Food Ordering Forecast

Did you know one in ten apps on a customer’s phone is a restaurant mobile app?

Or that in the past 12 months, 58 percent of customers ordered a meal via website or mobile app?

Would it be helpful for you to know that nearly two- thirds of fast casual customers plan to order online in the coming year or that more than 65 percent of customers would order more often if a restaurant provided online ordering?

These are just a few of the nuggets of wisdom gleaned from Tillster’s Online and Mobile Ordering index. The provider of digital ordering and engagement solutions for restaurants partnered with research firm, SSI, to conduct a survey of 2,000 restaurant customers across the U.S. on how online and mobile ordering impacts guest behavior.

The findings can be used as a marketing and promotional tool for restaurants, Hope Neiman, VP of Marketing of Tillster, told Modern Restaurant Management magazine.

“There were subtle differences year over year.”

One key metric to note is that restaurants shouldn’t focus their attention only on Millennials, as there was an uptick in mobile technology adoption among an older demographic.

“It’s becoming increasingly important for restaurants to have a mix of order options that can appeal to anyone and tied into your brand,” Neiman said.

She advises restaurants to talk about their ordering options in-store, online and via staff to effectively communicate the platforms.

“People fall in love with a brand and with built-out options they will use it again and again.”

Pre-ordering is becoming more important, according to the study with 57 percent of fast casual customers saying pre-ordering is the feature they would most like to see from a restaurant mobile app and 42 percent of QSR customers say pre-ordering is a feature they would most like to see from a restaurant mobile app. More than 73 percent would visit more if pre-ordering for pick-up or dine-in were offered.

Online ordering and pre-ordering drive sales for all age groups.  While millennials are the most frequent users of digital ordering technologies, older customers aren’t far behind, according to the results.

Tillster facilitates nearly 50 million orders a year serving more than 100 global and regional brands, including Burger King, Baskin-Robbins, KFC, McAlister’s Deli, and Pizza Hut, points out Perse Faily, CEO of Tillster.

“These findings help us understand the trends that impact our customers and the industry as a whole. These ordering-specific statistics speak volumes in support for what we’ve said for years.  Customers want to go directly to the brands they trust, whether through the restaurant’s website or mobile app.”

Other takeaways include:

  • When ordering for themselves, customers are just as likely to order online as in-store.
  • When ordering for a family or group, customers prefer to order online, which can lead to greater check size for restaurants.
  • When it comes to ordering from a preferred restaurant, customers want to order directly from that restaurant’s website or mobile app over third-party aggregators. In fact, nearly 40 percent have ordered directly from a restaurant website in the past three months.