This week we’re looking at how trends in ordering ahead will affect your business in 2019.

Millennials Have to Eat

We can’t write about trends without including Millennials (or, to those more traditional folks, “Generation Y”), and if you own a restaurant, you can’t afford to ignore this large customer base, especially when it comes to ordering meals online. Here are three reasons why:

  1. This generation is larger than the Baby Boomer generation, and one-third of them are already in the workforce.
  2. Compared to other generations like the Baby Boomers and Generation X, Millennials spend the highest share of their budget on prepared food and in general, live faster-paces lives.
  3. The Millenials are a generation that were introduced to digital devices and other technology at a young age,

What does this mean for your business? Lots of breakfast coffee stops, order-in office lunches, and take-out dinners! But, keep in mind that because Millennials have so much experience with digital devices, they have high expectations when it comes to ordering for takeout or delivery. Ease-of-use, one-step checkout, rewards, and so forth are paramount. That leads us to the next ongoing trend, online ordering.

Online Meal Ordering

Ordering food online will continue to grow in 2019. Within the next 12 months, 45% of U.S. adults believe they will increase their online ordering, and two-thirds of Americans are already accustomed to this habit.

That being said, it’s important to note that 63% of Americans will give up on their online order if they are having a poor experience. This could be the app not functioning correctly, lack of ability to customize the order, or having questions/concerns that weren’t addressed by the app.

What does this mean for you as a restauranteur? Do your homework before signing up with a digital food ordering program. Make sure you have actually used the app yourself to order food online (check out its features and usability), talk to other users for their opinions, and get in contact with other restaurants who are signed up to see how their experiences have been.

One-Step Checkout and Mobile Payments

Although ordering online offers great convenience to consumers, the gold-star of convenience for them is not having to wait in line to pay for their food once they arrive at the restaurant for pick-up. One-step checkout (also known as mobile payment) is a very desirable feature for an online ordering platform.

Consider that no matter what the meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – a consumer is likely to be:

  • In a hurry to get to work in the morning
  • On their lunch break and in a hurry
  • Tired after work and in a hurry to get home

For this reason, your restaurant needs to look for an online ordering platform that supports one-step checkout.

In 2017, mobile payments for quick-service restaurants grew by 75%. Currently, 22% – 32% of restaurants accept mobile payments, but that number is expected to rise to 40% in 2019. You don’t want to be behind your competitors on providing this amenity.

Individualized Meals

Complementing the themes of quickness and convenience in online food ordering is the trend toward meal customization. Those who are avoiding certain ingredients or worried about their weight (America’s perpetual concern) want the ability to adjust portion sizes and ingredients. Also related to this are food ordering apps that can learn a consumer’s food preferences and make suggestions to them.

Individualized meals aren’t necessarily limited to a single person’s order, either. Some ordering food ordering apps allow businesses to improve on the traditional free lunch perk for employees, which is typically a food buffet, pizza, or food truck. These apps have a business-side feature that enable each worker to select their preferred meal from a restaurant’s menu and include it in the overall order.

If you want to pick up some of the lucrative office lunch business, you gotta have this feature!

Virtual Restaurants

You’ve been hearing about virtual (or ghost) restaurants, and it’s easy to see how well they fit with online food ordering apps by accepting online delivery and take-out orders. The virtual restaurant trend also neatly ties in with the concept of individualized meals.

Although a virtual restaurant might have a standard menu or specialization (for example, hamburgers), their lower cost of operations gives them unprecedented flexibility to experiment with meals as well as customize them and adjust portion sizes.

Furthermore, because these behind-the-scenes meal-makers can completely devote their kitchen staff to delivery and take-out meals, fulfilling orders faster than a traditional restaurant. This means they can potentially make more profit than a brick-and-mortar restaurant trying to balance in-house and take-out orders. They are also able to better handle large orders (such as the already mentioned office lunches) and catering events without experiencing the kitchen bottlenecks that are so irritating to consumers.

Although the virtual restaurant concept might seem threatening to walk-in restaurants, consider it a reason to branch out. Look for ways where you can streamline the operations for takeout/delivery orders. Make it simple and easy for consumers to get their food as quickly as possible.

Says Ryan Gromfin, Restaurant Consultant at The Restaurant Boss, “Online ordering and delivery is absolutely the future of restaurants. I am currently working with clients who are building entire secondary brands out of their current kitchen just for online delivery orders. People are busier than ever and while the brick and mortar restaurant will not go away anytime soon, the increased speed and affordability of having high-quality food delivered instead of cooking will continue to increase for some time.”

That’s our take on the ordering meals ahead trends for 2019. We hope you learned a little something and are ready for the new year!

Resources

https://rubygarage.org/blog/food-delivery-trends-2019
http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/04/11/millennials-largest-generation-us-labor-force/
https://learn.g2crowd.com/2019-restaurant-trends
https://restolabs.com/blog/social-media-and-trends/restaurant-industry-trends-help-you-kickstart-your-2019-strategy
https://pos.toasttab.com/restaurant-management/restaurant-technology-industry-report

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