Diners find mobile-aided ordering palatable

From offering consumers apps to pre-order food, touch screens for food selections and orders taken on a tablet by an employee, it’s clear that fast-food, quick-service and full-service restaurants are attempting to carve out a piece of the mobile pie. The good news for dining establishments is that generally speaking, mobile users are open to trying these new twists to the ordering ritual. The bad news? For nearly half of mobile users, the jury is still out on whether the use of mobile technology at restaurants actually makes the experience better, according to a recent survey conducted by Prosper Mobile Insights.

For those who’ve chosen a side, it seems as though tablet order-takers and order-ahead apps are more likely to improve the dining out experience. Among mobile users who were asked the question “Do you think the use of mobile technology in ordering at a restaurant makes your experience better or worse?” being able to order on their own mobile device ahead of time was seen as making their experience better by 59.8 percent of diners (5.7 percent said this would make things worse). Having an employee take their order in line at a quick-service restaurant (Panera, Chipotle): 45.3 percent said better; 7.3 percent worse. Having an employee take their order in a fast-food drive-thru: 41.7 percent said better; 8.8 percent worse. Having an employee take their order at a full-service restaurant: 41.4 percent said better; 9.1 percent said worse.

“Consumers are more likely to think mobile will improve their eating experiences when they are in a rush – for instance, in a drive-thru – versus those occasions when they want to unwind – say feasting at a full-service restaurant,” said Pam Goodfellow, consumer insights director at BIGinsight, in a press release.

Just under half (43.2 percent) have experienced some form of mobile ordering at a restaurant. Nearly a quarter (24.2 percent) have used their smartphone or tablet to place an order ahead of time; 21.1 percent had an employee in a drive-thru use mobile to take their order and 17.5 percent have experienced this at a quick-service restaurant or sit-down establishment. This trend is only likely to grow: mobile usage continues to climb and early adopters seem to approve of the use of smartphones and tablets to better their dining out experiences.

Other findings on mobile users:

• Over half (52.3 percent) say they’ve used their smartphone or tablet as a coupon (by scanning a bar code or showing a text or e-mail to a cashier, etc.).

• Three in five (60.1 percent) say location-based coupons are convenient and useful. However, 45.3 percent are concerned about security issues and their location being tracked.

• The majority (56.8 percent) would prefer to receive coupons on a smartphone or tablet via e-mail. One in four (24.5 percent) prefer to receive promotions automatically when they are near a store.

Click here for more information on the study (registration required).

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