Mobile ordering started when famous global food chains, such as Taco Bell, Starbucks, and McDonald’s, offered their customers mobile ordering apps. The demand for the service increased exponentially during the pandemic, as people were left with no other choice than to order in. However, what started as a necessity became a convenience. Mobile ordering is no longer a trend, but a new standard that every restaurant owner or food delivery service must embrace to grow their business in the highly competitive food market.
Now that even small food businesses have developed their mobile apps to make order-ahead options available for customers, the question is, is it right for every business? If yes, which mobile ordering system should you choose? What are its advantages? We’ve answered each question in detail below. But, first, let’s start with the meaning and features of mobile ordering apps.
What is Mobile Ordering?
The stats for the online food delivery business seems promising. The digital food delivery business is projected to grow into a $365 billion industry by 2023. Mobile ordering is when restaurants, cafes, and food businesses accept orders from a distance, accept online payments, and have the product delivered to the customer’s address or the nearby pickup point. Usually, they create a restaurant app or a website where the customers can browse the food in stock, place an order, make the payment, and enter their address.
The restaurant owner can start preparation once they get the order. Mobile ordering isn’t just a way to expand your restaurant or food delivery operations beyond geographical boundaries, but it offers actionable insights into your customers’ favorites, their buying patterns, etc. This allows you to customize your feed and customers’ shopping journey based on their individual preferences and search history.
Moreover, you can tap into some exciting in-app features, like loyalty programs. Offering your loyal customers a discount on their next purchases can build their trust in your business. Likewise, offering a system where they can rack up their reward points through repeat purchases can help maximize your revenues. There are many such features that can help grow your restaurant business.
Benefits of Mobile Ordering
With a vast majority of the population using mobile phones, they will want to order from a restaurant that has a mobile-friendly website and a neat homepage with seamless navigation. Nothing is more convenient for your customers than ordering food from their sofas and having it delivered to their doorsteps within a few minutes. Here are some perks of mobile ordering for restaurants and food businesses.
Customers prefer online ordering when they are not in the mood for eating at a restaurant. Standing in long queues or waiting at the restaurant for the order to arrive can get pretty challenging. They can easily place food orders in the middle of the road or while lying on a sofa. Convenience is the biggest advantage of mobile ordering, from a customer’s perspective. It’s obvious that your customer will choose convenience first. They will switch to your competitors if you don’t already have a mobile app or a mobile-friendly website where they can select food and order it from home.
Get New Customers
The convenience of using mobile apps for food ordering enhances your customers’ buying experience and brings new traffic to your restaurant website. It also encourages your customers to download your mobile app and use it frequently to keep up-to-date with the latest offers, discounts, and exciting deals.
You can use mouth-watering food pictures and offer a hefty sign-up bonus with an exciting range of rewards to build your customer’s trust in your brand and attract their attention.
Build a Loyal Customer Base
The main purpose of using mobile ordering is to build a loyal customer base. A one-time purchase is okay, but if you want to maximize your revenues, you need to engage your audience such that they become your regular customers. The loyalty programs, gamification system, and reward-based features can help encourage your customers to order frequently on your website.
For instance, you can keep a reward system where for every purchase your customer makes, they will earn a couple of rewards. Once they reach a certain level, they can redeem those points for a free meal. This builds your customer engagement and helps you get more business from each customer.
Offer Personalized Experience
AI-powered restaurant apps can generate powerful insights that help restaurant owners provide personalized experiences to each customer. AI and machine learning enables businesses to track their customers’ buying journey, search history, recent purchases, and foods they might like. It creates a personalized experience by displaying the product list based on customers’ interests. For instance, if a customer has recently bought a full cheese pizza and white sauce pasta, it suggests that they like Italian food. So, you can recommend more such meals from your menu.
Encourage More Orders
Customers don’t enjoy the privacy at a restaurant that they do at home or the workplace. They can scroll your menu until they are ready to place an order. There’s a good chance they will order bigger when they get to browse your menu in peace. You can also display the “recommended” food or “customers also buy” to encourage your customers to add more products to their cart. In fact, many restaurants offer discounts on the recommended products. That’s a great marketing strategy for restaurants that want to grow their business.
Get Sufficient Time
You may have seen the waiters serving the wrong meals or foods that you didn’t order at a restaurant. There are fewer cases of order mix-ups with mobile ordering. Since your staff get enough time to check the order list and prepare the order, there’s a very good chance you will deliver what’s ordered.
Opportunity to Expand
People dining at a restaurant are mostly those from the neighborhood or the nearby area. You won’t get customers coming from an area 10 kilometers away from your restaurant unless it’s a holiday or a special occasion. This limits your growth opportunity.
Mobile ordering enables businesses to cover a larger area, making it possible to reach out to a wider audience and cover broader markets. People feel comfortable ordering food from a restaurant located 10-20 kilometers away from their location, as long as they get the delivery at home. They are also willing to pay a few dollars extra for the convenience. This creates an opportunity for businesses to expand beyond a specific area and reach an audience based in different parts of the city.
How Do You Select Mobile Ordering Systems?
You can partner with third-party websites, like Uber and Zomato, or create your own restaurant website from scratch. You can also build a mobile app that’s easy and convenient to sign into when your customers want to place an order. With mobile apps and websites, you get to choose the features you’d like to add to your online restaurant system. Here’s what to consider when choosing a suitable mobile ordering system for your food business.
Cost and Time: Mobile ordering makes sense when you are planning to cover a wider market. Consider it only if your ROI from the app seems to be greater than the cost of building and running the app. In addition, time matters. How long will it take to build a restaurant app from scratch or use the clone script? If you don’t already have a restaurant website, you wouldn’t want to wait another 2-3 years to have it up and running on the internet. It’s best to list your restaurant on Uber and other online food business marketplaces until you have your own website.
Employee Training: Mobile ordering system is for businesses that have employees trained to use the restaurant apps and features. You will have digital menus, customers ordering food on your website, and online payment options. There are tons of other features that your employees will use to streamline order delivery. Ask your employees if they are comfortable using mobile ordering and which option they prefer the most.
Mobile Ordering System Developer: You need to work with a tech-savvy mobile app developer or website designer who can get your restaurant business on the internet. You may also need to install a restaurant point-of-sale system for orders and payments. Remember, mobile ordering shouldn’t be just for home delivery, but your customers must be able to reserve the seats in advance at your restaurant. Based on your needs you can choose a restaurant software that has built-in restaurant management features.
Mobile ordering is becoming more of a necessity and less of a nice-to-have addition. When managed well, it can help your business reach new heights. You can expand your operations beyond the local boundaries and get more new customers. From building a loyal customer base to attracting new customers, the right mobile ordering system is the best solution for business growth. Hope this post answers your question. It’s safe to say that every restaurant or food business needs mobile ordering to survive the competitive food market.