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5 Restaurant Online Ordering Trends To Look Out For

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 22/03/2016 Jared Shimoff
RESTAURANT © Zoonar/N.Sorokin via Getty Images RESTAURANT

As restaurant online ordering continues to grow, many restaurants are adding the service as a convenience for their customers and to increase sales. As a result, some online food ordering trends are starting to emerge, including the increased adoption of mobile technologies, the decline of phone orders, and others. Years ago, large pizza chains were quick to jump on-board with these advancements, while smaller restaurants just recently starting adding these conveniences at a faster clip. This is a breakdown of the latest trends in online food ordering to get you up to speed:

1. Using Social Media & Apps to Drive Sales

With the popularity of social media and mobile applications, it should come as no surprise that major chains are using these tools as a way to promote online ordering. Pizza giant, Domino's, allows customers to create a "Pizza Profile" where they can save their contact information, as well as their favorite pizza order. This allows customers to order their favorite pizza by texting a single emoji. Ordering really doesn't get any easier than that.  Although, by design, this type of functionality is very limited. Because customers can only order one, pre-set meal, the feature is really only ideal at restaurants with very basic menus (i.e. pizza chains). For the small sub-set of customers that take advantage of this feature, it's the ultimate convenience and may be adopted more, but don't expect it to be wide-spread among other restaurants or adopted by most customers.

2. Using Algorithms to Predict Orders

Restaurants may add algorithms to their online ordering systems as a way to predict a customer's next order. These algorithms will not only be able to predict what menu items you might order, but also when you want to eat based on your past orders. It's just another way to make the online ordering process faster and more effortless.

3. Online Ordering Will Outstrip Phone Orders

With online ordering being so easy to use and convenient for customers, it should come as no surprise that we will likely see online ordering outstrip phone ordering at many restaurants. More and more restaurants are implementing online ordering systems to make takeout ordering simpler for their customers and their operations. With online ordering systems for your restaurant, errors are effectively eliminated due to language barriers or background noise that may cause a communication failure.

Because of the convenience and control it offers customers, and the added efficiency it provides restaurants, it's a much better option than ordering via telephone. More restaurants will start to see online ordering grow as a larger component to their takeout/delivery service, virtually replacing the telephone.

4. Delivery Ordering Will Increase

With the increased popularity of online ordering, many restaurants are seeing an increase in delivery orders, especially in densely populated areas. Customers who prefer to dine in the comfort of their own homes appreciate the convenience delivery provides to them. By offering delivery, restaurants are able to expand their market.  With new, on-demand delivery services becoming increasingly more prevalent, the ability to offer customers a delivery option will become easier for many restaurants in 2016.

5. Prices May Drop at Restaurants

As more restaurants adopt online ordering platforms, they will have the opportunity to compete for customers in a variety of ways, which could lead to lower prices for customers. By engaging with customers online, and offering instant discounts and promotions, restaurants will have the ability to attract and retain more loyal customers. Look for complimentary online services to help restaurants reach more customers and boost restaurant online ordering in 2016. As online customer engagement increases, we may see restaurants competing for the extra business by offering specific promotions, driving prices down, and motivating more customers to order online.

Beyond 2016: The Future of Online Ordering

Online ordering is still progressing and major changes could be coming in the future.

Driverless Delivery

Could we see food being delivered via driverless cars?  Yep - it's possible. Google has had their very own self-driving car in the works for quite some time now. These cars are equipped with multiple sensors that allow them to detect people, vehicles, and other objects that are up to two football fields away. While Google's focus with driverless cars is to make the roads safer, we could one day see these cars delivering our food!

Drone Delivery

Could food be delivered via drones?  Yep - it's possible and you could be looking to the sky for your next meal. Online retailer, Amazon, plans to use drones to deliver packages to customers with the introduction of Amazon Prime Air. Their goal is to use drones to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. There's no reason that food delivery via drones can't be next!

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