Off-premises food sales are increasingly becoming big business for the hospitality industry thanks to the rapid rise of web-based ordering and delivery services. Restaurants, pubs and cafés are waking up to the soaring demand for ready-to-eat meals, professionally prepared, ordered online but eaten at home.
To put this trend into context some 755 million food deliveries were made last year, a figure that’s up 39% in just three years, according to UK consumer research organisation NPD Group.
A similar study for hospitality EPOS company, Zonal, reveals that more than a quarter (28%) of British consumers ordered more meal deliveries than 12 months ago, with nearly half of these consumers using online channels.
But while food couriers such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo are becoming an increasingly common sight on our streets, reaching new customers and opening up new revenue streams, delivery isn’t necessarily the only show in town. The move to adopt click-and-collect may currently be smaller, but its potential is great, and in many ways, it offers the industry more.
Here are six benefits of a robust click-and-collect strategy, supported by a reliable, strong and secure on-premise digital network.
- The first and biggest advantage is that click-and-collect does not erode profit margins. Deliveroo, for example, charges restaurants a commission fee of around 10%-20% per order (restaurants are charged more if they have more than one on-demand delivery partner). This is topped up with a £2.50 delivery fee paid by the customer. Click-and-collect incurs none of these costs, apart from an initial capital outlay to ensure the restaurant has the right IT systems and processes in place.
- Click-and-collect can significantly improve footfall (as retailers have already discovered to their benefit). While customers are on-premise, businesses have a golden opportunity to engage with them, build a human connection, showcase their service and product offering, upsell and cross sell while building brand loyalty.
- Click-and-collect can be very convenient for the customer and enable a business to be more efficient. With traditional takeaway orders customers need to take time out of their busy day to wait for their meal to be prepared. This isn’t the case with click-and-collect. Customers can select a time and get on with other more pressing things in the meantime. Customers who order and pay online don’t require a restaurant employee to process their order. This allows the restaurant to take more orders faster and focus more attention on food quality and customer service.
- Click-and-collect promotes the use of an online ordering system which helps grow a businesses’ customer database. This will allow it to expand its direct marketing. It has also been proven that click-and-collect customers tend to spend more, most likely because, as they are tempted by other offerings. Also, a click-and-collect system can help with upselling to customers by showcasing appetizers, desserts, drinks and other high margin items.
- With click-and-collect, hospitality firms don’t have to surrender a valuable slice of their brand equity to a third party — for example a delivery company like Uber Eats or Deliveroo. This is another important lesson that retailers have learnt. There’s a risk with delivery that, when it goes well, and customers enjoy a seamless purchase and fulfilment experience, they can attribute that excellent experience to the delivery company rather than the original food provider. This can lead to the customer developing loyalty and advocacy for the delivery company when the restaurant, café, pub would much rather be the focus.
- Good click-and-collect apps enable the customer to create and customise their own order and have that order submitted directly without intervention from another human. This means that there is significantly less chance the order will be wrong, and food will be wasted, losing money and alienating the customer.
PizzaExpress is just one hospitality firm that has been capitalising on the growing click-and-collect market. Being an early adopter, it has developed a platform that connects all of its various order channels – from on-premise diners to those ordering online or by phone – to deliver one seamless customer experience. The company has achieved this through directing all orders through its EPOS system with orders then flowing through to its kitchen. This co-ordinated and structured approach avoids the need to double key data and minimises the chance of human error.
PizzaExpress customer solutions manager Matt Broom is on record saying that this approach has triggered a 5% upturn in incremental sales, had a similar boost in customer satisfaction levels and reduced the time it takes to process orders.
The good news for hospitality firms considering click-and-collect is that there are plenty of turnkey apps already out there that you can plug into your systems offering click-and-collect functionality. It goes without saying, however, that for a web-based click-and-collect system to work profitably firms must ensure they have reliable, strong and secure digital networks capable of handling not only sensitive customer payment data, but also a significant increase in custom and data traffic.
By Paul Leybourne, Vodat International
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