5 Restaurant Online Ordering Facts All Restaurateurs Should Know
The last few years have been rough on the restaurant business, which has weathered supply chain issues, labor shortages, rising food costs, a pandemic, and cutthroat competition. Nevertheless, many eateries have been able to stay open despite these obstacles. Still, restaurant owners need to adapt their business model to suit diners’ new buying behavior and preferences in a post-pandemic world.
How can restaurateurs predict what trends and changes will ensure their continued success now and in the future? It’s essential to look at past facts, previous diner ordering habits, and the ebb and flow of trends. Suppose you are considering adding restaurant online ordering or third-party delivery integration. In that case, you should understand data from the previous year, which gives you better insight into customer preferences so you can make smarter business decisions for the future.
The Key to Success is Knowing the Facts
1. In 2021, 60% of American consumers ordered takeout or delivery at least once a week, according to Fundera by Nerdwallet.
Last year was a busy one, so people wanted convenient meals—but most consumers didn’t have the time or patience to make food after a long day of work or school. Between rushing to evening activities or trying to recover from another hectic day, food and meal prep was low on the list of priorities for many families, so takeout and delivery were the easiest options. Ordering on the way home or while sitting in sweatpants on the couch was a lot easier and less time-consuming than shopping for ingredients, making the meal, and then cleaning it up.
2. 45% of consumers say that mobile ordering or loyalty programs encourage them to use restaurant online ordering platforms.
Loyalty programs using punch cards or apps for on-premise purchases are standard, but adding a loyalty program for customers who want to order online is another level of convenience. Of course, loyalty programs shouldn’t be reserved just for dine-in customers. With restaurant online ordering growing in popularity, extending your loyalty program to takeout customers will keep them coming back for more. When given a choice of restaurants, diners will choose the one where they can earn freebies or points for ordering online, purchasing certain items, or making repeat visits.
3. Customers who place an online order with a restaurant will visit that restaurant 67% more frequently than those who don’t.
Most people are comfortable using the Internet for everything—from product research to grocery shopping—so offering an online ordering option ensures a consistent stream of customers and revenue because they prefer the convenience of a familiar medium. No one likes to feel rushed or pressured when placing their order, especially if it’s a busy time of day. Adding restaurant online ordering will help you attract and retain customers who like to peruse the menu at their own pace, find new items to try, or customize their selections to their liking. Choose a restaurant online ordering system that tracks customer data, so you can see what promotions are resonating and which menu items are the most popular, so you can repeat them often.
Restaurant online ordering also gives customers a low-stress way to try an eatery before enjoying a dine-in experience. The option to order online is especially effective for first-time customers who aren’t sure they want to spend time making a reservation, getting dressed, driving to the restaurant, and eating on-premises.
4. Online ordering is growing 300% faster than in-house dining.
No one wants to keep hitting the “redial” button when they get a busy signal, wait on hold, or worse, get disconnected and call back to place an order. People are ordering online more often than they are dining in-person, so ramp up your ordering processes to maximize the opportunity. Integrating online ordering means restaurant staff can accept more orders from more customers, boost revenue and generate more business—without extending hours, adding phone lines, or expanding the dining room. There’s a lot of money up for grabs—the popularity of online food delivery services is skyrocketing in the US, and by 2024, it’s projected to be a $32 billion industry. Worldwide, this market is expected to reach $192.16 billion in 2025 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11%.
5. 31% of American consumers use third-party food delivery services at least twice a week.
Services like UberEats and DoorDash are household names with easy-to-navigate websites that give your restaurant maximum exposure and built-in delivery, so there’s nothing the customer has to do besides point and click. A third-party integration with a food delivery service can help you stay competitive—especially if other restaurants in the area are already using these services. In addition, third-party delivery companies offer better brand awareness, more visibility, and allow you to add delivery without hiring your own in-house drivers.
The statistics from last year tell you everything you need to know—restaurant online ordering is on the rise. If you’re looking to reach a larger demographic of customers, an order online capability is a must for the future. Online food orders allow you to attract and retain customers, especially with a loyalty program that rewards them for repeat visits and purchases. Post-pandemic dining behaviors have changed, and people aren’t always willing to get dressed and leave their homes for a dine-in experience, but they still want to satisfy their cravings. For a full-service experience, or for hungry customers who don’t want to leave their home to pick up their order, the convenience of a third-party delivery service checks all the boxes.