— By Zayn King-Dollie —
Utilizing mobile ordering and building design to capitalize on takeout trends.
Last year, The National Restaurant Association estimated that 2022 would have record-breaking sales revenue of $898 billion, a 12.4% increase from 2021 and 3.9% above pre-pandemic sales. The predictions signaled an optimistic future, but instead, many businesses now are facing additional hardships brought on by inflation. Even with higher sales, the industry profit margins are 11.5% lower than in 2019. A third of all restaurant operators expect sales revenue outcomes to only get worse.
A volatile market is causing restaurants to experience high labor costs and menu prices. Nine out of 10 restaurant operators reported that their overall costs are up, while eight out of 10 said their profits are lower. Restaurant operators are now looking for ways to combat inflation and deal with the unreliability of the market. Operators are forced to find unique strategies to increase profitability in the current financial climate.
Trends Reveal Growing Demand For Online Ordering
One outcome of the pandemic has been the sharp rise in online ordering, with takeout growing 300% compared to dining in. Current data shows that online takeout is making a substantial impact. Recent trends show profit margins for restaurants that use online ordering for takeout rose by 30%. Takeout is here to stay, and restaurants must capitalize on its high earning potential to combat profit loss where possible.
More people want to enjoy restaurant dining in the comfort of their home, giving restaurants an effective way to improve sales. Online ordering has only grown in popularity post-pandemic, and Americans are now 70% more likely to pick up than before the pandemic.
Reports show that millennials are 3 times more likely to order takeout than older generations. Gen Z consumers said that they are 80% more likely to order takeout than dine in at a restaurant. Takeout and online ordering are a way to connect and market to younger generations. Online ordering can improve profitability by maximizing efficiency and minimizing customers’ pain points.
Businesses that have multiple points of connection that customers can access are best equipped to meet them where they are and more likely to have them return. Websites, mobile applications or even third-party online ordering and delivery systems can help restaurants reap the benefits of takeout.
While third-party delivery services are commonly used, many charge nearly 30% of the order revenue for usage. In contrast, a branded vendor application can help mitigate costly charges, allowing operators to retain more of that revenue.
Applications that can integrate with point of service (POS) and third-party delivery services are another popular route. Technology now offers a variety of benefits on top of having a more streamlined online ordering system. An integrated mobile ordering system, POS and back of house management system can help staff stay organized and get to-go orders out quickly without disrupting in-house diners.
New Layouts Offer a Fresh Way to Meet Customers’ Takeout Needs
While takeout and delivery was prevalent before the pandemic, it’s become more of a common practice for restaurant goers in recent years. As more customers move toward mobile and online ordering, pickup has become a standard expectation. With evolving customer needs, businesses are rapidly trying to capture market share by adopting new methods of streamlining takeout capabilities that extend into the layout of their restaurants.
Strategies such as outlining specific takeout areas in the restaurant, whether an aisle for pickup or an outdoor window constructed to not create unnecessary waiting times, have become critical for businesses. Differentiating between dine-in and takeout customers allows staff to provide a unique and pleasant experience for each. Changing the floor plan of a restaurant can create initial challenges, but it is worth the initial investment. In the long term, a redesign is well worth the time and resources.
Some restaurants are even adopting a type of lockbox that works alongside online ordering and provides customers with a code they can use when they arrive. The code unlocks the order for contactless pickup. Restaurants may also consider blocking off a few parking spots near the front of the space for drivers to easily pick up their order.
As customer behavior continues to change and evolve, technology and design will reward expediency. Restaurants must stay up to date on the latest trends and expectations to deliver customers the experience they demand. As the industry continues to face challenges that relate to inflation and the ongoing pandemic, restaurants need to leverage every opportunity to increase their bottom line. Capturing more of the market by catering to the needs of customers is paramount at a time when more individuals are adopting digital and opting to dine in their own home. From adopting complimentary technologies such as native mobile applications, to redesigning the layout of your physical space, adapting is key.
— Zayn King-Dollie serves as the product officer for Ordrslip, which creates custom mobile ordering apps for restaurants and cafes. For more information, visit https://ordrslip.com/.