Australians demand zero waiting times

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th September 2019

In today’s ‘need it now’ economy, perhaps it’s not surprising that Australia is turning into a nation with a low tolerance for waiting, particularly when it comes to food.

Digital ordering, defined as any order placed through the internet, a website or mobile app, now represents 177 Million visits and a 31 percent change versus a year ago, according to the latest CREST trends report released by leading global research company, The NPD Group.

“For our busy population, time is precious, and this is especially true when consumers make food choices. A lot of pressure is placed on the foodservice industry to meet consumer needs, and zero waiting times is one of the more recent requirements as we shift towards digitalisation within the foodservice industry,” says Gimantha Jayasinghe, Deputy Managing Director, APAC, at The NPD Group.

Unsurprisingly with the increasing mobile lifestyle of Australian consumers, mobile app ordering (37 percent traffic share of digital orders) has become more popular than website ordering (34 percent). “With technology at our fingertips, waiting for something can cause frustration and anxiety, but even more so when we’re hungry,” commented Jayasinghe. “Whether in a hurry or not, customers now value their time more and more. People don’t want to wait in long queues for a meal or a cup of coffee. And increasingly, they don’t have to.”

Mobile app ordering, where an order is placed via a mobile app for in-store pick up, is proving a big winner with consumers. 37 million foodservice orders are now placed via this method. With all roads pointing to customer satisfaction, it comes as no surprise that tech-savvy customers are effectively dictating the success of modern foodservice venues.

Jayasinghe continued, “Not only is this area growing at a phenomenal pace but also it’s providing the highest consumer satisfaction in terms of speed of service. In addition to cutting out the waiting time, a lot of mobile apps allow simple reorder options, which speeds up the process even more.”

Predictably it is millennials [18-34 years old (45 percent)] that are driving this pre-ordering trend, followed by 35-49 years old (25 percent) and Under 18 years old (23 percent).

Order ahead services answer the need of customers who are happy to leave the comfort of their home to pick up food or want to grab a coffee on the walk between the train station and work but don’t want to hang around.

Major QSR chains that have invested in their own mobile apps for pre-ordering have experienced significant traffic gains over the past year, with the category growing 49 percent compared to last year. In addition to the main QSR giants, the pre-ordering of coffee for pick-up in-store is a segment to watch.

Consumers that live in metropolitan areas account for most mobile pre-ordering visits (88 percent) in contrast to rural areas (12 percent) and men use mobile pre-ordering (64 percent of visits) more than women (36 percent).

More than two-thirds of digital consumers (69 percent) report ordering directly from the eating place, broken down into app/website ordering (42 percent) and kiosk ordering (27 percent). Self-serve kiosks, which are relatively new to the industry, have managed to capture 2 percent of the foodservice traffic already.

“Mobile pre-ordering is really increasing as working consumers grab coffee on the way to work or drop into a restaurant to quickly pick up dinner for their family on the way home,” says Jayasinghe. “To stay ahead of the curve and to ensure customer satisfaction, foodservice providers need to consider mobile apps if they haven’t already.”