CHICAGO — The use of mobile apps, text messages and the internet to order food from a restaurant or other foodservice outlet increased by 18 percent last year and now accounts for 1.9 billion foodservice visits, according to The NPD Group.
Currently, more orders are placed using websites, but orders placed with a mobile app are growing more strongly.
Dinner is the meal most often ordered digitally, and families are the heaviest users of digital ordering, NPD found. Half of digital orders come at dinner time, and 35 percent of digital orders include parties with children. People under age 35 and those with higher household incomes are among above-average users of digital ordering.
"Digital ordering is now really all about the mobile app," said Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. "Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable using mobile apps. If restaurants or foodservice operators don't have a mobile app, consumers may very well choose a restaurant that does."
Deals and promotions play an important role in digital ordering, as consumers who order digitally are twice as likely to order on a deal, and that deal is usually a coupon. Twenty-nine percent of all digital orders used a coupon, NPD's research found. Other top deals included discounted prices, daily specials and combined item specials.
Additionally, the ability to pay with mobile boosts customer satisfaction scores and encourages consumers to visit for loyalty-related reasons.