According to data from Ofcom, two thirds of the UK population now own a smartphone.
In today’s digital age, with so many people equipped with what is essentially a handheld computer, it has become crucial for pubs to take advantage of this digital touchpoint.
Mobile ordering has been around for a while now with JD Wetherspoon arguably the only significant pub operator to join the mobile ordering revolution in the UK.
The pub giant unleashed into the digital world in 2017 with its Order & Pay app – specifically made so that nobody would ever have to queue at the bar again.
The way it works is simple enough: you tell it what table you’re at, what food or drink you want, and pay for it. Seconds or minutes later your request will arrive, served by one of the bar staff.
The app has seen Wetherspoon thrive with increased sales and revenue, evidently showing that there is value in offering customers the opportunity to digitally order their food and beverages from their table or before arriving at the bar.
But why aren’t more pubs taking advantage of this initiative?
Nick Hucker, CEO at mobile and ordering technology provider Preoday, claims pubs that take advantage of a table ordering app, will see “immediate results” with increased custom and revenue.
“At Preoday, we see digital ordering providing an opportunity for pub and bar operators to cater for more customers, faster than ever,” explained Hucker.
“Given the enhanced convenient service, pubs and bars are ideally placed to maximise profitability per customer and increase average order value.
“The improvement in customer experience can also be enhanced as guests no longer have to leave their friends to place orders; this can result in increased order volumes as customers are not put off by queue size.”
The role of technology and payment apps within the pub industry is now coming into its own with the rise of the cashless pub.
Pub operators shouldn’t be put off by the thought of implementing technology such as digital ordering – it is a lot easier than you may think.
O'Neill's Irish Pubs & Bars, which has rolled out its own Order & Pay app, is encouraging other operators across the country to invest in technology.
The pub chain say they "significantly invested" in improving technology in its pub to cater for its customers.
An O’Neill’s spokesperson added: “We’re constantly looking at ways each experience can be enhanced, from teaming up with the likes of MatchPint to launching our Order at Table service so fans don’t have to miss any second of the match."
Tabology, which provides EPOS & self service technology to restaurants, pubs and bars, say their technology has been highly praised within the hospitality sector.
"We’ve seen first hand from customers using our iPad menus and smartphone ordering apps how much the technology improves the customer experience,” explained Tabology's managing director, Phil Neale.
"We hear concerns about the technology detracting from the social aspect, but in our experience it’s the opposite.
"Customers spend more time with their mates instead of in the bar queue, and staff have a much better opportunity to interact with customers at the table then they usually get from behind the bar."
One thing is for sure, the potential for pubs and bars to grow revenue and customer retention by using technologies like digital ordering is vast.
Those who are sceptical should not be put off by assuming that implementation is complicated and should look out for providers that make life as easy for them as possible.