Traditional dining has been consistently decreasing over the past few decades but hit an ultimate low with COVID-19. As of early 2020, many restaurants closed their doors and restricted dining to takeout and delivery to limit the spread.
This left establishments that didn't have online ordering technology in jeopardy of shutting down permanently. Fortunately, many restaurants launched their own mobile ordering apps to maintain sales while keeping a safe distance from customers.
While mobile ordering was considerably popular before the COVID-19 pandemic, it became necessary for many people afterward. As restaurants shut down and limited orders to takeout and outside dining, many consumers only felt comfortable eating from home. As a result, restaurants have noticed a massive shift in their labor, expenses, and customer acquisition.
- Labor costs have decreased by 20% since in-house dining is closed.
- More customers are downloading restaurant mobile apps and joining loyalty programs.
- The average order value (AOV) has increased significantly.
In other words, the COVID-19 crisis has driven more and more consumers to use mobile ordering over traditional dining. And as a result, restaurants that either offer their own delivery or recruit a third-party service reap the benefits.
Mobile ordering provides customers with a level of convenience that they can't find elsewhere, giving restaurants unique business advantages.
It is no secret that mobile ordering applications can be excellent for customer engagement and interactions. However, restaurants must find the right balance of content for their app to keep customers engaged. When done correctly, establishments can pique the interest of new consumers and grow their customer base.
While too much content can quickly clutter an app, too little content won't keep consumers scrolling. Therefore, developers must determine their content options to keep guests returning to get the best deals. Many restaurants combine their mobile order app with their loyalty programs to emphasize the value of each order.
While prior to mobile orders, restaurants could only run campaigns to target demographics, now they can target each individual customer. With a mobile app, restaurants can customize personal promotions for each user based on their purchase history and location. Businesses can even assess the typical order time, store of choice, and products they like to order together. As most mobile apps require registration, restaurants can also email customers when they abandon their cart or stopped visiting.
Customers are fully responsible for placing mobile orders and completing transactions. This significantly reduces the risk of miscommunication between the guest and server that could potentially mess up the food order. This also means that any order mistake falls entirely on the customer, saving the restaurant food waste.
Traditional in-house dining has a lot of wait time, from waiting to be seated to waiting to receive the check. With mobile ordering, customers no longer have to rely on their server's speed to place an order. In fact, users can track their order to see when it's in the kitchen, on the road, and delivered.
While large chains typically have their own mobile apps, smaller restaurants can take advantage of third-party delivery services. This saves them the time and money required to develop a customized mobile app.
ChowNow offers restaurants that already have branded websites and mobile apps ordering services that seamlessly integrate with their technology. Restaurants can even add in ChowNow to their social media pages to attract customers. With every order, the establishment receives an alert on their point-of-sale (POS) terminal. This enables the kitchen staff to immediately fulfill incoming orders.
This service provider allows restaurants to customize their menu, specials, and even outline delivery zones and times. If establishments notice a significant increase in mobile orders, they can recruit ChowNow to develop a custom mobile app. Otherwise, ChowNow has a $499 fee for the first location, plus s $99 monthly subscription.
Zuppler is another provider that can add ordering services to an already established website, app, or social media page. Restaurants can customize their menus and specials but must remember to include any additional fees.
Once Zuppler receives an order, they transfer it to the restaurant via email, POS system, fax, or web. The provider uses live order monitoring to ensure they do not miss a mobile order. Establishments can pay a flat $89 per month or pay as they go. However, the latter option comes with an additional fee that takes 9% per transaction.
GrubHub is a widely known mobile app marketplace that hosts a variety of eateries. Many restaurants use this service to both offer mobile ordering and attract new customers. For many users, GrubHub is where they discover new local businesses to try out. Restaurants can pair GrubHub with DeliveryHub to update customers on their order delivery time.
eHungry is a website that processes orders from various restaurants in one centralized hub. All restaurants have to do is upload their menu to the eHungry site and list their dining options. However, this site only accepts payments through Paypal or via credit cards. eHungry charges on an order-by-order basis, collecting 2.9% on each transaction.
Splick-It caters to businesses that have multiple store locations and require online ordering services. Restaurants can either use Splick-It's platform or integrate their services into their own app. Customers use this service to place and pay for takeout and delivery orders ahead of time. After placing the order, Splick-It alerts the restaurant of the order in real-time via the POS system.