Online ordering isn’t new anymore, and consumers are increasingly turning to the Internet and their mobile device to do everything from customizing their pizzas to crafting an order that fits in with dietary needs to just creating a dining experience designed to move more smoothly.
Restaurants across most segments are at least dipping a toe into the waters of online ordering, but fast-casual concepts are taking the lead, according to a recent study on online, mobile and text-ordering trends by researchers.
Almost half the fast-casual concepts surveyed in the study offer some type of online ordering, compared to 23% across all industry segments. Customers are rapidly adopting online and mobile ordering because it cuts down on wait times and improves accuracy of orders. Eateries like it because automated systems improve productivity, researchers found, although there’s the real potential for a flood of online orders to overwhelm kitchen staff, at least until everyone adjusts. Some chains build their online ordering systems in-house, but a growing number of restaurants and chains avoid reinventing the wheel by partnering with Online Ordering companies, which offers platforms for ordering online, via SMS text m
essaging and through mobile apps, all of which are customized to reflect links to online ordering for neighborhood eateries.
The numbers show restaurants’ adoption of online ordering systems is paying off –establishments surveyed reported that patrons ordering online had both higher average checks and more frequent orders than those who ordered by phone or in person. On a smaller scale, a ballpark beer vendor sells 80 to 100 beers a game. Instead of on-line ordering, this beer vendor takes his orders via Twitter. Smartphone fans who tweet their orders to him tend to be good tippers, and having orders in advance makes for amore efficient system since the vendor can map his route through the stands.