Ever since the trend of taking pictures of exquisite meals for Instagram profiles took off, the love affair between the internet and food has continued. Research, and just basic math even, shows that the younger generation is increasingly more likely to order food online instead of over the phone. In fact, a lot of them are ordering with their phones, just not by dialing. This trend should not come as a surprise to anyone. Digital orders are growing 300% faster than dine-in traffic according to EatStreet. Leading companies like Orders2Me and GrubHub feature over 45,000 connected restaurants in 1,100 cities across the US and UK and they process 271,000 orders a day. Let those numbers sink in for a minute, and remember that they grow daily too, 3 times faster than dine-in numbers do. In addition, while much of their business is done online, they report that 60% of their sales come from mobile app users.
There’s no doubt that online orders is a growing trend, now making up nearly 25% of orders according to QSR web, but it’s important to understand what it is about these services that make them so popular. Here’s 5 of the top reasons and trends in the online food ordering service that have lead to its prevalence:
1. The Convenience
Now, you might be saying to yourself that ordering by telephone is already convenient, and you’re not wrong there. But the convenience of online ordering cannot be overstated, for the customer, and for the restaurant too. Restaurants benefit directly from digital orders because phone-in orders distract their employees from direct work in the restaurant. Digital orders skip that phase, and allow more productivity in the restaurant- having a staff sans interruptions pays for itself.
Online orders are also the embodiment of this age’s desire for instant gratification. You can go online, browse for as long, or as briefly as you like and you don’t have to wait on anyone to take your order when you’re ready. Other benefits include the elimination of language barriers and the difficulty, for some, of talking on the phone. The order is more likely to be accurate, and there’s less issues with an indecisive customer. No waiting on hold, no praying for an easy-to-understand accent, and no miscommunications about pickles.
2. Loyalty Programs
Loyalty programs in any market have been catching on, and with the online food ordering business, it’s a rule, not an option for many websites. Using online ordering, restaurants have unique access to gather information on customer preferences, and target specific deals and individuals in order to create repeat traffic. Giving customers clear incentives with measurable goals that they don’t have to find space for in their wallet is a big enticement for many customers.
3. Mobile Apps
Many online ordering services for food indicate that over half of their orders come through mobile apps rather than just through their websites. There is also an important distinction to note along these lines. Many restaurants have developed their own online ordering service and mobile app specific to their restaurant, such as popular pizza chains like Papa John’s. However, the bigger and more prevalent trend are the sites like Orders2Me. As the name implies, it’s a hub for thousands of restaurants all under one app. Unlike individual restaurant apps, clients of these kinds of services don’t have to decide on a type of cuisine before browsing. These sites offer a wide range of ethnic foods all the way down to the more well-known, from sandwiches and burgers to Korean and Vegan, these sites have options, which is a big reason for the ever-increasing client base.
4. Social Media
When it comes to the popularity of social media, and the rise of the food ordering business, it is no surprise that the two get involved. Facebook alone boasts 1.5 billion users, and advertisement there can go a long way, and it goes back to convenience. Marketing online to a large audience with a service you can provide online with just one click is a powerful thing. There’s no middle-man having to call a phone number and smooth transitions. Business partnering for the large services can also offer extra incentives. Offering better deals and discounts for likes on Facebook and retweets on Twitter doesn’t quite reinvent the wheel, but when these things are easy and linked together, it can increase a service’s’ visibility and bring in customers with great discounts.
5. Digital Menus
When eating at a restaurant, there are a variety of factors that can affect what you order, especially somewhere you’ve never been to before. You might have dietary restrictions, your waiter might be busy, and the menu might be vague. Digital menus can address all of these concerns and more. Most of these services and restaurants can offer pictures of every menu item and sub-menus allow for detailed ingredient lists as well as accurate descriptions. Digital menus are a great way to improve your average customer’s satisfaction and provide more accurate orders. Many of these places, especially for pizza and sandwiches, allow you to create your meal piece by piece even, via the website or the phone application. There is no easier way to customize your order to match exactly what you want than through the digital menus of an online food service.
Restaurants across the company are signing up in droves for online food ordering sites, and across the board, these places who participate in a hub rather than trying to start their own fledgling service are bringing in extra orders in droves. To learn more about how your business can participate in, and take advantage of, services like ours- visit our website Orders2.me today!
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.