Sponsored by Rakuten Ready
In today’s “now” economy, when consumers can have virtually any product shipped to them on demand, meal delivery is a common option. However, when you look at the facts, order-for-pickup is the superior solution for giving them fast, convenient food when they want it and without the hassles that come with delivery.
Consumers have good reasons for ordering meals with mobile apps and picking them up in person at the restaurant. For one thing, they don’t have to deal with the downsides of delivery, such as cold food, incorrect orders, leaky packages and delivery charges. For another, ordering ahead can spare them the long, frustrating delays that often occur in meal delivery. Overall, order-for-pickup has been found to be more convenient and time-efficient for consumers than meal delivery.
For operators, order-for-pickup represents a seamless path to incremental sales and more loyal customers without the margin-eating fees of third-party delivery services. In addition, it enables operators to capture valuable customer data that third-party partners typically keep for themselves. In brief, mobile order-ahead provides lower costs, extra sales opportunities, slashes customer waits and drives brand loyalty.
Understanding customer expectations
However, almost all restaurant brands are struggling to build order-for-pickup programs that meet all customer expectations in the “now” economy.
"Just offering order-for-pickup or delivery is not as simple as adding a feature on your website or app and marketing the service," said Jaron Waldman, co-founder and CEO of Rakuten Ready. "It is critical that brands fully understand customer expectations so they can focus on improving the end-to-end experience — particularly that dreaded last mile, which can make or break the whole experience with your brand."
For a clearer understanding of the order-for-pickup experience, Rakuten Ready commissioned a benchmark time study including 10 leading quick-service restaurant brands. The Rakuten Ready 2019 Time Study leveraged Secret Shoppers who placed more than 750 orders, across the US, for both curbside and in-store food pickup. Included were brands with employee-attended pickup areas as well as brands that enable patrons to pick up their orders from unattended pickup stations. The study gathered quantitative data about customer wait time as well as qualitative data about the availability and convenience of parking, the visibility of in-store signage and how well trained the employees were to process pickup orders.
Key finding: Wait time is tops
The study shows that wait time is the most important metric customers use to judge order-ahead programs, although it is not the only one. That was in keeping with previous Rakuten Ready research that found 95% of customers said having their order ready on time was the most important factor. Customers who waited less than two minutes — the “magic mark,” according to actual Rakuten Ready order data — were four times more likely to order again and become loyal customers, compared to customers who waited 10 minutes.
The book on order-for-pickup
Attended in-store pickup is not only beneficial for customers, it can also drive incremental sales for brands. The study found that 58% of QSR orders were ready for patrons to pick up in less than two minutes and 78% of QSR orders were ready in less than four minutes.
Unattended pickup offers customers the additional convenience and time savings of directly picking up their order from the shelf without interacting with employees. In the study, 83% of orders were ready in less than two minutes and 93% were ready in less than four minutes.
Overall, the average time customers waited to pick up their orders in QSRs was 2:29 minutes.
Best practices for order-ahead
The study also concluded that brands have a lot of work to do to optimize curbside and in-store pickup programs, both in terms of shortening wait times and removing “last mile” obstacles — those that impede a seamless pickup at the restaurant.
- Prioritize low customer-wait-time. Even among the highest-performing brands in the time study, customer wait times and experiences varied at different locations and even in the same location at different times of the day.
- Focus on logistics and infrastructure. A designated parking area for mobile-order customers and clear signage for pickup areas will reduce wait time and positively impact customer perception.
- Empower and train employees. Training and empowering a capable frontline staff to manage and process online orders is paramount.
- Promote the brand. Brands must launch dedicated, unique marketing campaigns directed to both customers and employees.
- Leverage technology. Industry-leading order-for-pickup technology can minimize wait times and increase customer satisfaction.
The Rakuten Ready solution
Rakuten Ready is the leader in order-for-pickup technology that delivers a superior customer experience.
Every minute is precious for time-starved consumers in the “now” economy. Rakuten Ready’s ARRIVE solution gives them a fast, convenient, order-ahead-and-pickup experience and boosts incremental sales.
The Rakuten Ready 2019 Time Study highlights who performed best on wait times and best practices for QSR brands. The insights can help any brand improve its processes — specifically customer wait time — to reap the benefits of order for pickup service.
Want to find out how the order-for-pickup experience compared across top QSR brands? To learn more about the Rakuten Ready 2019 Time Study, visit rakutenready.com/time.