But many restaurants., pubs and QSRs are now looking for fully integrated, long-term tech partners to truly digitalise their customer journeys.
So, what are the benefits to a business that continues to encourage customers to engage with online ordering?
At a time when margins and profits are being squeezed harder than ever, apps and web-solutions are one way to drive revenue. Industry research suggests an 18% increase in customer spend for online orders (Upserve, 2020), and that trend is echoed across Pepper's clients.
This increase in Average Transaction Value (ATV) isn't just generated from selling a higher volume of product per order. Customers who can browse an app are more likely to swap into premium products. For example, when asked by a waiter which gin or wine they'd like, many consumers will opt for the house to save time- but, they'll browse when placing an app order.
Apps also offer the ability to offer upgrades and extras to meals, without feeling pushy. It's very easy to add rosemary salt to chips, stick an egg in my burger and pop a side of onion rings in the basket- but asking those three questions at the table or till would feel like aggressive upselling.
Not only does this mean more in sales for the venue, it also means that the customer is getting exactly what they want. Pepper's Build-Your-Own feature takes this a step further- allowing hyper-customisation of products in a visually engaging way.
Staff shortages are one of the most immediate challenges to the industry, but online ordering can help there, too. By giving the customer control of taking their own order, with Order to Table, or settling their bill with Pay at Table, restaurants are automating processes that would otherwise require wait staff.
And it benefits the customer, too. 30% of consumers get frustrated when they struggle to get their servers' attention, and 18% get frustrated when they are being rushed to place their order (CGA, 2021).
Pepper customers also report that the ease of placing orders via an app means that customers will often order extra drinks, or more side dishes, compared to traditional table service or order-at-counter.
For small venues, having customers sitting down and placing orders at their tables can really help keep walkways clear, meaning wait staff get food out quicker and there is less crowding around the bar and entrances and exits.
When experimenting with how to keep customers coming back, an app is a must-have. It means marketers have data on when specific customers visit, what they buy and what could tempt them back in.
This approach is called 'surprise and delight'; customers who use the app know they're in with a chance of being rewarded with a free pint, or dessert, or kid's meal- whatever is relevant to them. 87% of consumers are open to brands monitoring details of their activity if it leads to more personalised rewards, and it can be a key play for marketers when trying to boost sales in quieter dayparts or seasons (Bond Brand Loyalty, 2018).
Persistent loyalty schemes, like stamp cards or points that can be spent as currency, are another approach. These are a fantastic way to encourage customers to keep visiting you, rather than your competitor next door, as they strive to reach that next reward.
In the QSR world, this loyalty approach is often used without ordering. Customers can order at the counter as normal, but present their app for scanning, to collect their loyalty stamp. It means that the marketing team still collect that data on frequency of visit, spend and customer behaviour.
Apps deliver real value to marketers. By collecting ordering data, restauranteurs gain a deeper understanding of who their customers are, when they visit and how they spend. This understanding feeds and underpins the wider marketing strategy.
Which products are most important to our very loyal customers? Which dayparts present a real opportunity to grow sales? What are the operational benefits to higher app sales at peak times?
Apps also offer a competitive advantage- not every business has the support of an experienced tech company, like Pepper, and having the best app among your competitors can make you stand out to customers. With the rise of third party delivery services, offering a seamless Click & Collect experience that grants loyalty awards is also one way to save on commission.
Lastly, the app offers a space to mention wider marketing messages. Everyone placing an order will see you promoting local events, new products, the brand story- the app becomes an extension of the printed and social media marketing.
So, why Pepper?
As well as our fantastic client base, 6+ years' of experience and brilliant product, Pepper has one of the best teams in the industry. We recruit within hospitality, and our clients are at the centre of everything we do. In fact, you can meet the team at The Restaurant Show!
To hear more about Pepper directly from them, head over to stand GB29. We hope to see you there!
By Hannah Brennan, Head of Marketing and Customer Success at Pepper.
Hannah spent five years in the marketing team at Wetherspoon, and now works with Pepper brands like GBK, Revolution Bars, Young's pubs and more- developing their app strategies.