QSRs have become major investors in mobile apps, study finds

The restaurant industry is being shaped by innovations in technology at a meteoric speed. Augmented Reality, Facial Recognition, Artificial Intelligence, Voice Assistant Technology — these are just some of the high-tech concepts shaping the future of the restaurant business and there’s definitely more in the making. With the pace at which these are being rolled out, it’s understandable if restaurant owners are thrown off balance initially.

But this is certainly one of the most exciting times to be in the restaurant business, and the quicker one adopts the perks offered by technology, the better their chances of staying ahead of the curve in this fiercely competitive market.

Today consumers’ demographics and lifestyles are also witnessing a dynamic change. They’re more empowered than ever before, thanks again to disruptions in technology. This trend is obviously driven by the millennials or the so-called ‘digital socialites’ who both have a penchant for technology and the urge to spend more on food (just over 17% of their earnings) than other age groups.

However, restaurants also have to think beyond the millennials and a little further into the future, as Generation Z, who spends about 10 hours consuming online content every day, is set to mature. Recent research has concluded that 90% of their mobile time is spent tossing between apps, and only 10% browse the internet.

More and more consumers are utilizing mobile technology for their dining experience. Mobile devices are being used ubiquitously for exploring, ordering, paying and sharing their overall food experiences. In fact, just a few months from now (in 20202) mobile ordering is expected to become a $38billion industry.

But why the shift?

The reason is simple, consumers prefer apps over mobile sites due to ease of access, enhanced user experience, better speed, extra features, and special offers. When such technology is used to place orders, customers tend to spend an average of 20 percent more.

To keep customers engaged and loyal, QSRs are making all the efforts and reinforcing strategies to expand in the mobile-economy. In other words, expect it to develop fastest in the fast-food sector, with smaller, independent restaurants geared towards establishing a strong and rewarding connection between them and the customers on the go.

The indispensability of Mobile Ordering for restaurants

QSRs or Quick Service Restaurants understand this change very well and have been early adopters of Online Ordering Technology. From 2016 to 2019, QSRs like McDonald's, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have achieved impressive penetration, driving volume through their points of sale. 13% of all Starbucks orders came via mobile app in 2018. Nearly 17 million people are currently using Starbucks’ mobile app.

Dunkin’ is another great example of creating a robust system to enable mobile orders. By optimizing their app, they were able to use customer feedback to drive product-related decisions.

Needless to say, among the many emerging advancements, mobile ordering for restaurants is undoubtedly at the top of the pecking order at the moment. Food delivery is projected to grow more than three times the rate of on-premises sales between 2018 and 2023, with digital orders spearheading this expansion.

There are several advantages of having your own branded mobile app for online ordering, maximalism, and convenience being one of the firsts. Read more about the dynamics of mobile app for online food ordering here.

Staying on the cutting edge

From Starbucks to McDonald's, QSRs have demonstrated the ability to stay on top of the latest mobile ordering technology. Such innovations play a key role in digital acceleration, delivering speed, convenience, speed, and savings to customers in meaningful ways.

QSRs are looking to further integrate in-person and digital customer experiences. They are continuously developing innovative new strategies to tie the two worlds together. Mobile ordering has become a must-have entity for restaurants, as it improves the ordering process, increases customer delight, and further adds to the bottom line.

In 2020 and beyond, mobile ordering will continue to proliferate among QSRs — enabling restaurants to reach a larger number and a wider range of customers.

What’s more, today’s networking technology is open and API-friendly — a change that ensures affordability. QSRs can easily integrate newer technologies.

In building a foundation of convenience and affordability, QSRs must ensure the technology partner they choose will provide benefits both today and tomorrow.

The Future of Branded Mobile Apps for Online Ordering

According to Business Insider’s report, the number of orders being placed via mobile apps skyrocketed by 50% in US restaurants in 2017. In the same report it has been predicted that by 2020, the mobile ordering trend will account for 10.7% of QSRs sales.

The proof that the technology is working is evident.

Given the statistics rolling out in the market, experts predict that online food ordering will make up 90% of sales within the next 10 years. Diners are increasingly choosing to order in for all their meals from breakfast, lunch to dinner. In fact, the delivery of breakfast rose to 13% between 2012 and 2017 and is only going to grow.

“Restaurant owners understand the need for setting up mobile ordering systems of their own. They have already begun to capitalize on this technology”, says Bharti Batra, Founder of Restolabs, an online food ordering system for restaurants.

“A mobile ordering facility is not merely a trend, but an imperative business attribute, that will play a marked role in defining the success of a restaurant”, she adds.

Looking ahead, successful QSR apps will continue to innovate to find ways to elevate and transform the customer experience. Since the technology is still in its early stages, any company that offers it now is ahead of the game.

Writer | Digital Marketer | Entrepreneur. Good food and a Good Book keep me sane!