Consumers seek efficient mobile pickup, fast drive-thrus, deals: Bluedot

75% of consumers seek out deals, offers; 83% are modifying behavior due to inflation

A recently-released report from geofencing and mobile pickup provider Bluedot, which is based on a survey from a 1,635 adults, reveals some of the latest trends for coffee shops and quick-serve restaurants. Restaurant brands can benefit through efficiency in the drive-thru, providing value pricing and offers, as well as speeding customers through the mobile pick-up area in less than four minutes. In addition, customers value sustainability and want restaurants to do more, but not for a premium. The insights from Bluedot’s “The State of What Feeds Us, Volume VII” shed light on meaningful restaurant opportunities.

Coffee shop versus fast-food restaurant battle

Coffee chains remain a competitive force within QSR and are in strong competition versus fast-food restaurants. High-income earners, for example, are most likely to snack at coffee shops (68% over $100K versus 54% under $50K). When hungry, 53% of consumers would consider coffee chains for food. What’s more, 41% of consumers would consider a coffee chain without a coffee purchase.

Bluedot also noted that 67% of consumers already make two drive-thru stops for their coffee and fast-food meals. An ongoing opportunity for coffee chains would be to expand food offerings to appeal to consumers who are looking for convenience, and reduce their number of drive-thru stops. Six in ten consumers would consider a coffee chain for food, if fast-food drive-thru lines are long.

The percentage of customers visiting the drive-thru in the last month exceeded 90% for the first time (91%).

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Consumers battling inflation

A total of 91% of consumers have noticed price increases. And 83% say they are modifying their habits in response to inflation. The same portion have also cut back on restaurant visits.

In general, three-quarters of consumers are looking for deals and they are downloading more apps and joining more loyalty programs. Gen Z is particularly active looking for deals on social media. Nearly 70% of consumers have increased these activities: downloading apps and joining rewards programs, notes Bluedot. The firm also finds that restaurant apps and mailed coupons are the top ways that consumers find deals.

High-income earners prefer to download apps to find deals, while other income groups combine loyalty with downloading apps. Among all groups, more than 37% of respondents were placing more mobile orders than they were three months ago.

Mobile order, sustainability

“As we turn the corner on the pandemic, mobile app usage continues to soar, and the center of gravity is returning to the customer. Restaurant brands will begin to ease their focus on operational strategy in favor of initiatives that provide fast and seamless mobile pickup,” said Judy Chan, Bluedot CMO. “Across six studies, consumer demand for convenience has stood out as a key theme. In the coming year and beyond, we’ll see restaurant brands aggressively invest in digital strategies both in-store and off-premise to improve speed and ease of use and that includes the arrival experience. Delivering that level of convenience will win brand loyalty.

With regard to mobile order pickup, consumers are frustrated and impatient. The number of consumers reporting having to wait to pick up order-ahead mobile orders has actually increased. This September, a total of 46% of respondents indicated their order wasn’t ready upon arriving at the store, compared to 42% last September. Likewise, customers whose orders were ready but still had to wait went from 40% last September to 44% this September.

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Plus, nearly forty percent of consumers say their orders are inaccurate, and 20% indicated staff members are preoccupied when customers arrive for pickup. Sadly, both of these items of concern are up two percentage-points or more. For order-ahead, consumers want orders to be under 4 minutes, but 22% want orders to be less than two minutes.

Finally, many consumers are skeptical of restaurants’ sustainability efforts. First, a whopping 46% of consumers are skeptical of claims. Second 24% of consumers have not noticed any sustainability efforts. And third, only 30% believe the claims of restaurant brands.

Navigate to Bluedot for the detailed report for additional information.

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