Trends in quick service, fast food restaurants in Australia 2021
Part 2: Online ordering, technology & customer experience
Change, adaptation, agility and more conscious choices
Part 2: Online ordering, technology & customer experience
In the Part 1 Trends article, we looked at food and customer experience trends. Here we look more closely at technology trends impacting the quick service, fast food market in Australia.
The pandemic has accelerated the acceptance and growth of online shopping & online ordering apps for both end customers and businesses. “Coronavirus has forced a whole new wave of shoppers online that are unlikely to go back to their previous buying habits. Ecommerce has been essential to brand survival,” said Dean Taylor, the Founder and CEO of WINEDEPOT. Home delivery and pickup options became almost standard practice across all types of retail goods – Bunnings launched Drive and Collect, understanding that customers wanted to save money on delivery fees and maintain safety in their own vehicles.
COVID changed the eating-out and eating-in landscape. Quick service, fast food restaurants will continue to see increased competition on all fronts in 2021 – cooking at home (grocery and meal kits); fine-dining going takeaway; wholesalers going direct to end-users.
Adoption of online ordering in restaurants surged and there was a backlash against 3rd party gouging. Our four defining themes for 2021 (detailed in PART1) are:
- Less is more – less handling, less interference; less processing; less packaging
- Safety and kindness – contactless delivery/pickup and cleaning; local sourcing
- Direct engagement – cut out expensive 3rd party processes
- Adaptability and agility – being dialed into the relevant technology and digital platforms will give businesses the ability to meet customer needs.
Technology & customer experience trends 2021
- Online ordering apps – in 2021, we predict:
- Branded or white label order apps will grow in favour of 3rd party platforms – as both customers and businesses want to cut out the expense of the middleman. Resentment in Australia forced UberEats to cut its commission from 35% to 30% in May 2020.
- Cutting out the middleman also includes consumers going direct to growers to source home delivery for @home cooking.
- Branded apps allowing restaurants to be more easily adaptable and agile. More control, immediacy and experimentation helped in menu options and specials.
- Digital contactless payments and different payment types will increase.
- Voice commerce will increasingly be demanded.
- Omnichannel shopping will become normal
- There is likely to be changes in the delivery model as customers want a better delivered on-time experience:
- In-house delivery will increase and compete with 3rd party delivery as restaurants take back control of the customer experience and the bottom-line. Technology will drive this change allowing for better delivery tracking and delivery combining.
- Delivery apps to include multiple outlet purchasing to enable one order, one delivery to an end-customer from multiple restaurants and outlets (bottle-shops, grocery stores, pharmacies). Some delivery apps have been pushed to include pickup options, cutting out the delivery commission but including an ordering commission.
- 3rd party delivery will become more customer friendly – UberEats announced some upgrades in October 2020 to make it more customer oriented – storing customer favourites, enabling multiple outlet purchasing, moving into pickup only options.
- There will be more experimentation with drone, robot and autonomous vehicle delivery.
- To some extent, to compete effectively, all quick service restaurants will need fast, efficient customer data intelligence. Greater data analytics will enable more personalised customer experiences, tailoring offers to match customer favourites and preferences.
- Data analytics to direct your business will become a basic requirement. Customer choices & preferences will enable better planning, resourcing and food & experience creation. More eating @home and takeaway means you can re-engineer your physical space to allow for safer contactless pickup and delivery. Also for safety purposes to go expand al fresco for dining in experiences.
- Data and predictive analytics in sourcing and supporting sustainable local produce. In an August 2020 TED Talk, entrepreneur Erin Baumgartner used her experience in running a farm-to-table business to help create a healthier, zero waste food system that values the quality and taste of small, local farm harvests over factory-farmed produce “the path to better food is paved with data, Big data, small farms and the tale of two tomatoes”. This approach brings the local market closer to the restaurant. It also brings the local market closer to the customer. Erin Baumgartner thinks about ways to use technology and big data to shorten and simplify the complex system of the food supply chain.
- More integration and compatibility between technology systems to provide a single data source – POS, online ordering, online purchasing, payment systems.
- Digital presence & social media involvement is key
- Reviews rule as customers do their research online, looking for ‘trusted’ recommendations, performance and non-performance ratings. It holds businesses more accountable for all aspects of the customer experience.
- Social media and connection – in tune and present with your customer to harness consumers need to support local, and to share & recommend experiences.
Customers have become more discerning regarding their online shopping experiences and will demand and expect more delivery efficiency and a better customer experience from restaurants.
by Barb Jones, Marketing Insights writer, CCI
- Smart Foodservice (2020, June 1), ‘5 trends that will shape the restaurant industry in 2021’. Retrieved from https://www.smartfoodservice.com/blog/1/2020/06/5-trends-that-will-shape-restaurant-industry-in-2021/
- Sharon Masige, Business Insider (2020, October 9) “ Uber Eats is rolling out new features in Australia this month. Take a closer look.” Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com.au/uber-eats-is-launching-new-features-2020-10
- Power Retail, 4 June 2020 ‘Will e-commerce stay the same post-pandemic?”, Retrieved from https://powerretail.com.au/in-focus/will-e-commerce-stay-the-same-post-pandemic/