Tech-enabled ordering appears to be making diners impatient.
That’s according to a new study commissioned by software and hardware company Oracle Food & Beverage, which found that even a two-minute wait is too long for many at the drive-thru. And many consumers feel like the rush of off-premise orders is slowing down their in-restaurant experience.
Online and mobile ordering was a lifeline to restaurants shut down in the pandemic and continues to provide steady revenue,” Simon de Montfort Walter, Oracle’s SVP and GM, said in a statement. “As already short-staffed restaurants reopen, they are grappling with how to manage both in-person diners and deliveries, while meeting growing expectations on speed and service.”
Chains around the country, such as Chipotle Mexican Grill, have struggled to keep up with an influx of digital orders as dining rooms resume pre-pandemic operations. Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol has said his fast casual misses out on sales because it has to “throttle” digital orders during busy times in the dining room.
The survey also found that 64% of customers don’t want to wait more than five minutes to order at a counter or drive-thru and 19% get antsy after more than two minutes.
Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they felt as if delivery and takeout orders were slowing down their in-person orders.
Curbside pickup, which was rolled out by many chains during the quarantine period of the pandemic, remains a big hit with diners, the survey found. Among the results:
- 58% said they love curbside pickup and are more likely to order from restaurants that offer it
- 43% said the pickup option increased their loyalty to an eatery
- And 54% (or a whopping 80% of millennials) said they would spend more at a restaurant because it offered curbside pickup
Despite the increase in high-tech ordering options, some respondents said they preferred to place orders with a server—depending on the situation.
Just 18% said they preferred to order from their mobile device while ordering in, with 65% saying they’d rather talk to a server. When ordering takeout, 33% of consumers said they would choose to order from the restaurant via their mobile device, 18% said they’d prefer to order from a third party and a quarter said they’d rather place an order with a server.
Tech-enabled payment options are also gaining ground at restaurants, the survey found. A quarter of those surveyed said they like to use contactless payment platforms such as Apple or Google Pay, and an early-adopting 7% noted they are leaning toward alternative payments such as cryptocurrency, according to the Restaurant Trends for 2022 survey.
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