Conduct an online search for mobile and online ordering technology and you will likely find stories that mention Chipotle, Subway and Starbucks, not L’escargot or Le Gavroche. It’s a shame in a way because, despite these quick service venues being some of the most successful hospitality companies in the world, they are not generally described as ‘high end’. Consumers love them but the Jay Rayners of the world are unlikely to endorse the cuisine, or decor for that matter. Where then are all the wonderful examples of independent venues adopting digital ordering?
The publicity these quick service chains have received from their adoption of digital ordering has done wonders for raising general awareness of the technology. However, it might be precisely because attention has been given to such establishments that audiences assume the technology can and should only be employed by similarly bracketed ‘quick service’ venues.
If that is the reason, then we’re here to say that the assumption is wrong. There many not have been as much publicity surrounding pre-ordering at premier venues, but that doesn’t mean it can’t or isn’t happening.
One perfect example is ULI, a beautiful restaurant located in London’s prestigious Notting Hill. In April it announced the launch of its mobile and online ordering service; if it can benefit from such technology, why shouldn’t others? And it’s not just classy restaurants benefitting from online and mobile ordering, the Royal Opera House offers a similar service to its guests ordering interval refreshments. You don’t get much more ‘high-end’ than that.
Technology-centric restaurant services are important to the broad spectrum of consumers, not just those that frequent Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. Nowadays both students and duchesses expect their favourite venues to offer technologies that make their lives more convenient. Technology has become a fact of daily life everywhere else in their lives and they could hardly hold anything against a restaurant that decided to move forward into the digital age.
When visiting a top quality eatery, the state of the food is clearly important, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. Just as important is the ambiance of the surroundings and level of service provided. These factors must come together to form a truly top-class experience. It’s why the world’s highest-rated restaurants begin their customer’s dining experience before they walk through the door. It makes them feel special and takes the meal goes beyond the realms of sitting and eating.
By adopting online ordering, restaurants find themselves on the right path to creating this: a special, timely and smooth dining experience.
Let us paint a picture; the diner is excited about their upcoming meal at El Restaurante Fantástico. In order to add to the mystique of the venue, the exact menu and experience are kept hidden, accessible only by those that have booked a seat at the table. The day of the booking, the guest is sent a link to an exclusive microsite containing details of the restaurant, the story behind the food, the chefs and serving team.
Presented with the menu for the first time, the guests can now spend time mulling the menu, pre-selecting their courses in advance, at leisure.
On the day of the meal, each course appears in a timely fashion as if by magic.
We would defy any customer to not appreciate such outstanding levels of customer service.
While most restaurants will not be able to set up experiences quite as detailed as the one described, they can absolutely benefit from the use of a pre-ordering platform; there’s no need to restrict the use of said technology to quick service restaurants.
Online and mobile ordering opens businesses of all sizes up to new streams of customers and provides fresh revenue potential. It reinforces brand identity and forges close customer connections through the collection of data that informs better business and marketing decisions. Never has it been easier to identify the venue’s most popular menu choices at any given time of day, month or season. Combining this information with data that sets out a group or individual’s average spend, and frequency of spend, can be used to fine tune aspects of the business including ingredient ordering and what dishes appear on the menu. From this then comes the opportunity to grow the business and its revenue.
There’s no reason why fast food restaurants should be the only beneficiaries of this business-changing technology. So, what can The Fat Duck and McDonald’s have in common? Online and mobile ordering, and as a result, satisfied customers and a stronger business.