Restaurants in the Digital Age
Using Mobile Strategy to Increase Sales
These days, having a digital strategy can make or break a restaurant. While this isn’t always the case, some of the recent studies do seem to confirm where the industry is heading.
At a time when everyone has an app and the internet of things is slowly creeping into every aspect of our lives, some of the larger chains are seeing lots of year over year success with online and mobile ordering. For example:
A recent report from NRN, 26% of all Panera Bread Co. sales now come directly from digital ordering. In addition to mobile ordering, they have also installed kiosks which have helped increased same-store sales by 11.5% over the last two years.
Taco Bell has seen the average check size increase by 30% with mobile ordering and is continuing to invest heavily in this area. According to Andy McCraw, digital innovation product manager at Taco Bell, “The majority of our web traffic is mobile-based, so it’s critical that those users have a great experience.” Taco Bell has 3.7 million app downloads, according to the company.
After rolling out mobile ordering, Starbucks quickly discovered that it was not equipped to handle the exponential increase in orders . For this reason, they are now piloting mobile order and pay-only at their Seattle location.
Although, mobile ordering isn’t the end-all be-all for restaurants yet, there is no substitute for good old-fashioned customer service and tasty food. Patrons still actually care about the overall dining experience. That goes from viewing a restaurants website to dining in for lunch.
Yet, the success of some of these restaurants is a good indication that digital ordering should be considered as one of the biggest shifts in the industry since the invention of the drive-thru. Patrons today are much busier and they don’t eat inside as much as they used to. The convenience of pulling out one’s smartphone and placing a quick to-go order will be a requirement for a successful restaurant in 2018 and beyond.