Tim Chapman from EPoS provider for pubs, hotels and restaurants, Zonal, presented research on the latest consumer attitudes towards mobile technology in pubs to The Morning Advertiser’s MA500 conference in Sheffield.
In collaboration with CGA Insight, Zonal conducted a survey of 5,000 consumers examining the latest tech habits and trends in the last quarter.
Food delivery on the rise
Chapman highlighted that, according to Zonal and CGA’s latest survey, to be released at the end of September 2018, “the biggest rise was people using their mobiles to order takeaways”.
The growth of apps such as Deliveroo and Just Eat stood out, with more than a quarter of Brits stating that they order more food deliveries than a year ago.
Chapman also flagged that this was especially prevalent among younger customers, with half of food deliveries being ordered by Millennials.
“People want restaurant-quality food delivered to the home. For outlets wanting to maximise the use of their kitchens it pays to invest in infrastructure,” he said.
“Perception of quality is also improving – consumers state that 61% of food delivered is better than or equal to what they receive in a restaurant.”
Chapman highlighted that keeping abreast of mobile technology and social media in the hospitality sector is essential in engaging younger customers.
He added: “Millennials operate their entire lives via mobile phones.
“Facebook is seen as a platform for the older generation. Keeping up with the latest platforms is essential as social media is an ever-changing environment.”
Rise of feedback
According to CGA and Zonal findings, more customers were providing feedback on hospitality venues, most often while customers were on the move on the way home from a night out – a trend driven, again, by younger age groups with 3% more younger customers having given feedback than three months ago.
Chapman also highlighted that 65% of consumers expected something in return for giving their feedback, for example, a voucher for a return visit.
Moreover, the number of customers reading feedback prior to visiting a venue grew by 4% in the past three months.
Using mobile out of the home
A key finding from the latest research was that 30% of customers have used their mobile phone to pay in a pub.
This percentage rises to 45% in restaurants, but falls to 29% in coffee shops and 22% in bars.
Chapman explained: “More than half of them are in the Millennial age bracket.
"They eat and drink out more, they spend more, they earn more and are far more technical and socially savvy.
"They have a higher expectation of their digital experience.
“Convenience tools are becoming the norm.”
When asked why using an app improved the eating or drinking-out experience, 40% responded that it allowed them to pay quicker – the top response – 34% said it meant they didn’t have to queue while 30% said it was more convenient.
According to Chapman, while convenience and speed of payment were main reasons for app payment, one unexpected finding was that 14% of customers said that they used an app to pay for and order in a bar, pub or restaurant because they didn’t want to interact with staff.
What do people want to see on hospitality apps?
In response to being asked ‘thinking about restaurant, bar and pub apps, which features, if any, would you like to see included?’, 34% of respondents answered loyalty, while 33% said promotions.
Just under a quarter of those asked (24%) stated payment, while 22% said they’d like to see ordering features on hospitality apps.
Moreover, in a trend largely encouraged by the growth of platforms such as Instagram, according to Chapman, 16% of those surveyed said they’d want to see photos of the venue and its food or drink included in an app.
Apps drive footfall
More than a quarter of the survey’s respondents (27%) agreed that the use of apps and tablets makes it more likely they’ll visit a site again.
In light of this, Chapman states: “It’s important to recognise that technology should be a facilitator. Staff who train their customers on how to use it find it’s massively beneficial.
“We think a tablet or an app should only allow your staff to work smarter but not replace interaction.”