Mobile food ordering is a fast-growing trend, but it’s not a new one. Nation’s Restaurant News, a major U.S. trade publication, reported that between 2014 and 2016, digital ordering grew 300% faster than dine-in. And last year, QSR Magazine revealed that mobile represented more than half of all digital orders.
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 has further increased customers’ reliance on technology and, consequently, the popularity of mobile food ordering. Digital restaurant orders went up by 135% this June compared to the same time last year. However, if you think it’s mostly tech-savvy millennials buying takeout online, think again. In June, people aged 55 and older upped their digital ordering by 200% and people aged 65 and older used mobile food ordering 428% more than they did in June 2019.
Mobile food ordering adoption is accelerating across all industries, not just restaurants. Pubs and hotels are increasingly turning to mobile apps to help facilitate food ordering, too. Attractions, which often rely on food and beverage sales to increase their revenue, need to pay attention to this trend as well.
This is because, done right, mobile food ordering enables attractions to grow revenue without increasing footfall. Even before the pandemic, many attractions found it difficult to grow visitor numbers. But now that attractions are struggling with capacity restrictions and low guest confidence, more of them are experimenting with the “grow without growing” approach. Business models are shifting to focus less on getting numbers through the door, and more on metrics like loyalty and secondary spend. The latter is responsible for 20% to 30% of attractions’ revenue, with food and beverage making up the majority of guests’ secondary spending.
With a looming recession threatening to restrict consumer spending, secondary spend is fast becoming of primary importance for attractions. For many attractions, margins made on increased food and beverage sales are what will enable them to stay afloat with fewer visitors. So how can mobile food ordering help attractions increase revenue with shrinking visitor numbers? Keep on reading to find out.
For attractions, offering guests more food and beverage buying opportunities are some of the easiest ways to increase secondary spend. Yet few fully leverage this potential. Why? Well, on-site at many attractions, food and beverage operations often get in the way of their guests’ experiences rather than enriching them.
For most guests at the majority of attractions, the process of ordering food and drinks on-site is frustrating, full of friction points, and disruptive to their overall experience.
Just think about it. If a visitor wants to grab a bite to eat while on-site, they have to stop what they’re doing at that moment for a prolonged period of time. This might mean missing that show they really wanted to see or having to forego getting on as many rides.
Once they get to an on-site cafe or restaurant, guests often have to queue to place an order or wait to be seated. Worst case scenario, the cafe might be full, in which case guests might have to put up with an even longer wait time or be forced to try the next place (provided there is one). Both options annoy guests and make them less likely to return.
But let’s say there are no queues and your guests are happily seated. They still might end up unsatisfied and underserved. That’s because it’s not always clear what the food and beverage options are or what’s available to order. For example, guests that come after peak lunch hour might be disappointed to find that the dish they were looking forward to having is sold out.
Plus, guests can never be quite sure how long they’ll have to wait after placing an order, something which can make getting food a regrettable delay rather than something to look forward to. The process of paying is often clunky, too, and more often than not, also involves waiting. The last thing your guests want is to have to wait 40 minutes for their sandwiches and then 15 more minutes for their bill when they could be exploring everything you have to offer.
As if all of the above wasn’t bad enough, the opportunity to tailor and personalise what guests order is also limited. Guests have to content themselves with generic meal deals and offers — that is if they even see these offers in the first place. As a result of all this, uptake of food and beverage at attractions is often far lower than it could be.
As evidenced by the statistics we shared earlier, mobile food ordering has grown in popularity. This is partly because it’s convenient and partly because COVID-19 necessitates social distancing and contactless interactions. To keep guests’ attention, attractions need to be able to bring both these benefits across.
For guests, mobile food ordering means that they can browse menus on their phones and order food instantly at any time, anywhere without having to wait. Because mobile food ordering enables contactless payments (whether via credit card or Google Pay or Apple Pay), it also means that visitors can pay for food and beverages without needing to handle cash or physically swipe their card.
For attractions, mobile food ordering means the ability to offer targeted upsell and cross-sell opportunities, based on what a user has added to their basket. This can improve overall revenue exponentially. Mobile food ordering can also improve efficiency as staff spend less time taking orders and can be redeployed to other areas (for example, fulfilling orders or routine cleaning and disinfecting).
Ideally, mobile food ordering should be interwoven within your attractions’ guest experience so that guests can easily access it. For example, our mobile food ordering offering is integrated into our branded guest-facing apps, which allows food ordering to be intuitive for guests regardless of their level of technological familiarity. This integration also allows extra benefits for attractions, including:
Here are some of the results our customers have seen since implementing mobile food ordering:
Even better news is that we’re seeing these fantastic results across all attraction sizes, with some particularly great results at smaller parks, so this is not an exclusive benefit to larger attractions.
We’d love to talk to you about how you could leverage mobile food ordering to unlock more secondary spend, so please get in touch to discuss your project.