We asked Preoday, the mobile and online ordering technology company allowing consumers to book, order online and pay for their food, drink and merchandise, for collection or delivery, what they think will be the key big trends to watch out for.
What do you see is the next big thing in digital ordering?
The industry now has pre-order for collection and delivery, as well as deliver-to-table; what’s less common but starting to grow in popularity is pay-at-table. In this scenario the customer arrives, sits at their table, ordering from their device and paying through it once the meal is over. It’s similar to the interactive tables that briefly gained attention a few years ago, but far more adaptable to different venues and restaurant formats.
How do you see voice activation / digital home devices impacting the industry?
Eventually they will be ubiquitous, appearing in nearly every home across the country. In the same way as the internet, or contactless payment cards, uptake has been slow to begin with, but we are nearing a tipping point. Once that point has been reached it will become more viable for more brands to invest in voice activated communications and ordering.
We’ll start seeing larger brands entering the arena first, as Domino’s. for instance, has already done, and the actions available will remain simple. Once consumers are on-board, the menu of options will expand, as will the number of companies using the channel.
What are the key digital trends you’re expecting in the food and hospitality industries in the next year, or more?
Operators are getting into their stride with digital ordering and we expect them to increasingly explore technology integrations that take the personalisation of their services a step further. Whether it’s a more sophisticated loyalty offering, a customer tracking technology or software to personalise menus based on nutritional choices, these ordering add-ons will take the customer experience to a fresh level.
As the industry moves towards greater automation as part of the customer experience, we would also expect to see a gathering use of artificial intelligence when responding to human enquiries. Using chatbots to answer simple questions, without the need to involve humans, can improve response times and leave operators free to respond to other, more complicated issues.
Beyond the next year, Blockchain will slowly move into the mainstream with its technology increasingly used to manage payments and supply chains. In theory, nearly every industry that deals with manufacture and supply of products can benefit, and will – eventually. Initially food operators will use it to streamline payments and transactions; it will cancel out the need to pay fees to credit card companies and streamline bank settlements.
Loyalty is becoming ever-more crucial to consumers as they look for ways to differentiate one brand over another. How do you see brands building on this and evolving their loyalty offerings?
Until now, many brands haven’t realised the absolute power of the data they collect from their customers. That’s beginning to change.
The more customer data that operators collect through their technologies, the better they are getting to know their customers as individuals, their eating habits and spending preferences. Increasingly brands are using this data to build more targeted and relevant experiences for their people – both in-store and online. In 2019, it’s not just about collecting stamps anymore.
In fact, we see the most successful digital loyalty campaigns being those that give the customer some level of choice in how their data is fed into their personal profile, influencing the promotions and benefits they are offered.
Consumers are always looking for that next ‘experience’. How do you see events organisations and brands evolving their offering through technology to improve upon the experience?
There’s going to be less attention placed on ‘unusual’ experiences as brands begin to realise that repeat and loyal customers care more about an emotional connection with a company. A unicorn that sprays champagne is a fantastic novelty, but it’s not going to bring a customer back time and time again.
According to research we conducted last year, 54% of bar, pub and restaurant professionals believe consumers are looking for a unique experience, however, just 21% of consumers actually factor it into their choice of eatery and a tiny 2% see is as the most important feature.
If the wider experience is to be improved, technology needs to be used both to enhance personalisation, as already mentioned, but also to perfect customer service. When applied to its full effect, guests should never see a delay; every element of the experience, from start to finish should feel easy, and be without hurdles.
With such an emphasis on food waste and eco-friendly packaging, how do you see technology supporting these initiatives?
For companies wanting to attract consumers interested in social responsibility (that’s most of the younger generations), it’s vital to demonstrate green credentials.
Loyalty technology is the ideal way to promote green-living amongst customers. If customers are given extra reward points for using reusable cups, for instance, they will be motivated to do so. Similarly if they receive a discount on their order when bringing their own cup or storage container in-store.
We believe that even small actions can make a big difference. One of our customers, a restaurant looking to become more eco-friendly, has done away with its disposable table menus in order to reduce its carbon footprint from printing and paper use and delivery. It has replaced them with a reusable version while encouraging guests to place orders via its mobile ordering app.
What can we expect to see from Preoday in the next year?
Lots of exciting customers, technology integrations and product innovations!
While we can’t say too much yet, each of the product developments on the horizon has been designed to meet very specific challenges for operators and their customers. These are not developments for developments’ sake, they will have a noticeable, positive impact for users.
We are continuing to grow in sectors that have embraced and flourished with mobile ordering, such as QSRs and contract caterers, and are moving further into areas including food halls and universities.