Technology has permeated every corner of the restaurant industry, from how we vet prospective hires to how our customers order their meals. The pandemic helped solidify this shift, forcing the last few “analog” diners to adopt digital ordering.
But how will the past few years of takeout and online orders influence restaurants in the future? Here are a few trends you need to know.
Gen Z Prefers Online Orders
If a restaurant owner wants their business to thrive for years, they need to keep an eye on what Gen Z is doing. This demographic makes up over 20% of the U.S. population, ranging in age from 10 to 26. As this group gets older, they’re likely to gain greater consumer influence and purchasing power – which means restaurants should adjust to suit Gen Z’s needs.
According to research from Technomic, Gen Z is the group most likely to order food online. About 9% of Gen Z-ers ordered food for pickup from a restaurant. In contrast, Baby Boomers (long considered the most powerful generation) only ordered online for pickup 4% of the time. As Gen Z and subsequent generations age, online ordering will likely become a significant portion of restaurant sales.
App Orders Reign Supreme
Online ordering increased substantially during the pandemic – but where are people placing their orders specifically?
According to research from Restaurant Technology News, nearly 60% of digital orders are placed through a restaurant’s mobile app. This is great news for restaurant owners; if diners order directly through your company’s app, you don’t have to worry about paying commission fees to apps like DoorDash and Grubhub.
Of course, if you don’t have a mobile app for your restaurant, you will miss out on this massive share of the online market! This is a major reason why restaurants should invest in their online presence through websites and apps.
A Breakfast Boom
Finally, restaurants have seen a significant shift in when diners place their orders. While 6 p.m. on Friday is still the most popular time for diners (both in person and online), breakfast orders – between 5 and 10 a.m. – have tripled between 2021 and 2022. This trend can impact a restaurant’s needs in a big way, from the number of employees they schedule during morning shifts to the quantity of breakfast ingredients they order.
If you keep a close eye on trends like these, you can make subtle adjustments that allow your restaurant to flourish in the digital age and beyond.