Sept. 8, 2016 | by S.A. Whitehead

A newly released study from Deloitte shows that many frequent diners (40 percent) not only prefer to order online, but also spend 26 percent more on food when they order online from quick service restaurants. At fast casual and casual restaurants, customers typically spend 13 percent more on food when ordering online, the firm’s research found online, according to a news release about the research. 

The study, which sought to determine what consumers want most when dining out, identified three priorities: 

  • online ordering;
  • payment flexibility; and
  • customization.

The research shows that those three factors are not only in heavy demand, but also that restaurateurs who offer these features tend to benefit from more frequent visits, higher check totals and better customer conversion and loyalty.

"People have come to expect certain conveniences when they shop, travel and handle their finances — such as mobile access, personalization, loyalty tracking and no-touch transactions," said Deloitte Consulting LLP Principal and Restaurant and Food Service Leader Andrew Feinberg in a news release about the study.

"More and more, they want their restaurant experiences to feel the same way. The true restaurants of the future will likely be the ones that engage people in a personalized way, even as interactions become more omnichannel."

The study, conducted earlier this year, involved 3,000 millenial and 1,500 general population participants who dine out at least twice a week. Restaurants visited were largely in the QSR and fast casual sectors, but some casual dining establishments were included, as well. Additionally, Deloitte interviewed 20 executives in food service about their company's use of digital technology now and in the future.

Here are some of the salient findings: 

It’s still about the food, but …

When choosing a place to eat, 85 percent of respondents said they first look at the menu online to see what the offerings are like. Next they want to know whether the the restaurant will let them customize their order. Most respondents said they would visit 6 percent more often and order 20 percent per visit if the restaurant made digital technology available. 

Make it easy to pay any way

Flexible payment — for instance, the ability to split checks — is critical. Of those polled 54 percent wanted this flexibility with take-out orders and 53 percent wanted it with drive-thru. Nearly half (48 percent) wanted to pay by mobile phone in the drive-thru lane; 46 percent wanted this option for takeout. For mobile payment, 50 percent wanted a restaurant app. For in-store dining, only 31 percent wanted to pay digitally.

Make a connection 

Personalization and of technology and how it's used by the restaurant were especially important to survey participants. Seven in 10 said they want personalized offers that give them a sense the restaurant "knows them." Eighty percent wanted restaurants use digital means to inform them of deals, with most (64 percent) preferring to obtain this information via email. An even larger number (84 percent) said that if they give direct feedback to a restaurant and get a response of some kind, they’ll return to dine there again.

 


Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Online / Mobile / Social



S.A. Whitehead

Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.


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