Five Guys: Online, mobile ordering successful

Five Guys Burgers and Fries said online and mobile-device ordering has helped it eliminate phone order problems, increase transaction size and enhance customer service.

“We’re big fans” of online, text-message and smartphone ordering, said Steve Teller, project manager for Lorton, Va.-based Five Guys Enterprises LLC.

Teller said the better-burger chain of about 860 restaurants added online and mobile ordering, supported by vendor OLO Online Ordering, about 14 months ago to reduce potential problems during busy times. It also lets guests who order in advance jump the line in restaurants.

Previously, phone orders could snarl point-of-sale system terminals and increase the likelihood of order entry errors, Teller said.

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Teller said of the advance ordering that the chain’s burgers “holds rather well” when wrapped in foil and placed in a warm area. The chain tells people who make online and mobile orders that their fries won’t be cooked until they arrive at the restaurant, he said.

“We have found that our online orders are about 20 percent higher than call-in orders, and our call-in orders are bigger than our in-store orders,” Teller said.

While online orders have alleviated potential service problems and typically involve higher check amounts than phone or in-store orders, Five Guys and OLO officials did not say if online and mobile ordering has increased the overall number of transactions. However, they have said that some Five Guys restaurants may generate up to 26 percent of their lunch business volume through online and mobile ordering, according to case studies and other statements.

OLO chief executive Noah Herbert Glass said the mix of orders entered in the mobile app versus online ordering is rapidly changing. A year ago, he said, mobile app-based orders accounted for about 10 percent of that ordering mix, while today, 33 percent of orders on weekends may come from smartphones.

In all, Glass said, more than 250,000 people have downloaded Five Guys’ mobile app for Android operating system phones and iPhones.

In some cases, customers who enter restaurants with lines at the counter are using their mobile apps to place an order from the table to essentially leapfrog past others for service, Teller said.

Contact Alan J. Liddle at [email protected] [4].
Follow him on Twitter: @AJ_NRN [5]