RBTL 2019: Three Ways To Use Click and Collect In Your Restaurant
Technology is designed to solve the problems of tomorrow today, which is at the core of every Restaurant Bar Tech Live conference. Following restaurant dining trends is imperative to staying abreast of new trends like advances in AI or facial recognition technology, and how you can position yourself for future success. Mobile dining “click and collect” trends continue to mirror the consumer interest in off-premise dining. Interest in off-premise dining grew 300% between 2014 and 2016 and has only continued to rise, with 60% of restaurant orders are off-premise. With 78% of restaurants see off-premise dining options as a strategic priority, the time is now to employ click and collect in your restaurant.
Around 96% of Americans own a cellphone, 81% of which own smartphones. That’s a lot of people with a lot of computing power at their fingertips, and those same people want convenience and will pay for it. With fewer people making calls daily, mobile dining technology provides a solution by allowing consumer’s easy access to purchase before going to the restaurant.
An example of this technology is any mobile dining application that lets you place an order or reserve a seat or get on the waitlist all from the convenience of your smartphone. Off-premise dining trends follow a few paths: customer carryout options, off-premise delivery, and call ahead ordering, all of which have gained public interest over time. Let’s take a look at what each of these experiences might look like for an average diner.
Click and Collect: Take-Out
The idea of prepared meals designed for customers to eat elsewhere is nothing new, and given the often nomadic history of humankind is hardwired into our DNA. As with many restaurant innovations, our modern concept of take-out was realized through the Industrial Revolution. With standardized work weeks and a robust middle class, the restaurant industry flourished and rose to satisfy a public that was increasingly on the move.
Today, there are numerous options for take-out orders, not only in terms of what’s on the menu but in how you place the order. Imagine that you’ve had a long day at work and want to stop and grab some food as quickly as possible. After finding a restaurant that satisfies both your craving and your preferred method of ordering, you open up the site’s app, choose your order, and the kitchen prepares your order.
From there, the kitchen receives this information and gets to work. Ideally, the restaurant would have a kitchen display system (KDS) or an equivalent, which would allow their staff to route orders accordingly, ensuring that they have room for incoming and currently in-store customers. Keep in mind that while routing may not matter in the short term, it can lead to some long term headaches.
Click and Collect: Delivery
A comparatively modern conceit by comparison to takeout, delivery as we know it took off around one century ago in California. This option is ideal for people who aren’t as mobile as they’d like to be, or who may not have the time to go out to dine in. Restaurant delivery continues to grow, propped up by supplemental industries like UberEats or DoorDash. Those companies afford smaller operations with the tools they need to get the food to those who need it Still, if you have the means to connect directly with customers, there’s a good chance they will pay for it.
We all know the experience of delivery, which is about getting food on your terms brought to you. While that once constituted picking up the phone and calling a pizza place or other carryout favorite, now those delivery options can be done with a few quick hand motions. Not only can you order food, but in some cases, you can track that progress from preparation to your door.
Click and Collect: Dining In
The most contemporary option on the list, mobile order-ahead provides customers the chance to have their meal waiting for them in a sit-down restaurant. To do this, restaurants are combining the basic functionality of delivery/takeout orders with a reservation or waitlisting system. Plenty of companies are looking at this as their future, and it’s paying off big time.
For families with children, this can be an incredible game-changer. While there are pros and cons to having a kid-friendly restaurant, there is value in eating out together. Kids get bored easily, so eliminating the lag time between seating, ordering, and actually eating can go a long way in streamlining your situation. That’s where click and collect in your restaurant comes in, as mobile order-ahead options allow you to come straight in, sit, and enjoy family mealtime.
What You Can Do To Prepare For a Click and Collect Future
As attendees of Restaurant Bar Tech Live already know, it’s hard to keep up with technological change, although it’s imperative to your long term success. Understandably then, restaurateurs are anxious about how these changes will impact their existing business. To remain competitive requires an upfront commitment that can seem daunting. But by virtually every study out there, customers are increasingly turning to mobile ordering as their preferred method for ordering food.
Having the tools necessary for success is the first step. Utilizing a KDS that can route orders will give you a leg up in making sure that all of your customers receive their meals in a timely and organized way. Make sure that your systems -whether that’s a KDS, point of sale (POS), or reservation platform- can integrate with one another, so that everything is in dialogue. If possible, develop a proprietary app unique to your business, but if you can’t partner with companies who can connect you to potential customers.
From guests to restaurateurs, people are taking mobile dining very seriously. Mobile dining orders are up, and major restaurant chains are taking notice, which could result in an almost $32 billion opportunity for enterprising investors. Industry leaders are already sinking time and resources into developing their mobile options and look to continue that innovation by turning to AI to shorten the path between guests and meals. Starting with improving your mobile dining options is the first step in your continued innovation with click and collect in your restaurant.
Will we see you at this year’s RBTL? We’d love to have an opportunity to put a name to a face. Pop over and let’s chat.
About the Author
Syd is a content marketing specialist, which are fancy words for writing pretty to tell a good story. He likes writing things about food, drinks, and music. He’s a musician himself, a father of two, and loves his wife a whole lot.