“While text ordering on cell phones may still seem like a novelty, it’s one of the fastest-growing new segments in the fast-casual restaurant industry,” says Robert Andersen, president, MOOYAH Burgers, Inc. “Considering the number of cell phones and restaurants nationwide, and the increased need for speed and convenience, the growing popularity of text messaging makes sense for us at MOOYAH.
According to Noah Glass, founder and chief executive officer of text-ordering provider GoMobo, “We believe the market for text-ordering in the United States is huge,” he said. “Mobile phones are the most ubiquitous technology product in history, with over 233 million active mobile phone accounts in the U.S. alone.”
Text messaging has taken off in recent years, increasing from 22.8 billion text messages sent in the United States in 2004 to more than 158 billion in 2006. In addition to users between 18 and 25 years old, another large demographic are women older than 35.
“We have already had tremendous response from our new GOMOBO text-ordering service, said Andersen. GoMobo, which was featured on Good Morning America and The Wall Street Journal, currently works with over 200 restaurants in eight major cities. “Our guests are excited to have multiple ways to order at MOOYAH, in person, fax, web ordering at mooyah.com or on their cell phone with GOMOBO.”
Text ordering is generally a simple process. Users typically send a designated keyword to a “shortcode” on their cell phone containing their favorite order, which is then sent to the restaurant. For example, with MOOYAH, local residents can set up their favorite orders, such as two MOOYAH burgers, fries and a soda and give it a favorite name (such as “mooyahfav”). Customers then can text their favorite to the shortcode to place their order and it will be waiting for them upon arrival to the restaurant. MOOYAH receives orders as if a customer ordered from the Web. For text ordering in general, funds normally are transferred to the restaurant with a stored credit card.
“We are reaching our customers who can now order before lunch and on the way home from work,” said Andersen. “When I think about moms of young kids, the ease of placing an order and being able to pull up curbside without having to bring their children in — that definitely has value,” Andersen said. “Plus, the free text-ordering service is a huge convenience instead of trying to find our restaurant’s phone number while driving."