More consumers now place food orders via smartphone app

Over half (59%) of consumers now place food orders online using their smartphones whilst 51% place orders in person.

A whopping 79% said they placed an order for food using a restaurant app or website over the last year, according to a report from the National Restaurant Association and Technomic.

Sixty percent said they used a third-party delivery service such as DoorDash or Grubhub to order food online.

Apps are useful for customers because they allow them to customise their orders (35%) and make for speedier delivery (35%). A third (33%) of users also criticised that many of the restaurants they ordered from did not have their own ordering sites.

The top features customers would like to see include alerts when food orders have left a restaurant, the ability to track an order, ordering ahead of time and mobile payment integration.

But there’s a clear disconnect between what consumers want and what operators offer. For example, 56% of consumers place orders online, but only 45% of operators offer the option. Another 43% use apps to order, but just 18% of restaurants have their own app.

Meanwhile, restaurants are bolstering their takeout options with 52% of operators remodelling their off-premise services to include in-store kiosks and to-go counters.

Half are also adding technology for internal use to make payment processing easier.

Operators who were making use of technology said that location intelligence to target new customers had a positive impact on their business (50%), followed by geofencing technologies to notify them when a user was close by (45%) and voice ordering (44%).

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