Whether the term used is “fast food” or “quick service,” the very name of the category implies a promise—food at the ready at the customer’s whim. It is more important than ever, given the rapidly changing world we now live in and the focus on “now,” with consumers getting more accustomed to summoning virtually anything they want on demand. But are restaurants delivering this type of experience?
“Wait times and speed of service are key benchmarks that dictate whether a potential guest chooses your establishment or goes to another,” says Deloitte’s US Restaurant & Food Service Leader Jean Chick, citing Deloitte’s Restaurant of the Future Survey, which found that 80% of respondents said wait times impact their decision to choose a restaurant.
To better understand the impact of customer experience on restaurant profitability, Rakuten Ready undertook the 2020 ROI Study to learn more about how shifting order mix toward Order for Pickup can become a revenue growth opportunity. Data collected across four major QSR brands confirmed that mobile Order for Pickup offers the shortest wait times–up to 2.4 times faster—than other service methods.
The study also confirms Order for Pickup is an efficient channel. As operators invest more into building out the necessary infrastructure and promote Order for Pickup, they will gain a number of benefits, including increased ROI. By shifting the mix towards Order for Pickup, brands gain operational efficiencies and cost savings not available with other order channels including:
- Improved profits from needing less staff to capture orders and payments.
- Shorter customer wait times, which increases order throughput and drives more revenue.
- More opportunities for upsell, since the mobile app can automatically suggest items like beverages and desserts to help drive incremental revenue.
- Additional revenue from new customers who want to use Order for Pickup but didn’t know it existed or previously went elsewhere due to the long lines.
But first, operators must address the perception of customers when it comes to Order for Pickup, compared with In-Store and Drive-Thru channels.
Perception Vs. Reality of Wait Times: The Disconnect Could Be Costing Restaurants
The Rakuten Ready study found that nearly 70% of frequent QSR customers perceive the In-Person and Drive-Thru channels as faster than mobile Order for Pickup during peak periods.
However, the reality is that mobile Order for Pickup actually offers a considerable time advantage; it was on average 2.4 times faster than In-Person ordering and 1.7 times faster than Drive-Thru.
The challenge is for restaurants to change customer perceptions so they will shift their behavior towards mobile ordering – thereby allowing restaurants to increase their profitability by capturing revenue otherwise lost because customers deemed it too busy or just stayed away altogether.
Tips To Create A Successful Shift Toward Mobile Ordering
While the hallmarks of a seamless mobile Order for Pickup experience will vary by brand, vertical and location, there are several best practices restaurants can implement. The common themes are clearly marked and dedicated pickup locations and/or pickup lines and windows and ensuring that product is made just in time to minimize waste and provide food at peak quality. And communication is key, through an app that informs the customer when their order will be ready or allows the customer to let the restaurant know when they will be onsite for pickup.
“Technology has improved customers’ ability to order on their terms and have their items waiting for them when they arrive,” Chick says.
And the “right” technology is a pivotal component of this shift, most notably prioritizing the app experience and adopting other innovations like predictive arrival technology. That’s key to a program’s success, given that three-quarters of customers say that skipping a long line is the top reason they would choose Order for Pickup, and nearly the same number would choose Order for Pickup if they were confident their order would be ready when they arrive.
Reaping the Rewards
The Rakuten Ready research concluded that shifting the mix to promote more Order for Pickup offers a number of benefits, including:
- Increased operational efficiency that leads to more throughput
- Improved margins through more satisfied existing customers and new customers, who combine to bring in more profit
- A more convenient customer experience with less interaction that leads to a better brand impression
By shifting the customer order mix towards Order for Pickup with a frictionless order experience, restaurants can reap the rewards of improved customer loyalty while improving profits and revenue.
Download the full Rakuten Ready 2020 ROI Study here.