Customers To Restaurants And Tech Companies: Please, Just Make Ordering Easier

In terms of importance, 71 percent of diners say that ease of ordering and payment win out over discounts, drive-thru, and wifi access, according to a survey by Boston Retail Partners..

When it comes to restaurants and technology offerings, it’s the simple things that mean the most to patrons.

Consider a June survey by Boston Retail Partners (cited by eMarketer) that asked QSR and fast-casual customers what is “important” in terms of their dining experience. In turn, restaurant managers were asked what they were “executing well” on.

Ease of payment is the most important factor now, as 71 percent of consumers citing that feature. Asked to look ahead two years, 81 percent that ease of payment will be the most important factor, suggesting that eaters are prepared to give restaurants some time to get things right.

But consumers’ patience is already being test in that area, as 45 percent of restaurant operators said they had “excellent” execution of easy payment and ordering options.

And while 63 percent of consumers say discounts and promotions are important, followed by 56 percent who point to drive-thru availability as crucial, little things like wifi access are becoming a higher demand.

Two of the biggest jumps in consumer expectation between now and 2020 will be the ability to order ahead digitally (a 55 percent increase) and wifi availability (up 59 percent).

Availability of guest wifi was cited by 70 percent of consumers as a key factor in deciding where to dine, eMarketer’s Krista Garcia writes in her analysis of the BRR survey. “Wifi was rated the top technology that has had a positive impact on the dining experience, higher than tech that would seemingly be more difficult to implement like tableside ordering devices or mobile payment apps,” Garcia notes.

Restaurant managers appear to be listening: By 2020, 86 percent of restaurant operators expect to provide wifi access to their diners.

In addition to offering wifi as an engagement tool that makes it likely customers will share photos more readily on social media channels, wifi also provides a direct path to digital payment.

“Why is it so important that restaurants get up to speed on digital offerings when dining is such an offline experience?” Garcia asks. “BRP estimated that just 6 percent of US restaurant sales came through digital channels in 2017. But that figure is forecast to increase to 13 percent in 2020 and grow to 30 percent by 2025.”

And a better experience means that consumers are also likely to spend more, as BRP found that the presence of digital pay options results in an estimated 20 percent rise in average guest spend, with bigger gains coming from Millennials (26 percent) and Gen Z (22 percent).

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.