If you’re in the fast-food industry you’ve probably heard the word “convenience” more than your own name over the last decade.
Fast food businesses are constantly battling it out for top spot on the convenience podium. From online ordering and in-store touchscreens, to text and app orders, food has suddenly become less about friendly faces and more about friendly homepages.
If you don’t already have an online ordering system in place, let us enlighten you on how neglecting online ordering is effecting your business right now.
Your Customers Are Sneaking Off, And Splashing Out
Sadly, if you’re still on the “meh” bandwagon for online ordering, you’re in danger of losing customers to tech-savvy competitors who adapt to the technological trends of the consumer for a more convenient buying experience. Increasingly impressive stats are being seen around the world from online orders, and oddly enough it has less to do with quantity and more to do with the quality of the orders.
The logistics are simple really. Envision ordering from your favorite pizza restaurant over the phone on a Friday night. You’re most likely to opt for your regular meal deal or your large pizza 2 toppings-type offer, yes?
Now visit the restaurant’s online ordering menu. It unleashes a whole new can of (extremely hungry) worms. Your regular order just doesn’t seem to suffice anymore, it definitely needs the camaraderie of one of these cheesy sides or chocolate mousse thingys. In fact, there seems to be a whole load of new dishes you didn’t even know about since you last read the menu – Speciality pizzas, gourmet pizzas, bigger and better meal deals and a course new and improved sides, sides and more sides.
Those mouth-watering descriptions are doing nothing to aid your willpower either. Suddenly, you find yourself in the familiar “The diet starts Monday” frame of mind.
Why Do We Buy More?
It isn’t just the hunger-provoking pictures and mouth-watering descriptions effecting consumer choices. According to a study by Ryan McDevitt of the Duke University Fuqua School Of Business, consumers order online with a more “reckless abandon” because the lack of social interaction acts as a barrier to shame. Essentially, there’s a lot less judgement and guilt on the consumer for pigging out now and again.
Online ordering isn’t a new approach by any means; Pizza Hut in particular have been doing it since 1994! Today, however, a massive chunk of successful retailer’s revenue is generated in this way. Domino’s saw online orders account for 69.4% of delivered sales in the UK last year according to figures published by Bloomberg. Domino’s chief financial officer has stated that “We look at surveys of our customers, and they’re pretty clear in telling us they like ordering on digital better than talking on the telephone”.
GrubHub, an online ordering platform, has seen its number of regular users grow by 50 percent, to 4.6 million, in the past year alone, and even coffee-giant, Starbucks, appears to be cashing in on the rapidly-growing phenomenon with its order-ahead smartphone app.
As it’s apparent that online ordering feeds the whole “eyes bigger than the belly” mind state, fast-food restaurants are bringing in touchscreen ordering faster than McDonald’s are whipping up Happy Meals.
One particular restaurant who is seeing massive success is Chili’s. Chili’s have set up over 45,000 touchscreens in restaurants all over the U.S and have publicly stated that they have seen a 20% increase in dessert sales in comparison to server-based orders, and that it reliably increases the size of the average check!
It makes perfect sense; no impatient waiters rushing your order, more time to explore the menu, convincing pictures to fuel your appetite; all equals a hungrier, happier customer.
Still On The Fence?
- Highly convenient
- Less mistakes (therefore less complaints)
- Kitchen is better prepared
- Quick lunchtime orders for consumers on the go
- Bigger food orders
- Gives edge on competitors
- Less queues in store
- Specific product promotion
- Ease of experience – customer retention
Again, convenience means everything in the fast-food industry. So much so that a phone order is just too much effort for the consumer these days (poor things). You know the big industry rule; the customer is always right. So I guess we’d better start living up to their expectations!