Other findings include:

  • Pizza is the most popular food to order through an app (54%), followed by coffee (41%), sandwiches (22%) and burritos (16%)
  • 54% were most likely to order at peak times when they expect the restaurant to be especially busy
  • Top 4 frustrations with mobile apps include app problems, time discrepancies, missing out on promotions and inflexibility when ordering
  • 59% order more frequently when placing orders through the app
  • 32% spend more when using mobile
  • 41% say they’re buying more fast food now that mobile ordering is a reality

 

58% of contract caterers believe using tech to reduce wait times will improve footfall

This survey by Omnico demonstrated a “demand for a more complete approach to technology that encompasses loyalty, ordering, payment and promotions, as caterers see that this is the route to significant bottom line benefits.”  Other findings include:

  • 48% want to use technology to offer more personalized discounts based on what the customer has previously bought
  • 41% want to offer a loyalty program through a mobile app
  • 38% want technology to give them a unified system connecting bookings and till points
  • 33% think advanced booking systems will allow demand to be more accurately predicted
  • 40% said advanced ordering will improve footfall
  • 48% said queues will diminish and efficiency rocket if they can offer customers the ability to pay using a mobile app, kiosk or tablet
  • 20% believe engaging with customers through a mobile app is a key method of boosting revenue

 

Prioritizing the customer experience one of four ways to make mobile ordering strategy a success

4 key elements businesses should consider when implementing their pre-order/pay service according to QSR Magazine include:

  1. Prioritize the customer experience: Make the menu straight forward to navigate and options easy to select. Regardless of whether the order is being delivered or picked up, make sure the customer knows what’s going on and what they need to do.  For example, if there’s a separate line for pre-orders, this needs to be clearly sign posted. 
  2. Be prepared for operational changes: Think ahead about how you’ll cope with an increase in sales e.g. store redesigns, employee training and the use of text messaging to notify customers their order is ready.
  3. Choose a strategic technology partner: Partner with a company that specializes in pre-ordering technology offering a turnkey platform that’s reliable and can get to market quickly. It’s important this platform is invested in and kept current to reduce the threat of technology obsolescence.
  4. Use analytics to improve your relationship with customers: Use the data you capture from mobile ordering to target individuals and segments with special offers and personalized messages. This will allow you to develop a segmentation strategy to encourage retention and dive loyalty.     

 

CIOs and CMOs need to align visions to reflect shared business goals for digital ordering to be a success

Pizza Marketplace suggests 4 main ways CIOs and CMOs can work together to implement an effective digital ordering platform:

  • Work towards a common goal. If both the CIO and CMO work towards goals like improving the customer experience, CIOs can share required business data and CMOs can use it to create relevant customer engagement.
  • Joint understanding. Span the gap between the two executive functions to make sure there is mutual understanding of each other’s job functions and goals.
  • Cooperate, communicate and appreciate. Collaborate across skill sets so there’s a better understanding of inter departmental projects and processes.
  • Define roles. Clearly defined roles and core competencies result in better teams and better team results.

 

Food and drink take a bigger slice of UK shopping space

A report by Cushman and Wakefield shows eating out is powering most of the sector’s growth and is predicted to expand by 17% over the next 4 years to be worth £103bn.  Café’s and takeaways have the strongest growth with pizza and coffee being the most popular new openings in that category. 

 

Google Lens to revolutionize the way we retrieve restaurant information

Google’s recent annual developer conference unveiled its vision for how it expects mobile users to interact with technology in the near future.  Google Lens took center stage – a new computer vision technology that turns your phone’s camera into a search engine.  How does this affect the Hospitality industry?  In short, it offers the ultimate convenience.  It means no more opening a browser and searching for restaurant information. Guests can just take a photo of a restaurant and its opening hours, description, menu and reviews will be presented automatically.  Guests can even make reservations and learn more about what they’re eating simply by taking a photo of their food.