For the past several years, much of the industry’s focus has been on food delivery and bringing the meal to the customer.
A new study, however, has found that an increasing number of people are looking for ways to place an online order in advance and have their order ready and waiting for them when they go to pick it up.
Digital orders account for 52% of all delivery orders, according to The NPD Group, up from 27% in 2012.
While some may think this experience is the same as normal takeout (something that has been around for ages), this takeout relationship is completely different. Instead of picking up the phone and calling a restaurant while looking at a menu, crossing your fingers that the person on the receiving end hears your order correctly, or waiting 10-15 minutes because they’re busy, ordering ahead online can be completed in a matter of moments.
This ordering experience has much more appeal to customers than the process that had been in place for decades.
According to Datassential research on online ordering preferences:
- 60% of consumers want the ability to customize their orders
- 56% want the ability to select delivery time
- 45% want detailed information on each item
Finally, takeout at fast-casual restaurants has also started to redefine itself when it comes to the in-store experience. More and more restaurants are starting to adopt self-serve kiosks and tablets where customers can place their order without having to have any verbal interaction with a restaurant employee.
Part of the investment in kiosks comes from the desire to save on employee expenses. Daniel Boutarel, managing associate at the New England Consulting Group, says. “…being able to have the guests basically do all the legwork – look at the menu, place the order, and pay without having to interact with virtually anyone – would streamline that entire experience and help the kitchen. The other nice thing with the tablets and kiosks is that based on the time of the day and the day of the week, the restaurant would be able to hypothetically alter their prices or push specific messages or push specific menu items.”