In recent years, many fast food and fast casual chains have begun to adopt mobile communication technology to facilitate ordering and payment processes. Reported by Mashable, Domino’s, introduced a feature that allows its customers to order a pizza simply by tweeting the pizza emoji to @Dominos. This use of technology makes perfect sense: in a fast-paced environment, mobile makes it easier to serve more guests, streamline processes, and bring in more revenue.
It’s clear that the mobile train is already leaving the station, and restaurateurs would be wise to get on board before they’re left behind. Here are a handful of reasons why.
Millennials use mobile
Millennials are the generation that want access to everything via their mobile devices. In fact, according to marketing expert Heidi Cohen, 87 percent of Millennials have their phones by their sides at all times, and 71 percent say it’s a drawback when companies don’t offer mobile options. For Millennials, nothing beats the convenience of ordering and paying for products using their mobile devices. There’s also the bonus of personalization; Millennials crave products and services that are uniquely for them.
Why does this matter? With an 11.4 percent sales growth in 2015, Technomic reports that the fast casual segment is the fastest growing among all dining segments. Additionally Business Insider found that Millennials make up 51% of the fast casual customer base. Restaurants that want to continue this growth would do well to appeal to the needs of the Millennial crowd.
Texting is more convenient than apps
According to Recode, app downloads are down 20 percent since last year and eMarketer reports that 81 percent of smartphone owners only use between one and 10 apps that they’ve downloaded. This indicates that people are less and less willing to clutter their phones with applications they might only open once or twice. Moreover, it shows that people tend to use only a few of their favourite apps, while letting the rest fall by the wayside, or deleting them entirely.
But texting — whether it’s used for ordering or for communication — funnels interactions with different brands into one accessible place: the message inbox on the guest’s smartphone. It’s more convenient for the guest than having to open yet another app to manage an interaction. Seeing as texting has become the favoured method of communication, particularly among Millennials, it’s clear that texting is the future of restaurant communication.
You can send offers and notifications to guests even if they haven’t downloaded the app
Push notifications are handy, but only if the guest has downloaded your restaurant’s app. And, as we covered in the last point, there is an ever-decreasing possibility that your guests will have downloaded it. On the other hand, you can send text messages to anyone provided you have their contact information. Just make sure you don’t spam them!
It’s easier to connect with guests
Fast casual is fast-paced. Guests may not want to approach staff during busy periods, or staff may not have the time to adequately address customer comments or concerns in the moment, no matter how much they want to. A mobile guest engagement solution allows both parties to work around these roadblocks. Guests can use it to keep in contact with the restaurant whether or not they’re on the property. On the restaurant side, it enables management to update the customer when their issue has been resolved or their request fulfilled.
It helps the guest feel like they have a relationship with the restaurant
On that note, it helps build and maintain relationships between guests and the restaurant by personalizing communications. When guests use a mobile guest engagement solution to interact with the restaurant, it makes them feel they are speaking to a real person — that a real person is taking their concerns seriously and doing something about them. As we’ve covered before, most guests will be appeased once they know someone’s listening to them, to the point where it improves their relationship with the brand.