The research, from KAM Media and OrderPay, found that the availability of ‘mobile phone ordering’ in a hospitality venue has become more important to 41% of UK adults over the past six months, with only 9% saying it was less important.
This increase in demand of mobile ordering is driven by Generation Z and younger millennials (64% of under 34-year-olds say its importance has increased) although 15% of over 55-year-olds also say the functionality has grown in importance.
The research draws on feedback from 2,500 hospitality customers gathered between March 2019 and August 2020.
When asked to rank which features were most important in a hospitality app, customers named the ability to book a table came in as their number one priority (74%), followed by the ability to pre-order food and drink (62%).
A large majority of respondents (92%) also said they’d like to see clear communication of safety measures and procedures in venues via websites and apps, with 37% wanting to see how busy a venue currently is, and 29% even interested in accessing a cleaning schedule before they visit a pub, bar or restaurant.
“The key to success with technology in general is not to start with the tech but to start with the customer,” says Katy Moses, managing director at KAM Media.
“Customers want to feel safe, they want friendly and helpful staff, fast and efficient service, good availability of quality food and drink and an inviting atmosphere. A tech-enhanced customer experience must contribute to one of the needs and desires, not make their lives more complicated.”
Research from KAM Media of 1,000 respondents last year found that that contactless payments were popular before the pandemic, with 47% wanting to be able to pre-order and pay before arriving in a venue, rising to 66% of under 34-year-olds.
“There is no doubt that the past few months has accelerated the need for technology solutions and it’s become vital that hospitality businesses respond to consumer demand,” says Joe Martin, chief marketing officer at OrderPay.
“However, it’s also vital that this technology is utilised to widen understanding and knowledge of customers, to communicate and engage, and to reward them for their loyalty and drive new habits around visiting venues.
“The sector must look at this shift in behaviour and learn about our customers so we can serve, surprise and delight them in ways that were never possible before.”