Digital ordering is providing a solution to the problem of standing in long queues to get food in hot weather. It enables guests to order and pay for food and drink online or through a mobile app ahead of time and simply pick it up from the restaurant. The largest global parks, Disney among them, are taking steps towards mobile ordering for park guests. Everyone will be watching the industry leaders with eagle eyes. Will this new avenue to spending help to grow sales? Will parks see and record greater levels of customer satisfaction?
For theme parks, introducing online or mobile ordering for restaurants and cafes seems like a logical move, particularly for its quick service restaurants. So when considering a digital ordering technology provider, what should theme parks be asking to help them make the decision?
Will it integrate with my existing technology?
There is a lot of technology already in place within a theme park, so adding yet another system can be daunting and seem like an operational burden. Make sure whatever technology you’re introducing will work seamlessly with your existing EPOS and other customer engagement systems. You should ask how flexible the API is and whether the provider has worked with your EPOS before – if they have, set up work will be faster.
How long will it take to get up and running?
Some companies will promise the earth and say that you will have an app up and running within 24 hours. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. As you’ll be looking to develop your own branded mobile app for your theme park, it will take time for it to be processed and accepted by the App Store or Google Play. They set their own timelines and these may vary by app.
While waiting for approvals, make sure that your provider is preparing you for launch, training you on how to use the technology, both amending the front-end and using the back-end. They should also be talking to you about marketing ideas for the app – your team knows how to market the theme park, but could benefit from the best practice experience of your supplier learned from working with other clients.
What data will I have access to?
Ideally, you should have as much access to data as possible. At the very least, you should be asking to see turnover and order numbers so that you can track the impact of the technology. The ability to see what exactly has been ordered and when, as well as average order values will help you make decisions regarding stock purchasing and menu content.
Moreover, you should also be able to get to know your customers much better. If your technology can help you gather the names and contact details of those customers ordering in real time (as long as you’ve asked them that they are happy to be marketed to as part of GDPR), then this will help you communicate with them while they’re still in the park, offering additional food and drink for when they next get hungry or thirsty.
What level of support will I receive?
Ongoing support is critical to the success of any new technology and the last thing you want is to feel forgotten as soon as you’ve signed the dotted line. Ask what sort of support you’ll receive after launch and how personal it will be. Moreover, the technology itself should see continual updates to ensure that it is always fit for purpose. It should keep pace with the market, and customer expectations, which will continuously evolve. Also, you should ask if updates will be included automatically in your app, or whether you’ll be expected to pay more for them – beware freemium models! Finally, ask how and how frequently these updates will be communicated to you.
As with any new technology provider, what you’re looking for is a partner who will not only offer you a technology solution, but also help you make sure that it’s a success, both within your organisation and with customers. Make sure you ask, compare and see lots of demos – this will put you in a much better place to make an important decision.
This is article was published in Park World Online.
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.