Meteoric mobile order-ahead (MOA) growth continues to be a dominant trend coming out of the COVID era, and while it’s still fun, mobile food needs to keep evolving to stay fresh.
The PYMNTS August/September 2020 Order To Eat Tracker® done in collaboration with Paytronix looks at how restaurant operations are turning to digital menu management tools to keep offerings dynamic and orders flowing during a time of reopening and reinvention.
Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) “offering delivery and carryout services are working hard to differentiate their products and menu offerings from their competitors’, providing diverse assortments of items and leveraging numerous digital ordering channels to get consumers’ attentions,” per the new Tracker.
“Managing these expanded offerings and ordering options without boosting inventory and management costs can be challenging, however.” The new Order To Eat Tracker® presents a full portrait of the importance of keeping food interesting for delivery consumers.
Personalization At Scale
Food ordering habits shifted pretty wildly during the first half, as on-the-fly innovations like contactless delivery and curbside pickup appeared, making commerce work. It’s less enjoyable, however, for the restaurants that must accommodate new workflows and consumer whims.
Order management systems are making sense of these new restaurant realities by digitally organizing and consolidating processes for a tastier multichannel dining experience.
“At its most basic, menu management helps ensure that orders get filled in a timely manner. You can’t sell something if you’ve run short or if a shipment didn’t arrive that morning. But beyond the basics, menu management aids in guiding consumer behavior,” Tim Ridgely, head of order and delivery at Paytronix, told PYMNTS.
Ridgely added, “Many of our customers have menu items that are only available through a specific channel or in a specific setting. It may be a limited offer or a specialty item that can only be purchased through the app. Ideally, once it gets to the kitchen, an order looks identical no matter the channel in which it came in.”
The front-end consumer experience is certainly improved by menu management and streamlined MOA experiences. Moreover, restaurant operators are more able to keep engagement high and loyalty locked in with smarter point-of-sale (POS) options.
“[Delivery] and takeout services — operated mainly through digital channels — are just as crowded as they were in the traditional brick-and-mortar food space … meaning QSRs need to quickly differentiate their products from others’,” per the OTE Tracker.
“One way to accomplish this is by showcasing novel and diverse food items to entice new and existing customers, but restaurants must use cutting-edge POS systems that can smoothly handle expanding digital order volumes to do so without facing ballooning inventory and upkeep costs.”
As restaurants tend to operate on profit margins between 3 percent and 5 percent, making the right move now is vital as physical and digital presences slowly coalesce.