4 Ways Mobile Can Drive Fast Food Traffic

Having a good digital strategy in place means fast-food retailers are better equipped for now and for the ‘new normal’.

After several months in lockdown, the UK is starting to see the resurgence of fast food outlets, cafes, pubs, and restaurants once more.

Many fast food businesses, including KFC, Pret-A-Manger, and Burger King, have been restricted to running a “delivery-only” model for the past few months while others like Nando’s have only just recently restarted their delivery service.

Even with lockdown restrictions easing up, fast food vendors have felt the repercussions of lockdown. Delivery-only has been one of the main ways these businesses have coped during the pandemic, which is why it is absolutely essential that businesses have a good mobile strategy to facilitate this; mobile is now more important than ever before.

Additionally, having a good mobile strategy in place means fast food retailers are better equipped for the ‘new normal’, which will help drive sales to start making up for some of the revenue lost. Even pre-COVID-19, it should be noted that mobile apps were a major component of food delivery, with an estimated 39 percent of fast food and takeaway orders made via an app in the UK – and this figure is increasing year-on-year.

1. Pay now, collect later

One of the key benefits of mobile is the ability to cut down waiting times and long queues, which is especially important when social distancing is such a high priority for businesses and consumers. Advanced payments, which can be made through mobile, allow consumers to pay for their food before they’ve collected it.

Previously, consumers would need to queue, order their food at the counter, and then wait to pick it up. The more customers that enter, the more congested a store becomes. With a mobile app, customers can easily order the food from their home or en route, pay via the app, and then by the time they reach their destination the food is collected almost instantly. Users can be in and out within less than a minute. Customer satisfaction also increases – nobody likes to queue!

Having customers order via an app also opens up new channels for different types of payments such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Paypal. Additionally, many food and drink vendors like Costa Coffee, are outright banning cash payments due to hygiene concerns, so it’s especially beneficial to offer as many payment options as you can to make up for this.

Even if vendors do still accept cash, consumers are preferring to use digital payments: a Visa survey of consumers from across 40 countries worldwide found that we’re headed toward an increasingly cashless society. In Europe alone, the digital payments market is expected to hit $802 billion this year, having increased over 30 percent in the past three years, and we can expect this to continue increasing year on year.

2. Easy order fulfillment

On that same note, if customers purchase their food via an app, then this hugely simplifies the order process. It helps dramatically cut the requirement of having to hire staff dedicated to answering customer calls or process orders at the register. Additionally, since the user inputs information into the app, there’s likely to be less confusion over information such as the delivery address or food order.

Additionally, users have a much more visible and user-friendly view of the menu, and can take the time to browse, which might not be a luxury that can be afforded in-store. Mobile users don’t have added pressure to order quickly, so they can spend half an hour deliberating their decision if they wish.

3. Localisation

A mobile strategy also allows businesses to take advantage of localisation. With the use of beacon technology in your store, users within a certain distance of an outlet can be alerted about discounts or new products via a push notification on their mobile device. This can be particularly beneficial to businesses in high density areas or for those who operate in areas with heavy foot traffic.

Beacon technology can be used in a very easy and effective way. Take Starbucks as an example; customers with the Starbucks app can be alerted about deals if they reach a certain distance from one of their stores. Though beacon technology can be used in many other creative ways; for instance, Starbucks Reserve Roasteries uses beacon technology to allow users to discover the story behind their coffee beans as they move around the shop.

One of the most ingenious uses of beacon technology was Burger King’s ‘Whopper Detour’ campaign, which saw Burger King gain 1.5 million app downloads from a campaign that only lasted nine days. Smartphone users with the BK app were offered 1-cent Whoppers if they got within 600 feet of a McDonalds. Once the offer was activated, users were then navigated away from McDonalds and towards the nearest Burger King outlet.

Starbucks and Burger King are fantastic examples that prove the effectiveness of localisation strategies through an app. It should also be noted that beacon/location technology is not just a gimmick or novelty that will disappear in a few years. In fact, the opposite is true; with the global beacon market expected to reach $45,213M by 2026, we can expect location technology to become more precise, provide more personalised offers, and offer increased differentiation across different regions.

Customer loyalty

Mobile can also be integrated with a loyalty program. Loyalty cards can be integrated into an app so that users never lose their card. They can also drive sales during promotions, for instance, a sale might become much more appealing to a user if they also can earn double or triple loyalty points if they use the app.

Moe’s – the US-based fast food restaurant – is one of the many businesses to have embraced a mobile loyalty strategy with their extensive rewards program that they offer via their app. Moe’s has different tiers with each tier offering different rewards (with higher tiers offering better rewards), which encourages its users to buy more and refer their friends in order to “level-up” into the next tier to receive free food, credit, and premium offers.

Offering loyalty points for downloading an app, purchasing more, providing feedback, referring friends, sharing social media content, purchasing ahead of time, etc. can all be tracked and easily enabled via an app.

Don’t lag behind

These days, it’s almost an expectation that a fast-food retailer should have a mobile application for customers. There are several things retailers need to consider, however, to ensure their mobile strategies are successful. For example, as well as having a consumer app, an employee-facing app is also necessary to help with operational efficiency behind-the-scenes.

We are currently offering free consultations to restaurants who need advice on how to bounce back and develop their mobile strategies. Get in touch to discuss yours.