The differences, why it matters
Nearly twice as many superconnected consumers shifted to ordering online over the past year compared to other groups, meaning digital capabilities will be critical to capturing these highly connected consumers’ future restaurant spend.
This is sensible considering anybody with six-plus devices probably has a strong appetite for digital commerce. They also shop retail online. Grocery. Etc.
This potential guest was the most likely, by far, to say they’ve ordered less in person, and more online, since the pandemic’s onset. For example, 27 percent made the digital shift when ordering from at least one restaurant. The second-most likely group (connected home consumers) chimed in at 15 percent. Superconnected consumers' propensity to order online using any of several connected devices at any given time means restaurants need to provide ordering options on many different channels to win their business, the report said.
How many consumers have made the shift to ordering online since COVID?
- At least one restaurant: 7.6 percent
- Table-service: 5.6 percent
- Quick-serves: 10.7 percent
- At least one restaurant: 6.1 percent
- Table-service: 6.4 percent
- Quick-serves: 4.4 percent
- At least one restaurant: 14.5 percent
- Table-service: 13.5 percent
- Quick-serves: 11.3 percent
- At least one restaurant: 12.6 percent
- Table-service: 9.9 percent
- Quick-serves: 9.9 percent
- At least one restaurant: 26.8 percent
- Table-service: 22.3 percent
- Quick-serves: 22.8 percent
To put it plainly, omnichannel engagement will serve as a critical lever to capture the spend of multiple groups. There may be fewer smartphone-centric and connect me consumers who have shifted to ordering online, the report said, but the people who have are more likely than others to keep doing so long into the future. Ninety percent of connected me digital shifters said they plan to keep ordering online at least somewhat as often as they do now after the risk of contagion passes. Smartphone-centric digital shifters took it a step further, as 100 percent said they expect to keep ordering online at least somewhat as often as they do now.
How many consumers will stick to ordering online after the pandemic has subsided?
- Maintain all: 36 percent
- Maintain some: 64 percent
- Revert: 0 percent
- Maintain all: 24.1 percent
- Maintain some: 35.6 percent
- Revert: 40.3 percent
- Maintain all: 36.7 percent
- Maintain some: 50.4 percent
- Revert: 12.9 percent
- Maintain all: 26.4 percent
- Maintain some: 63.3 percent
- Revert: 10.2 percent
- Maintain all: 26 percent
- Maintain some: 60.7 percent
- Revert: 13.3 percent
The mainstream mobile consumers appear superconnected’s opposite. They were the most likely category to plan to return to old dining habits. Forty percent said they’d go back to dining on-site just as much as they did before (once it’s safe to do so). This is more than three times the share of superconnected consumers who plan to do so.
Yet the data doesn’t suggest consumers expect to stop ordering online, the report said. Even among mainstream mobile shifters, the strong majority intend to keep ordering online at least somewhat as often as they do now in a safer future.
It goes back to the earlier point. In COVID’s wake, there will be digital-obsessed customers who never look back—people who were almost surely headed that way regardless of the pandemic’s forced acceleration.
And then there are those who expect to jump back into restaurants. Where the opportunity lies is in understanding that latter guest isn’t exclusive to one or the other. They will carry pandemic ordering habits forward (digital), yet also return to sit-down occasions. You can win them over twice.
More on the superconnected
These users are the highest earners and biggest restaurant spenders, per the report. The average superconnected restaurant customer spent 26 percent more on food orders than average in the last 12 months.
This group’s penchant for transacting online reflected in their food spend, which was higher on food ordered online than on food ordered either in person or over the phone.
The average superconnected restaurant customer spent $2,424 on online table-service restaurant orders and $2,431 on online quick-service restaurant orders during the past 12 months. This compared to an average of $1,977 and $2,200, respectively.
Superconnected restaurant goers’ online spend also eclipsed the rest of the pack, although connected me consumers and smartphone-centric users were close behind.
The average connect me guest spent $2,348 on online orders at sit-down brands, and the average smartphone-centric consumer forked up $2,411.
Broken down (how much consumers spent on food orders in the past year):
- Smartphone-centric: $1,431
- Mainstream mobile: $670
- Connected home: $1,540
- Connected me: $1,343
- Superconnected: $2,200
- Smartphone-centric: $833
- Mainstream mobile: $919
- Connected home: $1,455
- Connected me: $1,638
- Superconnected: $1,699
- Smartphone-centric: $2,411
- Mainstream mobile: $578
- Connected home: $1,924
- Connected me: $2,290
- Superconnected: $2,431
- Smartphone-centric: $1,519
- Mainstream mobile: $1,100
- Connected home: $2,062
- Connected me: $2,348
- Superconnected: $2,424
- Smartphone-centric: $2,259
- Mainstream mobile: $709
- Connected home: $1,065
- Connected me: $1,156
- Superconnected: $2,006
- Smartphone-centric: $899
- Mainstream mobile: $1,499
- Connected home: $1,715
- Connected me: $1,750
- Superconnected: $1,997
Connected me consumers in the study reported using more loyalty programs than the rest. Two-thirds said they deploy at least one restaurant’s program.
Customers were more likely to use loyalty platforms when they owned a wider variety of connected devices on which to place those orders.
How many consumers in different connected personal groups use loyalty programs?
- At least one restaurant: 21.8 percent
- Table-service: 15.2 percent
- Quick-service: 22.3 percent
- At least one restaurant: 24.9 percent
- Table-service: 22.8 percent
- Quick-service: 17.8 percent
- At least one restaurant: 45.6 percent
- Table-service: 38.9 percent
- Quick-service: 33.9 percent
- At least one restaurant: 66.4 percent
- Table-service: 55.4 percent
- Quick-service: 51.7 percent
- At least one restaurant: 55.4 percent
- Table-service: 47.8 percent
- Quick-service: 47.6 percent
These three connected persona groups own and use a broader variety of connected devices—including voice-activated speakers, wearables, and other smart appliances—than either mainstream mobile or smartphone-centric consumers, whose devices are limited to desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones, the report said. Only 25 percent of mainstream mobile and 22 percent of smartphone-centric consumers use at least one restaurant’s loyalty program.
Nevertheless, smartphone-centric consumers stood out as the lone group more likely to use quick-service loyalty programs than full-service ones. Twenty-two versus 15 percent. “The numerous ways in which different connected persona groups engage with their restaurants' loyalty programs signal that it will not be enough for restaurants to give their customers the ability to order their food on different channels going forward,” the report noted. “They must also ensure that their customers can earn loyalty and rewards benefits on as many channels as they can place their orders if they hope to meet consumers' demands for omnichannel ordering experiences.”
Loyalty programs proved the most in-demand ordering feature among connected me, mainstream mobile, and smartphone-centric users.
The bottom-line point—operators need to deliver an omnichannel ordering and loyalty engagement experience.
How can you attract these guests and encourage more spend? Follow the numbers in the chart below.
In all, the takeaway is that consumers have vastly different needs and expectations when it comes to ordering food online, just like they do in-store.
And even among consumers who show a preference for returning to dining rooms, digital ordering remains on the rise. Operators can respond by opening accessibility to digital payment and loyalty features, and ensuring customers—no matter their meal of choice—can find a consistent and satisfying experience throughout.