Restaurants’ Digital Transformation Hits a Snag


As more of consumers’ daily routines are transformed by digital technologies, the restaurant industry’s digitization is actually taking a step back, PYMNTS Intelligence reveals.

By the Numbers

PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “How the World Does Digital: Daily Digital Engagement Hits New Heights” drew from a survey of more than 17,500 consumers in 11 markets that account for 50% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) to understand how they engage digitally across the 10 broader pillars of the ConnectedEconomy™.

The study found that, as digital engagement overall grew 2.4% year over year, the restaurants category was the only one of the 10 where digital engagement took a step backwards, dropping 0.1%.

The Data in Context

Some restaurants brands are feeling this shift more than others. Chipotle, for example, has seen a shift away from its eCommerce channels. The fast-casual giant shared in its third quarter earnings results reported Thursday (Oct. 26) that digital channels accounted for slightly less than 37% of food and beverage revenue in the three-month, down from 38% the previous quarter and 39% in Q1. 

Meanwhile, McDonald’s has been seeing its digital engagement on the rise. The quick-service restaurant behemoth noted on a call with analysts Monday (Oct. 30) discussing its third-quarter earnings results that, in its six top markets, its loyalty membership base grew to 57 million. This figure marks an increase of 5 million from the restaurant’s previous earnings report

“We’re learning when [customers] visit, how they visit and what they buy, with more and more of our sales coming through identified channels than ever before,” McDonald’s Chief Financial Officer Ian Borden said on the call. “By continuing to elevate the McDonald’s digital experience, our customers feel more connected to the brand, driving those incremental visits that we believe would otherwise go uncaptured, and it gives us more ways to reunite with customers who haven’t visited us in a while.”