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The amount of technology being that restaurant owners are employing in today’s competitive marketplace is mind boggling. There are POS systems, kitchen systems, tablets for waiters, and tablets at the tables.  It’s enough to make your head explode! 

Making it even more difficult, all of this is happening in a lightspeed, hyper-competitive environment. 70% of restaurants in the U.S. are independently operated, and those owners have little time to sit down, weigh all the factors, and determine which technology to invest in.

Online ordering for restaurants, though, is a technology that all independent owners need to evaluate. That’s why NetWaiter assembled this easy-to-digest restaurant infographic about what technology means to a restaurateur, and especially what online
ordering means to a restaurant. We’ve culled through the research and selected the numbers that illustrate why online ordering is one of the most significant breakthroughs in the restaurant industry since the implementation of drive-thru windows.

Why, of all the technologies available, is online ordering the most important for restaurants?

Online ordering takes an already growing segment of a restaurant’s business and amplifies that growth.  According to a recent survey by Technomic, takeout orders are the fastest-growing slice of the pie for casual dining and other full-service restaurants. Over the past three years, takeout sales at full-service restaurants have grown an average of 8% per year, about twice the rate of overall sales growth for restaurants in that category. Factor in, as reported in this infographic, that when a takeout order is placed online, there is a 95% rate of return for that customer (either online or in-person).

The same Technomic study asked consumers what they would have done if they hadn’t ordered takeout or delivery the last time they chose that option. An astounding 76% would not have eaten a restaurant meal at all, and another 11% would have purchased a meal at a fast-food restaurant.  That is a significant percentage of sales! Not only are you grabbing a larger slice of the pie by growing your takeout business, but the overall pie is growing, too. A restaurant can serve more meals without expanding its physical footprint, and the wait staff does not take on a larger load, because those meals are eaten off premises.

This restaurant infographic also addresses two other elements of the takeout picture that are equally important. The first is the role of mobile devices, particularly smartphones. 50% of restaurant searches are done on a smartphone, and two-thirds of those looking for a restaurant intend to make a purchase that very same day.

Curiously enough, the Pew Research Center reports that, “Nearly all young adults (ages 18-29) make sure their phones are never too far away at night; fully 90% sleep with their cell phone on or right next to their bed.”

By the way, those young adults that sleep with their phones next to them are categorized as millennials, the demographic with the largest share of people who have used online ordering. 58% of millennials report that they use more restaurant technology than they did two years ago. Millennials also make up the largest group of smartphone owners – a whopping 90%.

The result is a perfect storm for online ordering. 1) It’s a growth market. 2) The lead edge of the demographic that champions online ordering is coming into their prime years as consumers. 3) The technology that supports it is ubiquitous.  There are about 182 million smartphones in the U.S., according to one estimate. 

Bottom line it is going to get big, and get big fast.  Check out our suite of tools to help take advantage of all the benefits that an online, digital marketing program can offer, with minimal work and headache.

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