Over the last few years, quick-service restaurants (QSRs) have focused on introducing mobile apps and designated pickup lines that help busy customers get in, get their meals and get out — ASAP. However, not all customers want to eat in the car, at home or in the office cafeteria. Some QSRs are enabling mobile order-ahead for sit-down service to provide a dining experience suited to fast-paced lifestyles.
In the September Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker, PYMNTS charts these new approaches and provides updates from both new entrants and established players alike in the mobile ordering scene.
Around The Mobile Order-Ahead World
While some players look to stand out with new takes on mobile order-ahead, others are simply trying to get in on the trend.
Small, independent coffee shops, for one, struggle to compete with larger players that boast robust mobile apps and offer seamless ordering. The slim margins of the food and beverage industry can make it more challenging to offer order-ahead services. Some cafes, though, are seeing promise in tapping third-party service providers and are turning to companies like Joe Coffee to help them offer mobile order-ahead. Joe Coffee, which recently raised funding for an app redesign, gives mobile order-ahead capabilities to small cafes for free, while generating profit by charging their customers a small service fee.
Wayback Burgers also recently debuted its mobile ordering service with an app intended to either order takeout or streamline the dine-in experience. The app features digital, shareable gift cards, loyalty points and rewards, and social media connection.
Meanwhile, another burger chain is doubling down on efforts to improve its mobile ordering service. Sonic Drive-In recently introduced its mobile ordering to Monroe, Louisiana, where it has six locations, and is working to drive usage with promotions that offer half-priced drinks and slushes ordered through the app. The company aims to bring its order-ahead service to all of its locations by the end of this year.
How Portillo’s Caters To Cravings For Group Order-Ahead
Portillo’s has been at work tweaking and tailoring its mobile order-ahead to meet demand. During its two years of offering the service, the Chicago-based restaurant chain has been watching how customers interact with mobile ordering and has adjusted its offering with features shaped by those observations.
Along with offering order-ahead for individual meals, Portillo’s started featuring mobile order-ahead for group catering to sate the demand for office lunches. A flurry of special order requests also inspired the QSR to add more customization options into its platform — all while working to keep the back-end processes simple for staff.
In this month’s feature story, John Holmes, Portillo’s vice president of IT, and Nick Scarpino, the company’s vice president of marketing and public relations, explain how the company designed and expanded its service, made decisions on how to best ensure secure payment handling, and why its app lets customers order ahead on a pound of beef and a heating kit.
For the full story, download the Tracker.
About The Tracker
The Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker™, powered by Kount, serves as a monthly framework for the space, providing coverage of the most recent news and trends, along with a provider directory that highlights the key players contributing across the segments that comprise the mobile order-ahead ecosystem.