The 5 Features Top-Performing Restaurants Leverage to Drive Loyalty, Sales

In the past few years, the restaurant industry has changed dramatically, and eateries that do not meet consumers’ new expectations risk falling behind. Tech and fulfillment features go a long way towards driving sales and separating top-performing restaurants from the rest of the pack.

Research from PYMNTS’ 2022 Restaurant Friction Index, created in collaboration with Paytronix, which drew from a survey of more than 500 managers of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and full-service restaurants (FSRs) across the United States, identified the factors that separated the top 30 restaurants that participated from the rest.

See also: Loyalty Programs Best Way to Get Diners to Spend More

Digital Ordering for In-Store Pickup

The study found that all 30 top-performing restaurants offered the option to order online through a website and/or mobile app and collect their order in the store. In contrast, only 10 of the bottom-performing restaurants offered the same.

Additionally, according to data from PYMNTS’ April study “The Digital Divide: The Key Factors That Drive Restaurant Choice,” also created in collaboration with Paytronix, pickup options are a major factor for nearly half of all consumers when deciding between restaurants. The study, which drew from a survey of more than 2,600 U.S. adults, found that 47% of restaurant customers cite convenient pickup options as an important factor influencing their choice, and 19% rank these as the single most important factor.

Read more: From Outdoor Seating to Touchless Payments, Dining Habits Are Changing

Digital Ordering for In-Store Payment

Even when restaurants do not provide consumers with the ability to pay online, the digital ordering features can go a long way; many restaurant customers are willing to pay when they get to the store. The Restaurant Friction Index study found that top performers were more than six times as likely as bottom performers to offer the ability to order online and pay in stores, with 43% of the former and 7% of the latter providing the option.

Saved Payment Methods

The study also found that top performers were nearly twice as likely as bottom performers to offer the possibility for a customer to save their payment method for future purchases, with almost all of the former and just about half of the latter presenting the option.

Digital Wallet Payment Options

Of course, saved payment methods are not the only low-friction options—digital wallet acceptance can also go a long way. The study found that the same share of top and bottom performers offered digital wallet payment capabilities as saved payment methods.

“Consumers aren’t just constrained to food ordering for eCommerce. They’re also using platforms like Shop Pay. They’re also using,” Olo CEO Noah Glass noted in a February interview with PYMNTS. “They’re used to having frictionless payment experiences.”

Related news: Olo CEO: Removing Payment Friction Equips Restaurants to Compete With Aggregators

Check-Splitting Capabilities

One feature that can go a surprisingly long way for restaurants is enabling consumers to pay separately when they order as a group. The study found that 77% of top-performing restaurants offer splitting capabilities, while only 27% of bottom performers do the same.