As last week’s results from Starbucks demonstrate, mobile ordering is fast becoming the ordering platform of choice for today’s generation. Monthly transactions for its Mobile Order & Pay service have doubled (from 4 million to 8 million per month) in just 12 months, and there are no signs of this slowing down. “What Starbucks has proven is that it has managed to take one of its greatest strengths – loyalty and customers dedicated to a daily habit – and monetize it with a service aimed at making the transaction and ordering process easier, which is, of course, via mobile”.
But hospitality & catering operators shouldn’t be surprised by this fast growing trend. The sector’s closest model – retail – recently reached a major milestone, where online retail orders made through mobile devices (smartphones and tablets), for the first time, exceeded orders placed on traditional laptop or PC. So, why does this matter? It matters because the current generation of mobile users are becoming increasingly confident in using smartphones for online purchasing. If you don’t offer any sort of online ordering service, you’re losing business to those that do.
More than that, however, online ordering generates invaluable data about customers; their personal profiles as well as their purchasing habits, which can be used for highly targeted direct marketing or simply to reward regular customers. It also provides detailed analytics about the source, value, and frequency of all your online orders, to help improve operational efficiency and reduce avoidable costs.
Starbucks is not alone in growing its mobile ordering service. Other big players such as McDonalds, Domino’s Pizza, and Burger King in the UK are at various stages of development with their own mobile ordering offer. And in the USA, Panera Bread (the closest equivalent to Pret-a-Manger in the UK) Is taking the sector by storm with its Rapid Pick-up service which successfully overcomes to the operational challenge of order-ahead service delivery.
Thankfully, you don’t need to be a big, multinational brand (with large IT and marketing departments) to have your own online ordering service. Here at Preoday, we have developed a unique online ordering platform for catering operators of all sizes who want to create their own branded app; to allow customers to order ahead on their mobile devices, as well as on traditional PC and laptops. And with our industry expertise and our experience of working with a variety of catering operators, we can provide useful insights into operational delivery to ensure seamless service from day one.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.