We’ve been passing this new piece about mobile fast-food ordering from Mobile Marketer magazine around the office this week. It’s a real eye-opener that shows that “fast food” is getting even faster, with the advent of successful apps that allow for rapid ordering and food/beverage pick-up.
The tipping point for mobile fast-food apps arrived a lot quicker than we thought it would, and they’re having an instant and outsized impact on these companies’ bottom lines. A few proof points:
- More than a third of fast-food customers said they would rather order food from quick-service restaurants using their mobile device, versus ordering at the counter. This is already happening, and the article lists some great examples from Shake Shack, McDonald’s and Sweden’s Max.
- Taco Bell customers spend 30% more, on average, when ordering via the Taco Bell app, compared with in-store orders. There’s some classic consumer psychology at play there, with a non-visible credit card backing up the mobile app order leading to decreased inhibitions in adding extra items to an order, versus some consumers’ reluctance to add more when they’re paying with cash, or when they’re ordering from a human cashier (who may or may not be mentally reproaching you for overeating).
- Frustrated mobile users will go elsewhere. Starbucks had some initial difficulty integrating its popular mobile app ordering process with the ability to fulfill these orders in retail stores. It certainly works the other way as well. A lightning-fast fulfillment process at the store/restaurant’s counter doesn’t mean much is the mobile app suffers from errors or timeouts, or even if it’s just a little bit slower than a competitor’s app. Sometimes, for many users, a burger is a burger, or a latte is a latte. Fickle consumers have proven time and again that they’ll trade one mobile app brand for another, even where there’s only mere seconds between them in terms of speed and performance.
Shake Shack even found that some customers place their orders up to 24 hours in advance via their app (!). That’s a massive mobile app-based advantage that physical retail will never have, and a harbinger of a great deal more growth in fast-food mobile orders in the months to come.