Quick Service Restaurants Increasingly Turn To Mobile Orders, In-Store Pickup

February 8, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

“With a great experience, you need great convenience.” That’s the word from Shake Shack CEO Randy Garutti, who pointed out recently how his popular restaurant chain is increasingly looking to bring digital options into play. While for Shake Shack, this means a robust digital order-ahead system that includes mobile payments, that’s not always the same throughout the industry. It does, however, seem to be picking up, as recently noted in the PYMNTS Restaurant Readiness Index study.

The good news is that just under half of quick-service restaurants (QSRs) studied therein are offering an in-store pickup feature. That’s true for 45.1 percent of studied QSRs, and a good sign toward future development. Shake Shack is one of these, and there are plenty of others like McDonald’s who are making strides on that front.

Loyalty coupons are also in play. Just 16.5 percent of QSRs can claim the addition of a loyalty program on their app. Just a meager 1.3 percent boast curbside pickup of orders, a move that would go a long way in establishing convenience. However, this may be ameliorated by the existence of the drive-thru window.

Digital payments are also surprisingly slim in nature, with only 4.2 percent allowing such efforts, a point that should be a no-brainer for all concerned. After all, if you’re going to let people order remotely, why not let them pay for that same order by those same remote principles? Surprisingly, more QSRs offer predictive ordering, at 9.2 percent.

It’s astonishing that more places aren’t connecting mobile payments systems to their mobile order apps. It’s a development that goes literally hand-in-glove; if you’re letting people order ahead, why not let them pay ahead too? Granted, not that many people are using mobile payment systems as yet, but lay the groundwork. Take credit cards. Take PayPal.

Still, there’s clearly advancement being made, and that’s a good thing. The more companies bring these technologies into play, the more others will have to follow suit just to keep from getting left behind. That means, really, any lag in the market has to be temporary; the 54.9 percent of QSRs not using in-store pickup will likely have to at some point or risk losing market share to the 45.1 percent who does.