Online Food Orderers Going Mobile

by | 2 minute read

Restau­rants seek­ing growth oppor­tu­ni­ties in the still-stagnant din­ing out mar­ket should check out the mobile food order­ing crowd. Ear­li­er this year, in a QSR­Web post, Ali­cia Kel­so cit­ed some astound­ing sta­tis­tics about online food order­ing. The data came from Eat­Street and was pre­sent­ed to the Nation­al Restau­rant Asso­ci­a­tion.

Younger con­sumers have a well-earned rep­u­ta­tion for being fas­ci­nat­ed by food. They snap self­ies as they sit in front of a favorite meal, watch cook­ing shows on TV, and insist on local ingre­di­ents. These con­sumers are also the ones dri­ving the online food order­ing boom, espe­cial­ly the mobile boom. About 25% of dig­i­tal food orders are com­ing from mobile devices. Researchers say the trend is espe­cial­ly preva­lent in the sand­wich sec­tor.

Restau­rants are scram­bling to ramp up their online offer­ings to keep their dig­i­tal clients sat­is­fied. Ana­lysts rec­om­mend the fol­low­ing as key strate­gies:

  • Loy­al­ty and re-engagement: Oper­a­tors that offer some kind of loy­al­ty ben­e­fit can count on up to a 20% increase in vis­it fre­quen­cy and a 7% increase in meal val­ue.
  • Social media: Younger con­sumers appre­ci­ate see­ing deals for local oper­a­tors on their social net­works. A pro­mo­tion on Face­book could attract new patrons who are eager for an online food order­ing expe­ri­ence.
  • Deliv­ery: Con­sumers aren’t just inter­est­ed in online food order­ing. They’re also appre­cia­tive of online deliv­ery options. More restau­rants are part­ner­ing with deliv­ery oper­a­tors. These part­ner­ships are anoth­er way to get exposed to con­sumers who like to order food.

Ana­lysts point out that opti­miz­ing online order­ing fea­tures works to a restaurant’s ben­e­fit in sev­er­al ways. Staff mem­bers remain more effi­cient with­out phone dis­trac­tions.  Order-filling accu­ra­cy improves. And, research also shows that an “online cus­tomer is more like­ly to re-order with­in 60 days than a walk-in cus­tomer, sim­ply because the plat­form is more acces­si­ble.”

In the last 30 days, 21% of all U.S. adults have ordered food online. And, 15.9% of adults have ordered using their mobile devices accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN. These con­sumers are not averse to eat­ing out. For exam­ple, 38% cel­e­brate Mother’s Day by din­ing out, a rate which is 48% high­er than aver­age. And online food order­ers appear to be seri­ous about going mobile. In the next year, 41% of these audi­ence mem­bers intend to upgrade their smart­phone, a rate that is much high­er than aver­age.  Restau­rants with active pro­mo­tion, should tar­get this audi­ence by using mobile smart­phone apps or text mes­sages. At least 26% of online food order­ers have respond­ed to these pro­mo­tions in the past month.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able as part of a sub­scrip­tion to AdMall for Agen­cies. Media com­pa­nies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­ence Intel­li­gence Reports in AdMall.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice Pres­i­dent of Research for Sales­Fu­el. She holds a Mas­ters in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ver­mont and over­sees a staff of researchers, writ­ers and con­tent providers for Sales­Fu­el. Pre­vi­ous­ly, she was co-owner of sev­er­al small busi­ness­es in the health care ser­vices sec­tor.