There’s no denying that the online food ordering has surged in usage and growth during the pandemic. You don’t even need a survey or an extensive data analysis to understand that delivery and takeout has brought revenue for the restaurants following the Corona outbreak. The lockdown mandate and social distancing had led to sinking dining traffic. In a recent poll, most of the people said they would not be opting to dine in, even if the government declares lockdown relaxations which means online food ordering would only be going to increase.
What Led to the Increase of Online Food Ordering?
There was a time when most countries had gone on complete lockdown, shuttering restaurants, bars, retail shops, supermarkets, and pubs. Then there were lockdown relaxations in several states and cities, but the government had ordered restaurants and bars to limit their on-premise operations. It was a very difficult time for both business and for the people. The people wanted to purchase food, groceries, clothes, and other essentials, but the social distancing and fear of the corona community spread had restricted their physical store purchase. Though all these businesses were going through a worse situation ever, the table service restaurants had been hitting the hardest. According to a research poll, 40% of people said they were avoiding restaurants, bars, and coffee shops, with 60.5% said they would avoid them, about 60% of consumers said they were concerned about dining out, and 1 out of 5 said they would avoid visiting restaurants. Still, wondering how the online food ordering evolved during the pandemic? Here are the answers.
The serious decline in revenue had made the restaurants to think about deliveries and takeouts to shore up their business. Many of the fine dining restaurants had started delivery service during the pandemic and some of the restaurants which already had delivery service had adjusted their menus and operations to tackle this worst-ever pandemic of the 21st century. It was a very critical move for restaurants. Since the delivery service began, restaurants started to get more and more orders and customers were also happy. This led to a huge spike in online food ordering. One major factor for this sudden increase in demand for online food ordering is that most of the consumers were now looking for safety, convenience, and comfort, and online food dining allows them to get the food they like.
Curbside and Carryout
Curbside or drive-thru, carryout all these are successfully implemented during this pandemic time by several restaurants. Show your love and care for your guests with curbside, drive-thru, and carryout. The customer doesn’t have to leave their car if you provide a curbside. They will order online and drive to your restaurant. All you have to do is to prepare and pack the food and place it in their car safely, keeping the social distance. Carry out service is provided by almost all restaurants, allowing customers to carry the food with them after ordering it online. The curbside and carry out transactions would be coordinated through your app – with helpful tools for checking in and push notifications for order status updates.
Lunch Focused Business
Though dinner,late-night, and breakfast remain core for many restaurants, you can concentrate on lunch as well. Since many of the offices are shut down for an unknown period, many customers who are working from home may not have time to cook in between their working time. You can focus on such customers by providing lunch for them. Many of the restaurants have started providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and they are benefiting from this.
How was the pre-corona age for Online Food Ordering?
No doubt, online food ordering was one of the strongest growth areas of the industry. Twenty-one percent of consumers said that ordering food for carryout or delivery is more a part of their routine than it was two years ago. Other projections also showed that delivery sales grow at more than three times the rate of on-premise revenue in the coming three years. People were using the online food ordering earlier as well, but the Coronavirus amplified that by sheer necessity.
Brand trust gains more than third party delivery platforms
When it comes to placing an order, 70 percent said that they prefer to do it via a mobile app or website. Going deeper into the statistics, restaurants mobile app being the most preferred channel with 32 percent, followed by the restaurant’s website with 26 percent. What we understand from this is that consumers trust brand value in uncertain times over the third party deliveries. The third-party deliveries were only able to restore their previous customers. All the new customers into the online delivery pool prefer restaurants’ own delivery platforms. More than 58 percent of the customers are facing many issues with third-party deliveries. Major issues of third party ordering pointed by the consumers are
- Accuracy of the order
- Delivery Time
- Friendliness of the Driver
- Order Experience
- The appearance of the Food
Now you may feel, why the above-mentioned points are so important. It is important because when issues happen users will blame the restaurants. 35 percent of the consumers said they would blame the restaurant, 25 percent said they would blame restaurant + Delivery. Even if the issues are not because of your brand’s fault, customers will only blame you, and if you don’t have a way for your customers to contact you directly, your brand will suffer.
There are many restaurants that completely depend on third-party delivery services like JustEat and Uber Eats to carry them during the uncertainty the industry faces. It is a fact that these third-party service providers have slashed their fees for the crisis. But all these deferments of the fee are temporary, higher commissions will come back. Another important aspect to mention is that your customer data will be with these third party delivery service providers only.
Business all around the globe is struggling. Among all the businesses, restaurants, especially dining restaurants are hit hard. To thrive beyond the crisis, restaurants need to employ solutions that make sense for the short term and long term without compromising the guest experience. Online food ordering using your website and mobile application will be the ideal solution. You will have your customer database, you can make use of it for future promotions. If you are a restaurant owner with fine dining start delivery or carry out service immediately. Take the right steps in your strategy for online food ordering during COVID-19, you can increase your opportunities for higher sales and customer retention during troubled times.