Five Ways QSRs Are Encouraging Diners To Skip Lines And Order Ahead

To encourage diners to skip the line and order ahead, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have offered their customers rewards, discounts and other incentives. Their aim is to help turn one-time buyers into return customers and encourage them to spend more at their restaurants — and visit more often.

Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, for instance, has seen its online and to-go orders increase by 200 percent over the past three years. According to the PYMNTS Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker, the company seeks to maintain its momentum through a way to reward orders made through its mobile app (and in its stores.) The company also planned to make order pickup more streamlined by redesigning its locations.

Reward points and discounts aren’t the only tool in the QSR playbook: The tracker found that many companies in the industry are looking to increase the convenience and security of their mobile-order ahead services. These are just some of the ways that QSRs have recently sought to reinvent their mobile and online ordering experiences to encourage diners skip the line and order ahead:

The total number of U.K. Papa John’s locations that will support a new mobile ordering app is said to be 400. In November, Papa John’s said that it rolled out a new mobile app. The offering allowed customers to place orders for delivery or pickup and save particular items as favorites. In addition, the app enabled customers to track and use their Papa Rewards points. Papa John’s Senior Manager for Digital Product Neil Swanston said at the time, “Online orders have increased dramatically in the past few years. It is now important to ‘be where our customers are’ and so better mobile access means we are now more open for business than ever before.”

The expected share of digitally placed restaurant sales over the next four years is 25 percent. In 2018, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® brought mobile order-ahead to its app. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® Senior Vice President of Operations Aidan Hay said in a press release at the time, “When people want coffee or tea, they want it now and we want their orders to be ready when they are.” The feature from the coffee chain, however, wasn’t only for customers who wanted to order their cup of joe from afar. That is, it was reported at the time that the app integrated with Uber to enable customers to tap a button in the app to request a ride to the company’s nearest shop.

The total number of WeWork locations to offer sweetgreen mobile order pickup is reported to be 50. With the offering, members could place an order with Sweetgreen and then select a location of WeWork where they want to pick it up. The companies worked to offer the collaboration is in seven cities — New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Washington, DC, per a November report. WeWork President and CFO Artie Minson said, according to the report at the time, “Together, we are bringing Sweetgreen’s offerings directly to thousands of WeWork members and employees while leveraging WeWork’s platform to support Sweetgreen’s continued scale.”

The share of male Grubhub users who placed at least one mobile order per week was 59 percent in 2018. Only 36 percent of women, however had the same order frequency. The news comes as Grubhub saw a 67 percent year-over-year increase in active diners in the third quarter. In October, the online food delivery service released its earnings for the quarter and said it had 16.4 million diners during that period. And Grubhub CEO Matthew Maloney told analysts during the Q3 results conference call that the company “added more new restaurants to our network in the third quarter than any other quarter in the history of Grubhub.” Grubhub served some 180 delivery markets at the time and had plans to have 200 in all by the end of 2018.

One million mobile dining orders have been placed at Disney World since the offering’s May 2017 launch. The service is available through the App Store for iOs devices and Google Play for Android. According to a Disney blog post in November, customers can use the offering at over 20 locations for quick-service dining at Disney California Adventure park and Disneyland park. The entertainment company said in the post,The mobile order service has provided guests … with the convenience and flexibility of ordering hours or even minutes in advance from wherever they happen to be — whether waiting in line at an attraction, on the monorail headed to the parks or even upon their arrival at the restaurant.”

Even with the latest forward-thinking features, consumers may not be won over by a QSRs order pickup solutions. Going forward, QSRs need to leverage security features — like monitoring app activity — as they head into the future to keep consumers tapping into their apps.