More guests than ever are ordering food to go. Whether they prefer takeout or delivery, the effect is the same: off-premise dining is growing exponentially and online ordering is changing the restaurant industry. In October 2018, 60% of diners reported that they had ordered delivery at least once in the last six months. 28% say they are ordering delivery more often now than they did a year ago. As consumers continue to lead busy lives, and more members of Generation Z join the workforce, we can expect the online ordering trend to grow for many years to come. It’s time for restaurant owners to learn more about guests’ spending habits, and how to capitalize on off-premise dining.

 

Online Ordering and the Restaurant Industry

How exactly is online ordering affecting the restaurant industry? Customers from Generation Z would almost always prefer to eat in. These younger guests take fast-casual dining to a whole new level. Instead of visiting your restaurant, they manage to place their orders in a matter of seconds with just the click of a button. These diners are still social butterflies, but they’d rather entertain at home instead of sitting in a restaurant. Increase the volume of your off-premise sales by connecting with these guests online. Social media is a great tool for this, but review sites like Yelp and Google are even more effective. As this generation grows up, joins the workforce, and gains increasing spending power, it will be extremely important for your restaurant to capture their loyalty.

 

Push the Button

78% of delivery orders are placed directly with restaurants. Third-party sites like GrubHub and Seamless may make it easier for new guests to find you, but customers are starting to wise up about delivery fees. They understand that ordering from your website will probably save them money, and potentially offer them deals on future transactions. Make sure you include a phone number and an “Order Now” button on your site to make this process as streamlined as possible.

 

Order Up

30% of regular takeout users report that they order more food when they’re dining off-premise, and that’s just the folks who admit it. There are a number of reasons for this trend. For some guests, it has to do with timing: they’re happy to sit at home grazing over a leisurely meal, but some may feel that it’s rude to do the same in a restaurant. Others may be saving on delivery fees by ordering two meals at once, so they’ll have leftovers or lunch to take the next day. For whatever reason, one thing is clear: online business is good for your bottom line. Build in an upselling feature on your website to capitalize on your guests’ spending habits. For example: if they order a burger, you might suggest that they add curly fries. By offering recommendations, guests are more inclined to order large meals for delivery.

 

As online ordering grows increasingly popular, the restaurant business will continue to change. Perhaps in the future, delivery drones will be a common sight in commercial areas. Seize the day by learning as much about this trend as you can.