Today’s consumer is more discerning than ever, relying on technology to surround him or herself with only the people, brands and companies he or she chooses and turning away from the rest. This ultimately points to the growing importance of technology in business. As documented by Pew Research, smartphones dominated the technology scene with 64 percent of Americans owning one in 2015. In response, many of today’s companies have increased their efforts to engage consumers in a much bigger conversation across mobile platforms. The restaurant industry exemplifies how this can change the dynamics of doing business. Most major restaurant chains, including leading corporations such as Wendy’s, Chick-fil-a, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Burger King and Panera, utilize mobile apps to cater to the needs of the American consumer’s evolving demands.
The ability to order and pay ahead of arriving at the restaurant, view the menu, earn rewards through loyalty programs and play games represent just a few of the benefits many of today’s restaurant apps offer. Companies that view such technology as a luxury are at risk of faltering and may not be able to compete with the industry’s most successful restaurants at the level they desire.
Companies that have made an effort to engage with customers in such a way have benefitted from results that rival those from other channels. This comes as no surprise, as consumers that rely on mobile payment frequently spend twice as much as those who rely on traditional ordering. Undoubtedly, this is a statistic, documented by Connect Mobile Innovation Summit, that has inspired nearly 50 percent of restaurants to spend more resources on customer-facing technology in the next year.
Despite the apparent benefits of increased consumer spending as a result of mobile ordering, this can also create demand patterns that challenge restaurants in a unique way. For example, 83 percent of smartphone users surveyed use their phones to make dining decisions while traveling, and 46 percent have tried a new menu item based on a mobile ad.