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Offering a Digital Dining Experience is Now Table Stakes for Restaurants

It certainly is no secret that people across all demographic categories have transformed their day-to-day activities through the use of digital technologies, especially via the smartphone.  For those of us keeping tabs on the restaurant industry, we have further validation of just how impactful this digitalization, especially the mobile-centric variety, is on the consumer and their overall dining journey.

According to our most recent survey-based research report, Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations, an ever increasing number of restaurant guests, especially Millennials, are using their mobile devices at each and every point of their dining experience.

Similar to our friends in the broader retail industry, restaurant operators are witnessing rapid growth in the digital expectations of their customers, who don’t just want, but expect, a broad range of digital-driven capabilities as part of their guest experience.  As guest expectations for digital-driven dining continue to rise, all those responsible for delivering a successful guest experience – whether they are a restaurant brand, a franchisee, or independent operator – must rapidly adopt new digital technologies to enhance the entire dining journey.

The ENTIRE digital journey?  Absolutely. The role of digital engagement is now firmly implanted in every single step of that journey, starting well before and ending well after the actual restaurant visit.  Pre-meal research is a habit across all generations and demographics, especially for discovering new restaurant choices and selecting fine dining options. Digital ordering (whether from home, by app or at the restaurant) is a growing expectation while sharing results of dining experiences with friends via social media is a new form of entertainment. These expanded engagement areas shine a light on how restaurant operators need to think about the entire lifecycle of a guest’s dining experience – including how the intersection of restaurant operations, existing processes and legacy IT platforms need to quickly transform to support these new data-driven demands and influence needs.

As we noted (and not unexpectedly), Millennials are leading and driving this charge by using digital devices to enhance their dining experience over half the time (53%).  Specific measures of their digital activities include:

  • 60% research where and what to eat
  • 51% check ratings/reviews while in a restaurant
  • 23% share pictures and content during and after the visit.

It’s not a secret that the dining journey has radically changed, as have guest expectations of what makes a great dining experience. Digital-driven influences are no longer at the periphery of the dining experience, as they influence 40% of all dining visits.

Simply said, they are required tickets to entry.

Therefore, embedding a wide array of full digital dining capabilities – everything from social engagement to guest WiFi to flexible ordering options, and real-time and personalized guest promotions – should be part of every restaurant’s strategic DNA.

To download the complete Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectationsreport, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-restaurant-research-report/.

As always, I appreciate your opinions – both on the insight from the report and across the broader restaurant and hospitality space.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

Scott

 

Chicago has a new e-commerce rock star

Crain’s Chicago Business – Grubhub is now the top performer among local publicly traded companies over the past 12 months as it expands its restaurant delivery business and beats financial forecasts.

It helps that Grubhub is beating Wall Street’s forecasts, showing record growth in the second quarter, for instance, in what traditionally are its slowest months of the year. To underscore the point, the company raised its financial targets for the year.

A big driver is delivery. Maloney was happy to handle online orders, but he resisted getting into the delivery business, a low-margin hassle. That changed three years ago, when Grubhub acquired several early players and has built out its own network.

Grubhub also got deeper into restaurant technology, another messy business, integrating its mobile app directly into point-of-sale systems. It’s a key reason for the LevelUp acquisition. “If we’re going to grow the business, we have to go to where our customers are and relieve them of their burdens,” Maloney says. “I’m able to do delivery at scale more efficiently than 80,000 individual restaurants can. The same is true of POS integration.”

One risk is technology. “Grubhub has grown in terms of locations and geography. With that growth have come these land mines of complexity, integration and execution,” says Scott Langdoc, a San Francisco-based senior vice president of BRP Consulting, which advises restaurants on strategy and technology.

Read Full Article: Chicago has a new e-commerce rock star

Food Customers’ Expectations Rise as Technology Evolves

Convenience Store Decisions – Digital technology continues to shape customers’ expectations when dining out. According to a new report from Boston Retail Partners (BRP) and Windstream Enterprise, rapidly evolving guest expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation in the restaurant industry.

“The Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations” report, based on research conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise, combines findings from surveys of 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.

“As guest expectations continue to rise, restaurants must transform their business with new technologies to make the dining experience more seamless and frictionless,” said Scott Langdoc, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Unfortunately, many restaurant brands and franchisees have a long way to go to catch up to guest expectations. The good news is that restaurants are aware of the gap and their future plans include enhancements to key areas that guests deem important for a great experience: ease of ordering and payment, WiFi availability, and mobile POS.”

Ease in Payments And Ordering Are Central to Restaurant Success, a Survey Finds

Digital Transactions – What do diners want most when they go out to eat? Apparently, easy ordering and payment. That’s the big takeaway in the “Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations” report released Thursday.

Hassle-free ordering and payment are especially important to younger consumers, defined as those between 18 and 37 years old. Seventy-four percent of them said ease of ordering and payment is extremely important to them, yet only 45% of restaurants meet that expectation, found the report from Boston-based BRP Consulting, which specializes in retail and restaurants.

“For Millennials, digital is shorthand for taking friction out of the order and payment process, allowing them to shop the way they want wherever they want,” the report said. “They, along with Gen Z, also value interactive technology and digital content (music, movies, games, digital shorts) more so than older generations.”

While restaurants whose primary guests may not have the same expectation now, BRP says such demands will become “table stakes in two years.”

Read full article: Ease in Payments And Ordering Are Central to Restaurant Success, a Survey Finds

New Survey Findings Confirm the Digital Lag between Guest Expectations and Current Restaurant Technology

The team at BRP is excited to have sponsored (along with our parent company Windstream Enterprise) a new report titled The Restaurant Digital Crossroads:  The Race to Meet Guest Expectations.  The report was produced by Incisiv and details the research survey findings from 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.  The central message derived from the findings was crystal clear to all of us – rapidly evolving guest expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation across the whole of the restaurant industry.

Looking deeper into the themes the survey data told us, as guest expectations continue to rise, restaurants must transform their business with new, digital-enabling technologies to make the dining experience more seamless and frictionless – period. Unfortunately, many restaurant brands and franchisees (and you know who you are) have a long way to go to catch up to guest expectations. The good news is that restaurants (both brand owners and their franchisees) are increasingly aware of the gap the report calls out, and their short and long-term future plans include enhancements to key areas that guests deem important for a great experience, including easing the of ordering and payment process, adding or improving guest WiFi availability, and mobile POS capability.

Restaurant guests expect (make that demand) a frictionless dining experience that empowers them with relevant, helpful information, all while making it MORE convenient for them to operate on their own time and at their pace.  This requires restaurant operators to embed a broader spectrum of digital technology across the entire dining journey.

As you would expect, the Millennial and Gen-Z consumer demographics have the highest expectations for digital capabilities. The report identifies significant gaps between what younger generations feel is extremely important and what current capabilities many restaurant operators have in place.  Specific examples of this gap from the Incisiv/BRP survey findings include:

Ease of ordering and payment – Guests expect the ordering and payment process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 74% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 45% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Guest WiFi availability – Guests expect fast and free WiFi in restaurants, especially where cell reception is limited.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 44% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Discounts and promotions – Guests expect to receive digital discounts and promotions on any platform they choose, especially their mobile devices.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 35% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

There is a lot more data and strategic insight behind the excellent work Incisiv did on behalf of BRP and Windstream Enterprise.  I encourage you to download and read through the entire Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations survey findings report:

Download Now

As always, I appreciate your opinions – both on the insight from the report and across the broader restaurant and hospitality space.  Please share your thoughts and opinions below.

Scott

71% of Guests Identify Ease of Ordering and Payment as Important yet Only 45% of Restaurants have Excellent Execution of these Capabilities, According to Recent Survey

Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations Report Identifies Gaps Between Restaurant Execution and Guest Expectations

Boston, MA – July 12, 2018– According to a new report from BRP and Windstream Enterprise, rapidly evolving guest expectations and digital technologies are driving a major transformation in the restaurant industry. The Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations report, based on research conducted by Incisiv and sponsored by BRP and Windstream Enterprise, combines findings from surveys of 1,225 restaurant guests and 60 restaurant executives.

“As guest expectations continue to rise, restaurants must transform their business with new technologies to make the dining experience more seamless and frictionless,” said Scott Langdoc, senior vice president and practice lead at BRP. “Unfortunately, many restaurant brands and franchisees have a long way to go to catch up to guest expectations. The good news is that restaurants are aware of the gap and their future plans include enhancements to key areas that guests deem important for a great experience: ease of ordering and payment, WiFi availability, and mobile POS.”

Restaurant guests expect a frictionless dining experience that empowers them with relevant, helpful information and makes it convenient for them to operate on their own time and at their pace.  This requires restaurant operators to embed digital technology across the entire dining journey.

The Millennial and Gen-Z generations have the highest expectations for digital capabilities. The report identifies significant gaps between what younger generations feel is extremely important and what capabilities restaurant operators are operating excellently:

Ease of ordering and payment – Guests expect the ordering and payment process to be easy and frictionless.

  • 74% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 45% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

WiFi availability – Guests expect fast and free WiFi in restaurants, especially where cell reception is limited.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 44% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

Discounts and promotions – Guests expect to receive digital discounts and promotions on any platform they choose, especially their mobile devices.

  • 60% of guests feel it is extremely important
  • 35% of restaurant operators state this capability is operating excellently

To download the complete Restaurant Digital Crossroads: The Race to Meet Guest Expectations report, visit:

https://brpconsulting.com/download/2018-restaurant-research-report/.

About BRP

BRP is an innovative retail management consulting firm dedicated to providing superior service and enduring value to our clients. BRP combines its consultants’ deep retail business knowledge and cross-functional capabilities to deliver superior design and implementation of strategy, technology, and process solutions. The firm’s unique combination of industry focus, knowledge-based approach, and rapid, end-to-end solution deployment helps clients to achieve their business potential. BRP’s consulting services include:

Strategy | Business Intelligence | Business Process Optimization | Point of Sale (POS)
Mobile POS | Payment Security | E-Commerce | Store Systems and Operations | CRM
Unified Commerce | Customer Experience | Order Management | Networks
Merchandise Management | Supply Chain | Private Equity

Diners Have High Expectations for Restaurant Tech

eMarketer – As in many industries, there is a gap between consumer expectations and business execution for restaurants. Operators are often slow to adopt new technologies and those that they’ve implemented aren’t always satisfactory.

In a February 2018 survey of US internet users and restaurant executives by BRP (Boston Retail Partners) and Windstream Enterprise, restaurant operators met consumer expectations on only two factors: contactless/mobile payment, for which 32% of consumers valued it and one-third of operators offered it, and Wi-Fi availability (44% both valued it and offered it).

Consumer expectations will be even higher over the next 24 months. The most important factor now (71%) and in two years (81%) is simply ease of payment, but just 45% of restaurant operators said they had “excellent” execution.  Two of the biggest jumps in consumer expectation between now and 2020 will be the ability to order ahead digitally (a 55% increase) and Wi-Fi availability (up 59%).

Read Full Article: Diners Have High Expectations for Restaurant Tech