More than half of restaurant sales will be digital by 2025

Digital sales will account for more than half, or 54%, of all quick-service and limited-service restaurant sales by 2025, according to new survey figures from market research firm Incisiv. That’s 70% more than pre-COVID estimates, the firm notes.

This projected growth is not difficult to understand. It’s been a year of restaurant dumpster fire, with hundreds of thousands of restaurants closed for good and billions of dollars already lost. Currently, restaurants across the country are reverting to off-site-only models, which lend themselves more to minimal interactions between restaurant staff and customers.

But as we saw at the start of the pandemic, even limited / fast food restaurants struggled to cope with the sudden influx of takeout, curbside pickup, drive-thru and drive-thru channels. delivery order. Big brands with money to spend and existing digital strategies have obviously performed better over the past eight months than those without a lot of technology investment in place. By July, Chipotle had increased its digital sales by more than 200% thanks to the brand’s pre-COVID focus in this area. Another example is Starbucks, which, as publicly stated, 80% of its orders before the pandemic were already going to takeout chains.

In addition, Incisiv notes that while restaurant chains invest in technology, they “do not necessarily respond to the highest priorities or solutions that will provide the best maximum return on investment for various customer expectations”.

This is a point we make all the time here at The Spoon. There are seemingly endless options for businesses when it comes to technology, but not all are equal in terms of the value they offer to a business trying to serve customers quickly, securely, and with the same quality as she would get in the dining room. . For example, so-called “touchless” kits that address the dining experience may become a fixture of the future, but they can’t exactly add value when dining rooms are closed. On the other hand, focusing technology investments on tools that will make digital ordering and fulfillment easier and cheaper should be a priority. To that end, Incisiv’s report urges restaurants to “make improvements in digital technology”. Those who do, according to the report, “will be in a better position if another shutdown were to occur.” Which, if you hadn’t noticed, is happening as we speak.

As noted above, some of QSR’s biggest brands are clearly leading the charge when it comes to digital sales trends, but Incisiv says there are many areas for growth and improvement. Customer satisfaction actually remains low in a few key areas. Only 40% of survey respondents were satisfied with their pickup experience; that number drops to 25 percent for delivery. Half of customers prefer to pay with a mobile wallet, but less than 20% of QSRs offer extensive payment options.

The survey found that “nearly 70%” of restaurant chains have “declared their intention” to increase investment in mobile ordering. In the long run, digital sales are expected to decline slightly once dining room service resumes with a semblance of its old days. The return of the dining room won’t mean the end of local outings, however, not if recent developments around condensed store formats and expanded drive-thru lanes are any indication. Incisiv also notes that the share of delivery sales is expected to increase by 23% by 2025 against a pre-COVID forecast of 15%.

As the report notes, if all of this holds true, it will be the fast food chains that make the most progress in digital ordering and set an example for the rest of the industry.

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