The concept of ordering a meal with a few taps on a smartphone has been a reality for several years.
Most quick service restaurant and coffee-shop chains have created apps in a bid to boost sales and provide loyal customers with a potentially more convenient option. It is projected to become an increasingly important component of the food services industry.
According to Business Insider Intelligence Reports, orders placed with smartphones and mobile apps will become a $38 billion industry and make up almost 11 per cent of quick-service restaurant sales by 2020.
Starbucks and McDonald’s were early adopters to the trend. Newer to the technology locally are chains such as A&W Restaurant and Panago.
“We're in the learning stages,” said local A&W owner Matt Lister.
Launched earlier this year and recently rolled out across Canada, the restaurant’s mobile app is location based, he added.
“If you keep the app open and tell it your mode of transportation, whether driving, walking or public transit, when you're three minutes away we'll start to make it,” said Lister. “So when you arrive at the restaurant the order is ready to go.”
Lister noted that a customer placing an order on a mobile device must bring the same device with them for the location technology to work. Overall, Lister said he was optimistic the service would be useful to local customers as more become aware of it.
“It's going well so far, but I would say there's not a lot of people in Powell River using it yet, whereas some of the other competitors have had [mobile ordering] longer than us,” he added.
One such business, Panago, has had the app available since opening locally last March. Owner Carrie Olney said Powell River has definitely taken to mobile ordering.
“We had one of our head office people here saying they’re actually quite shocked it has such high absorption rate in Powell River versus other communities,” said Olney.
The biggest benefit of the service is time-saving convenience, she added.
“You can log into the app, put in your order, and tell it what day and time you want the order to be ready,” said Olney. “We’ve upped the ante in the digital ordering platform and added online payment.”
As more large businesses continue to refine the technology, it is consumers who will benefit from more choice and convenience, according to Olney.
“I definitely have good reviews about it,” she said. “Overall I think it’s super positive and works great.”