restaurant sales

Integrating digital & on-site experience is key to driving restaurant sales

A new report from Paytronix has found that restaurant managers are increasingly looking to integrate physical and online customer experience as a key component of their innovation strategy to boost restaurant sales.

The 2022 Restaurant Friction Index found that a cross-channel ordering experience has become an integral approach. Four in 10 (41 per cent) of the average restaurant’s sales now come through digital channels, including mobile apps, aggregators, and websites. This share is far more than the 32 per cent of restaurant sales that the average restaurant generated via its brick-and-mortar location and the 26 per cent generated via phone calls.

Restaurants now receive orders through an average of 2.7 different purchasing channels at any given time. Consumers place these orders via mobile app, aggregator, desktop website, on-site visits, or over the phone. One impact of this development is that more sales now are generated through digital channels than either on-site or over the phone.

In sum, integrated digital ordering and payment options are no longer competitive differentiators but rather foundational to restaurant sales and the restaurant business.

“Today’s most successful restaurants look at the customer experience holistically, not as separate channels,” said Andrew Robbins, CEO of Paytronix. “It’s now about a convergence in which every aspect of a brand works in concert to create a branded and personalized experience. In this environment loyalty, payments, and digital ordering all work in concert so that whether a guest orders from their couch or from the table in a restaurant, the experience is one that keeps them coming back.”

Consequently, 41 per cent of managers now consider it “very important” to provide customers with a consistent, integrated cross-channel ordering experience. Notable shares believe that providing the right ordering options (39 per cent) and payment options (38 per cent) would be “very” important to their innovation strategies going forward. Loyalty features and pickup options were equally common considerations for managers, cited by 38 per cent each.

The aggregator markup

The report also found that restaurants charge an average of 24 per cent more for menu items listed on third-party aggregators than for the same items listed on their own websites.

QSRs are the most likely restaurant type to bump up their aggregator prices, with 27 per cent of QSR managers confirming that they sell the same foods for higher prices on aggregators than they do on their websites. Just 14 per cent of table-service restaurant managers do the same.

Rewarding loyalty

In addition, nearly all restaurants use loyalty programs to encourage consumers to order directly from the restaurant by offering discounts on menu items.

The research shows that 96% of restaurant managers mark down prices for loyalty program members. The average loyalty discount clocks in at roughly 3.8 per cent.

RELATED: Understanding loyalty programs in the pandemic age

The way of the now — and the future

Ultimately, the report concluded that the ways in which restaurants engage
with their customers have rapidly and fundamentally shifted in the past two years. Now more than ever, restaurant customers demand options for how they place, pay for, and receive their orders, and restaurant managers are adjusting their innovation agendas accordingly.

Investments in cross-channel ordering features and integrated user experiences are not just important but are foundational to success in the restaurant industry — now and in the future.