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

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

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

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

In summary, integrated digital ordering and payment options are no longer competitive differentiators, but rather a fundamental part of restaurant sales and the restaurant business.

“Today’s top-performing restaurants view customer experience holistically, not as separate channels,” said Andrew Robbins, CEO of Paytronix. “It’s now a convergence where 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 whether a customer is ordering from their couch or from a restaurant table, the experience is one that keeps them coming back.

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

The aggregator markup

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

QSRs are the type of restaurant most likely to raise prices from their aggregators, with 27% of QSR managers confirming that they sell the same foods at higher prices on aggregators than on their websites. Only 14% of restaurant managers with table service do the same.

Reward loyalty

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

The study shows that 96% of restaurant managers lower prices for loyalty program members. The average loyalty discount is around 3.8%.

RELATED: Understanding Loyalty Programs in the Age of the Pandemic

The path of the present — and the future

Ultimately, the report concluded that the ways restaurants engage
with their customers have changed rapidly and fundamentally over the past two years. Now more than ever, restaurant customers are demanding options for how they place, pay for, and receive their orders, and restaurant managers are adapting their innovation programs accordingly.

Investments in multi-channel ordering capabilities and integrated user experiences are not only important, they are also critical to success in the restaurant industry now and in the future.

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