COMMENTARY

How 'Netflix and Chill' popularized digital ordering

How 'Netflix and Chill' popularized digital ordering

By Kevin Sanders, CMO, Onosys

What does Netflix have in common with online ordering? At first consideration, absolutely nothing. However, take a wider look at how cultural trends led to the success of services like Netflix and it quickly becomes clear that two are practically intertwined.

How so? During the Great Recession, many people were forced to cut back on spending and cocoon — spend more time at home because they couldn't afford to go out as much. Turned out a lot of us found out that we liked it and kept doing it even after the recession ended. Thus "Hygge" made its way to the U.S. Pronounced "hoo-guh," the Danish word for coziness embodies this idea of comfort and togetherness at home. Add the fact that there are fewer reasons to go out now — we do more of our shopping from home, our entertainment arrives via Netflix. 

So if we're spending more time at home, it makes sense that we'd prefer to eat there, too and the dining trends continue to reflect that as NPD reports 48 percent of dinners purchased from a restaurant were eaten at home. To break that down by mealtime, 81 percent of dinners are now eaten at home and 51 percent of lunch is now eaten at home. And that lunch stat is of particular interest as only a few year's back that number was nowhere near where it is as lunch was traditionally eaten at the office. Which brings us to our final cultural contributor.

Netflix and chill: The millennial influence

While mobile ordering is growing across just about every demographic, there's one group that stands out — millennials. That same NPD report found that most mobile orders are coming from consumers under 35 years old with above-average incomes. And it's no surprise that this generation raised during the dawn of the internet age would value the convenience of mobile ordering, a preference confirmed by Y Combinator's recent survey which found 44 percent say that convenience is more important than cuisine. To stay in favor with this up and coming generation restaurants will need to continue to build on their mobile and digital offerings to keep things convenient for the mobile millennial.

A call for convenience: Hygge and hyper-busy

While at first the rise of hygge might appear to be in direct conflict with the uber-busyness of everyone these days, the two actually go hand-in-hand. As our lives get bogged down by more than ever — work that needs to get done, kids that need to get to practice, and countless other tasks to accomplish — the value of saving time (that can then be spent in that cocoon) with easy on-the-go meal options is higher than ever. 

It's a contradiction that begs for convenience. And while technology has created this go-go-go existence it's also solving the problems with this perpetual motion state of being. Because in a world where every second counts, mobile ordering can save the most precious commodity of all — time. Mobile ordering is especially important with busy families. NPD found that 35 percnet of digital orders are coming from households with children. So digital ordering is making more time for family. 

As these key cultural trends continue to push consumers toward digital ordering platforms, restaurants must be ready to keep up with the demand. Last year, mobile ordering grew 18 percent, accounting for 1.9 billion foodservice visits (5 percent of all restaurant orders), according to the NPD group. Add the data from a recent report from BI Intelligence which projects mobile order-ahead will be a $38 billion industry by 2020 and one thing is clear — online ordering is on the rise. 
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Although some national restaurant chains have offered mobile ordering options for years, local restaurants and franchises are just beginning to discover the benefits. Technology is no longer a nice add-on for restaurants it's becoming a part of the restaurant experience for customers, whether that's through mobile ordering or loyalty programs. Paying attention to these cultural shifts can help you get ahead of them and continue to deliver excellent customer service online and in-person.

Cover photo: iStock


Topics: Customer Service / Experience

Companies: Netflix


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