How QSRs can adapt to the rise of pickup and takeout
As we enter a new decade, there is no better time to reflect on the significant changes the restaurant sector has experienced over the last few years. Today, we’re taking a look at Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), where customers’ expectations and the way in which they receive their orders could dictate a restaurant restructure and additional technological support.
It’s no surprise that the millennial market is a goldmine for QSRs, with 79% reporting that they regularly turn to restaurants for food. However, according to a consumer report by Technomic, 59% of restaurant orders from millennials are takeout or delivery.
This change in consumer behaviour can account for the significant rise in popularity of third-party delivery companies, but it would also seem many restaurants are missing a trick with the big potential of Buy-Online, Pickup-in-Store (BOPIS) business. In fact, more than this, failing to meet the expectations of this escalating trend, could see your restaurant suffer the consequences. Just last week, yet another of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants was placed into administration.
Restaurants are primarily designed for in-venue dining. Even those renowned for drive-thru services offer a weaker brand experience for their takeout customers, with pick-up taking place around the back of the premises, by the rubbish bins and with a process that goes little beyond forming a bumper to bumper queue (at least from the customer’s point of view). For the QSRs that operate a pickup service inside the restaurant, you might even find bags stacked up on the counter and a noisy queue of pickup customers compromising the experience of in-venue diners.
The reality is, QSRs need to be more customer-focused, and this needs to be based on a typical profile of a customer in 2020, not 2000.
It’s time for a rethink…
Prioritise customer experience
The clue is in the name. When a customer turns to a QSR, they want a quick service. The good news for QSRs is that they are highly desirable in today’s on-demand society, but with demand comes bottlenecking, which consequently leads to a slower service. According to JDA’s Consumer Survey Report 2018, there is a 69% adoption rate of BOPIS worldwide. This is a market worth catering for.
Invest in mobile ordering technology
If you operate a QSR, the chances are you already have mobile ordering in place, but can it facilitate the evolving needs of your business? Digital innovation is a necessity in today’s QSR, but that’s what we’re here for. Investing in an online digital ordering platform like wi-Q is a cost-effective solution to meet both your business goals and customers’ needs. Delivered in return of a small monthly SaaS fee, wi-Q’s mobile ordering seamlessly integrates with your existing POS systems and acts as a gateway to future technological developments and integration partners.
Customers can simply order from their own mobile device through wi-Q online via your website or a QR code, without having to download an app. From here they can place an order, make payment and arrange for pickup in just a few keystrokes. Orders can be managed by you via wi-Q’s easy-to-use management dashboard, facilitating real-time updates and notifications for complete operational efficiency and end-to-end customer experience.
Keep your ordering technology online – not app-based
Apps are inconvenient for your customers, taking time to download and using up precious storage space on their device. Not only does a cloud-based, online solution like wi-Q negate hefty CAPEX development costs, but its integration capabilities are endless. BOPIS is a growing trend – early adopters are already seeking new ways to enhance operations, such as real-time GPS tracking to estimate customers’ arrival times. Having a web-based mobile ordering solution future proofs the capabilities of your pickup service.
Avoid losing commission to third party delivery
Order-for-pickup is growing four times faster than delivery for QSRs (57% CAGR vs 13% CAGR). This is great news for QSRs looking to counter the rising popularity of third-party delivery companies. Customers want to come directly to you, so by employing an effective BOPIS strategy, you can omit third party fees and even reinvest them in enhancing your brand experience for your takeout customers.
Review restaurant design
If you’re going to implement an effective BOPIS strategy, you need to do so without impacting the experience of your dine-in customers. Front of house, you need clear signage, dedicated pickup lines, or better yet, a designated area, and a system that optimises traffic flow to prevent overcrowding at the counter. Kitchen processes will also need assessing to support your staff as well as efficient order storage solutions. You may need to consider investing in insulated bags. Of course, the more effective your mobile ordering communications are with your customers, the less pressure there will be on your storage facilities.
For more information on wi-Q or to find out how we can help you focus your attention on your customers’ order-ahead expectations, please get in touch with a member of our team.