Borrowing from the strategy of fast food restaurants, Dine Brands is working on a new order-ahead technology. Through an app, diners can order their food ahead of time before dining in and then pay their bill electronically, the New York Post reported.
“It’s like converting casual dining to fast food,” Dine Brands CEO Stephen Joyce told The Post.
Dine Brands, which oversees IHOP and Applebee’s Grill & Bar, is developing and experimenting with the technology, as same-store sales at Applebee’s locations in the U.S. have declined over in the last two years. By adding technology, restaurants such as Applebee’s hope to increase spending and bring in younger customers. At QSRs such as McDonald’s, for example, electronic kiosks take orders and payments from customers. Experts say that diners’ spending is higher when they order from an app, tabletop device or kiosk.
McDonald’s is far from the only QSR turning to alternative ordering methods. According to PYMNTS’ Kiosk and Retail Report, a USA Technologies collaboration, the U.S. interactive kiosk market was worth $717 million in 2016, the most recent year for which data was available. Thirty percent of those kiosks were in the food and beverage market, making it the country’s largest kiosk category.
Overall, revenue from “intelligent vending machines” is projected to reach almost $12 billion by 2025, noted the report. However, perhaps the most important number for McDonald’s is this: One study showed that fast food customers spend an average of 30 percent more when they place their own orders at a self-service kiosk station. In the face of flagging foot traffic, McDonald’s could definitely use the sales and revenue boost from larger tickets.
“We’re introducing many options,” McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook has said. “[Customers] can order through mobile, they can come curbside and we’ll run it out, as well as the existing traditional ways. You can pay in different ways and customize your food in different ways.”