Mobile Makes it Easier to Order — and Spend — at Restaurants

Restaurants that use tablets for orders, often see more orders of desserts and appetizers — and dessert orders tend to have more coffees.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Restaurant chains are making it easier to order food with a few taps of the screen. And with the convenience of Mobile Apps, Consumers may lose sight of how much you’re spending !  From the restaurant perspective, digital ordering also lets them better track spending habits – with the ability to increasingly personalized offers and make it easier to find more of the things people want to attract patrons. 

DOMINO’S

About 60 % of Domino’s orders now come through the chain’s website, app and other digital channels. And people tend to order more online than over the phone, said Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre — likely because they can browse the menu and take their time deciding. That can result in people getting another pizza topping, or adding sides.  “They tend to upsell themselves,” McIntyre said of online customers.  Domino’s also has prompts during the ordering process. Once a pizza is ordered, for instance, people might be asked if they want to “cheese it up,” or add drinks near checkout. Employees taking orders by phone are also encouraged to suggest extras — a tactic known as “upselling” or “suggestive selling.”  In conjunction with this,  McIntyre said that while human attempts aren’t as consistent because  the computer never feels rushed or takes rejection personally !

CHILI’S / OLIVE GARDEN

A similar effect has been noticed with tabletop tablets being used at some Chili’s and Olive Garden sit-down restaurants, which let people order food and pay for their meals, can have a similar effect.  And since Customers are prompted with – “Do you want to add coffee to that?”, it’s easy to extend the order.  As a result, restaurants that use tablets for orders, often see more orders of desserts and appetizers – and dessert orders tend to have more coffees.  As well, restaurants having tablets enable people to use them for ordering appetizers, desserts and drinks.  However, with entrees, it’s better for a server to collaborate with Customers to clarify things, make suggestions, make things more social, etc. 

In addition to the above, Chili’s has cited benefits with mobile, including the collection of customer spending data.  The devices also generate money from games that people can play while waiting.  That revenue more than offsets the cost of the devices in most cases.

STARBUCKS / PANERA

Starbucks is pushing into more personalized offers for loyalty members and Mobile App users – including the recent rollout of “real-time” suggestions based on past purchases for people ordering ahead on their smartphones. The company says the efforts are yielding positive results, with spending by loyalty members up by 8 % in the latest quarter.  “We think that the steps we’ve taken regarding personalization are a driver of that,” spokeswoman Maggie Jantzen said.  The company has also been turning the acquisition of reward points into games. That includes ones like Starbucks Bingo that reward members for making particular purchases.

Panera’s Loyalty Program also incorporates members’ past purchases. Unlike in most programs, Panera loyalty members do not know when they’ll get their next reward, or what it will be. Blaine Hurst, Panera’s president, said customers can be placed into one of “thousands” of rewards tracks based on their spending habits. If their spending habits change, they can shift into different tracks.  And the methodology is expected to get more sophisticated. Hurst said as companies collect data on customer spending habits, they will find new ways to use that information to increase appeal with Customers and to improve business outcomes.

 

May 15, 2017       CAIL           …. from Mobile Industry commentary