Are Mobile Ordering Apps a New QSR Necessity?

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile ordering was a becoming a top priority for quick-service restaurants. Giving customers the power to place their own orders before leaving home can substantially increase operational throughput. With the pandemic and public safety concerns in play, mobile ordering has taken on new importance as a way to limit interaction and potential exposure.
Large, nationwide brands that the Dhanani Group franchises with, such as Burger King and Popeyes, already have mobile ordering apps available for download. Smaller, less drive-through-focused brands such as La Madeleine do not have one currently. But as the pandemic drags on, mobile ordering app usage is exploding—a trend which could very well continue long after the crisis recedes.
There are a number of reasons why quick service restaurants are experiencing success with mobile ordering apps:
  • Mobile ordering brings in more customers (namely, those that value the convenience and speed these apps provide).
  • Ordering ahead via mobile app reduces bottlenecks in the drive-thru lane or at the counter, allowing greater throughput.
  • Mobile ordering reduces bottlenecks in the kitchen, as orders are typically received well in advance of customer pickup, giving staff time to prep and fulfill orders without holding up the entire operation.
  • Mobile ordering reduces the need for face-to-face conversations between staff and customers, keeping everyone safer during the pandemic. (This can also facilitate contactless delivery or curbside pickup).
  • Mobile ordering apps can encourage customers to order more frequently and/or try new menu items with features such as loyalty/rewards programs, push notifications, and gamification elements such as achievements, leveling up, and more.
There’s another good reason why so many QSRs are implementing mobile ordering apps: Slowing the rise and proliferation of aggregators likeUber Eats, DoorDash, Postmates, and GrubHub.
These companies offer many of the same conveniences of branded mobile ordering apps that customers love, such as easy ordering from anywhere and contactless delivery. However, they eliminate many of the benefits for restaurants, including brand loyalty programs, menu item highlighting, and more. Most importantly, these third-party ordering apps cut into QSR profit margins with their outrageous commission fees.
Utilizing a proprietary mobile ordering app is a smart solution for both established or fast-growing QSRs that is popular with customers and can help insulatea brand fromthe (profit-killing) meal aggregator game.What’s more is that larger and larger numbers of customers are coming to rely upon and expect these apps from all of their favorite restaurant brands during the pandemic. That preference is not likely to fade away soon, even after the pandemic is over.
If you’re interested in building one of the world’s largest QSR empires as the Dhanani Group has done, you’d be wise to factor app functionality into your calculus on which franchises to invest with. It’s an important brand asset that’s currently growing more critical by the day.