By Gavin Peters, chief marketing and strategy officer of Onvi, a leading mobile Order & Pay provider to the hospitality industry (www.onvi.com)
The shift to digital has been huge in the last 18 months, as operators have adopted technology to help navigate ever-changing restrictions. As 19th July approaches, bringing an end to social distancing measures and compulsory table service, some have questioned what this means for the future of technologies like mobile Order & Pay.
While some solutions have been set up purely to allow contactless ordering out of necessity, the best technology offers much more, and now operators and customers are seeing those benefits; this will now continue and evolve. Mobile Order & Pay will sit at the heart of the next generation of sales platforms – enabling operators to service customers whenever and wherever they choose, use data to better target and connect with them, optimise their menus, and ultimately increase sales and reduce costs. For these reasons the benefits of newly implemented technology will go far beyond reacting to Covid restrictions.
TECHNOLOGY LEADS TO LONG-TERM COST SAVINGS
The hospitality industry is clearly under unprecedented pressure, and every opportunity must be taken to reduce costs to help operators return to profit by removing unnecessary costs whilst delivering the best possible customer experience.
With ongoing staff shortages at pubs and bars around the country, alongside the return to maximising capacity with reopening, helping to ease the pressure on teams is paramount. By entrusting the facilitation of payments and the manually taking of orders to software, the time shaved off each of these steps can see the average member of front of house staff increase productivity to the equivalent of adding three hours of time to spend on other activities to their shift.
With the latest technology, hardware costs are also minimised; automating processes and moving to a single platform to manage orders and payments makes it possible to reduce the reliance on hardware such as PDQs and kiosks.
DIGITAL ORDERING INCREASES SALES
Due to the ease of upselling and instant reordering, mobile ordering can lead to increased sales per visit of around 30%, and in some cases far higher. And not only do you see more spend per customer, but you get the multiplier effect of more of those customers to serve. Mobile ordering helps operators increase table turnover speed, allowing them to maximise throughput at peak times.
Digital ordering technology also enables operators to unlock new revenue streams to boost sales.We witnessed a huge uptake in Pickup services early on in the crisis, as bars and pubs diversified to takeaway and collection to keep serving customers during the lockdown.This shows no sign of slowing as many operators learn they can efficiently service drinks and food collection to customers without changing their dine-in operational processes.
CUSTOMERS NO LONGER ACCEPT MOBILE ORDERING;THEY INCREASINGLY DEMAND IT
Quite simply, when effective and reliable Order & Pay solutions are in place, customers appreciate the ease of use.They don’t have to wait for someone to take their orders, and they can instantly get another round in with the touch of one button. Regardless of the pandemic, no one enjoys queuing at a busy bar or waiting for their orders or payments to be taken – in the future, we’ll probably look back at this as bizarre, out-of-date behaviour, like queuing at a bank to pay money into an account rather than making an online transfer.
Our recent research shows 64% of all adults plan to continue using Order & Pay post-pandemic.The simplicity of use is the number one reason for people’s satisfaction, with customers saying they find it quicker and easier than ordering with staff.
We’re also seeing a huge uplift amongst older customer groups. Usage of our platform among the over 65s has increased by 30% since lockdown eased, and the most significant uptake in mobile ordering has been the 55- 64-year-olds, whose usage has increased by 68%!
Essentially, traditional service no longer considers the preferences of the evolved consumer, and businesses that don’t adapt will likely be left behind.