Patrons in a restaurant and bar waiting area.

Among other findings, the survey found that 49 percent of respondents wish to minimize human interaction by reserving tables, ordering and paying through a mobile phone.

According to a new study released by Oracle Food and Beverage, customers are very keen to get back to the restaurant experience. On top of that, customers who are coming back want especially to patronize their favorite restaurants and use their phones for more than talking.

The global survey, conducted by Untold Insights on behalf of Oracle Food and Beverage, polled 511 U.S. residents and an additional 1,533 consumers in Australia, the United Kingdom and Mexico.

In the United States, the poll found that 71 percent of respondents were ready to eat at restaurants again and 42 percent felt comfortable eating indoors. Moreover, the respondents in the U.S. said they plan on eating out more often: 79 percent plan on dining out monthly (as opposed to 59 percent last year).

Using mobile phones even more

As consumers begin dining out more frequently, they’re also looking to cut down on interactions with other humans. Some of these survey findings appear to be the normalizing of behaviors that began during the pandemic.

To that end, here’s what survey respondents had to say about using their phones in a hospitality setting:

  • 49 percent wish to minimize human interaction by reserving tables, ordering and paying through a mobile phone
  • 46 percent want to settle the bill on a mobile app without waiting for a server
  • 39 percent prefer to order ahead on their device to reduce wait times
  • 37 percent would like to track the status of their order through a mobile app

Takeout: Customers prefer ordering directly from a restaurant

Overall, the survey found that delivery apps are useful for discovering new restaurants but customers prefer to order directly from a restaurant once they become familiar with it.

Here’s what survey respondents had to say about delivery apps overall:

  • 42 percent discover a range of restaurants through delivery apps
  • 48 percent want to order directly from a restaurant because they want to support the local economy
  • 78 percent of consumers in the US and UK want to engage directly with the restaurant
  • 71 percent believe delivery apps are good/very good for restaurants
  • 52 percent believe delivery apps charge less than 10 percent in fees
  • 23 percent don’t know who has access to their data

Customers are more loyal to their favorite restaurants

Some of the survey respondents reported being ‘devastated’ last year when they could not eat at their favorite restaurants. In what may be a case of ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder,’ many of these customers say they are even more loyal to their favorite restaurants now.

So, it may come as no surprise that the majority of customers feel more loyal to the restaurant itself than to the delivery app. Here’s what they had to say about loyalty:

  • 77 percent say they are more loyal to the restaurant than to the delivery app
  • 47 percent seek out promotions and discounts directly from restaurants.
  • 40 percent look to restaurants for loyalty/rewards schemes

It should be noted that loyalty has its limitations: 30 percent of US consumers say they have stopped ordering takeout from a restaurant after a bad customer experience.

When they do decide to order takeout, here’s the breakdown of preferences for how customers want to order:

  • 66 percent prefer to order takeout directly from the restaurant’s website or app
  • 36 percent prefer to order takeout through an aggregator or delivery app
  • 35 percent prefer to order on the phone

Other findings

The survey uncovered some additional insights on restaurant consumers in 2021. Here are some of those findings:

  • 73 percent of US customers plan to use less cash or avoid it completely
  • 61 percent want to see the restaurant’s cleanliness rating online
  • 53 percent want to learn about ingredients/allergens online

Want to learn how a great restaurant point of sale system can improve operations and boost customer loyalty? Contact us today for a demo or to answer any questions you might have.

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