As published in Hospitality Technology
Tech Trends that Will Continue
to Improve Online Food Ordering in 2018
Consumer demand for an efficient “dine-in” experience
propels operators to embrace innovation
By Patrick Eldon, Chief Executive Officer
According to our recently conducted Online Ordering Usage survey, at least 45 percent of U.S. adults believe that within the next 12 months, they will increase their use of online ordering, with nearly two thirds of Americans already in the habit of ordering digitally via an app or website. As online food ordering increasingly becomes an American way of life, restaurant operators must work one step ahead of current consumer demand to maximize sales and maintain a strong brand reputation. Luckily, technology and software companies, who make it their business to stay ahead of the trends, offer restaurants the latest and greatest forward-thinking software to improve operations and ensure customer satisfaction.
As online ordering moves full steam ahead in 2018 with growth and innovation, here are some top topics that are in the news relating to online ordering platforms:
Let’s face it, a mobile-first mentality is now the norm. The smartphone is the hub where consumers interact with a variety of brands on a minute-to-minute basis. If potential customers can specify their order preferences, pay for their food in a snap, reap the rewards and count on speedy delivery, a restaurant can expect to see increased sales and loyalty. So, it should come as no surprise that restaurants are clamoring to add digital wallets to their platforms to further streamline the online ordering experience and delight time-sensitive consumers. Although there are still some barriers and limitations, such as security concerns and a limited number of compatible vendors, mobile payments have not only changed the way we pay for goods and services, but expanded how businesses and consumers interact.
With the rise of native mobile apps, it is only natural that mobile fast-pay programs such as Android Pay and Apple Pay are also becoming the new norm. Not only are consumers utilizing this method in stores, they can now use it through the web from a desktop computer. Therefore, mobile payments have become a crucial component that restaurant operators need to begin adopting if they have not already. Restaurants can partner with digital ordering companies, like orderTalk, Inc., that understand the complexities of the restaurant industry and can create seamless transitions to continue keeping customers coming back for more.
Adoption of Third-Party Delivery
In the world of online ordering, convenience is key. The only thing better than being able to order online is having it delivered to your door. Therefore, the proliferation of third-party delivery services has reshaped consumer demands. Postmates, Seamless, UberEats, GrubHub and now Amazon are a few of the leaders in the quickly growing field. As these services expand their delivery zones and customer base, restaurant operators must adapt their operations accordingly.
Since delivery orders account for a significant amount of revenue, the integration of the order into the delivery system is just as important as the service itself. When an order is placed for delivery, the transaction is relayed to the restaurant and the delivery provider simultaneously by the digital ordering platform. Having a digital solution that can smoothly streamline orders is crucial for successfully providing the option of delivery.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has arrived and it is here to stay. Various leading brands have embraced artificial intelligence as an exciting opportunity for growth. Its applications are being tested all around the world throughout various industries. From self-driving cars, voice-powered personal assistants and so much more, there is no limit when it comes to AI. orderTalk, Inc. has embraced AI to develop a new patent-pending software solution that will facilitate delivery order input, without the need for employee intervention. The software, called ERICA, which stands for “Emulated Register Input Control Adapter,” will work on any modern restaurant POS system and can be installed within an hour or two. Innovations like this will decrease a restaurant’s operational costs by minimizing the need to designate an employee to oversee delivery input from tablets. ERICA will also increase efficiency and ensure that consumers receive orders within a reasonable time-frame.
Social Media, Bitcoins and Beyond
Social media encompasses our lives each and every day whether we realize it or not. So much so that consumers can now order food right from a restaurant’s Facebook page on both desktop and mobile. Social media platforms can partner with existing delivery services and the restaurant’s digital ordering software company can then link the two together.
Bitcoin may not be new, but it is receiving significant media attention. Bitcoins are essentially virtual banking currency of the internet and more and more people are using bitcoins to pay for goods and services online. Retailers and services have been accepting bitcoins as a form of payment for some time now. Restaurant operators need to be aware as this currency grows in popularity. We believe it’s too new at this point to move forward with acceptance, but it is certainly a trending topic and one to keep an eye on.
Overall, 2017 saw tremendous growth and development in the world of online ordering for restaurants. If the past is any indication to what lies ahead, there is no doubt 2018 will be a year filled with more advancements and innovation in technology that will be applied to the evolution of digital ordering software solutions.
Patrick Eldon Bio
Patrick Eldon is the chief executive officer for orderTalk, Inc. Since joining orderTalk and launching it as a software and service provider in 2004, Eldon has served as CEO. Under his leadership, orderTalk has provided digital ordering solutions for the restaurant industry worldwide offering expedient, dependable and secure online ordering systems. As CEO of orderTalk, Patrick leads the sales, technology, projects and marketing teams responsible for implementing the company’s strategic direction. Under his leadership, orderTalk has unveiled Erica, a patent-pending universal artificial intelligence plug and play POS integration. The easy-to-install software will input third-party delivery food orders directly into a restaurant’s POS system without the need for employee intervention or tablet monitoring. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.