As the pandemic and subsequent stay-at-home orders slashed consumer spending and shuttered in-person dining, restaurant revenues took a substantial hit, especially at full-service eateries.
And even as dining has reopened nationwide, ongoing capacity restrictions and consumer wariness have kept customers home and left engagement down by double digits. As restaurants continue to struggle to earn revenues, they’ve been forced to adapt their operations in order to keep their doors open.
Implementing digital technology has become the core tool restaurants are using to stay afloat. The sector was already on the rise prior to the pandemic, especially at quick-service restaurants (QSRs): We expected mobile order-ahead annual sales volume would hit $31 billion this year.
But the pandemic pushed restaurants to expand their usage of the technology for pickup, delivery, and even in-person dining, bringing penetration to levels not expected until 2023. And as ecommerce remains prominent across the board and the long-stretching pandemic cements newfound habits, the trend is likely here to stay.
Payment facilitators, like point-of-sale providers, are exceptionally well-positioned to help restaurant clients digitize because of their ability to resolve pain points related to cost, interoperability, and data security. Developing and marketing the technology to restaurants represents an opportunity for these providers to not only acquire clients and tighten relationships with them, but also bring in new volume and fee-based revenues.
In this report, Insider Intelligence scopes the digital ordering opportunity and explains why it is ripe for payments providers if they work to seize the current momentum in the space. We will size the market for digital restaurant ordering, identify the core channels and technologies that providers looking to help restaurants digitize can use, and hone in on pain points. Finally, we will highlight key priorities and best practices that players can focus on in order to win a piece of the pie.
The companies mentioned in this report include: Aloha POS, Burger King, Caviar, Chipotle, Chowly, Clover, DoorDash, Fiserv, Google, Grubhub, iZettle, Jimmy John’s, Landry’s, Lightspeed, Mastercard, McDonald’s, NCR, Panera Bread, PayPal, Postmates, Shake Shack, Signature Systems, Square, Starbucks, Thanx, Toast, TouchBistro, Uber Eats, and Vend.
Here are some key takeaways from the report:
- Prior to the pandemic, 62% of US adults ordered food online at least monthly. Now, new customers are adopting the technology, and engagement is growing: Over three-quarters (78%) maintained or even increased the frequency with which they’re ordering.
- Diners continue to replace dining out with online ordering, even at full-service restaurants, with 80% of US survey respondents ordering meals for off-premises consumption in July — up from 69% in May.
- Restaurants are implementing digital technology for order-ahead, takeout, and delivery, but it is becoming increasingly popular for in-person dining, through innovations like kiosks, QR code menus, and pay-at-table tablets, in order to bring customers back into restaurants.
- Restaurants can build their own digital ordering systems, turn to a third party like Grubhub, or leverage offerings and integrations from payments players they already work with. Because in-house development isn’t an option for most eateries and third-party offerings run on expensive commissions, first-party payments providers have a unique opportunity to build a one-stop shop that serves as a hub for digital ordering across channels.
In full, the report:
- Sizes up the digital ordering market and evaluates the extent to which the pandemic has accelerated growth
- Identifies the core factors that will help shape a lasting change in the digital ordering market
- Explains the key channels and technologies that restaurants can use to digitize operations, and the pain points that stop restaurants from digitization
- Examines why payments providers are best-positioned to capitalize on the shift, and how they can use mobile ordering growth to acquire clients, tighten seller relationships, and bring in volume
- Explores three core strategies — enhancing safety, cutting cost, and improving efficiency—that payments providers can use in order to attract restaurants to their offerings
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