A new survey shows that Americans love new tech-driven options for ordering and retrieving food, but the flipside is that it is making them more impatient. Of those surveyed, 64% don’t want to wait more than five minutes to order at the counter or drive-thru window, while 71% of in-house diners were upset if they had to wait more than 10 minutes. More than half (55%) said they were fed up after five minutes of waiting for food in a drive-thru, and 54% were annoyed waiting more than 10 minutes for food while dining at a restaurant.

While consumers mostly dig new digital dining options, they also lament the impact it is having on in-person dining. Nearly half (47%) said they feel like all the delivery and take-out orders result in longer waits when they order in-person and 29% said the atmosphere of dining-in is hurt by delivery drivers picking up food. But despite these concerns, 46% of people noted they will eat out daily to several times a week in coming months and showed a growing loyalty to their favorite brands.

“Online and mobile ordering was a lifeline to restaurants shut-down in the pandemic and continues to provide steady revenue,” said Simon de Montfort Walker, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Food and Beverage. “As already short-staffed restaurants reopen, they are grappling with how to manage both in-person diners and deliveries, while meeting growing expectations on speed and service. Technology that helps kitchens manage and time orders from multiple channels will be key to keeping pace and ensuring diners stay happy and loyal.”

The results are part of an Oracle Food and Beverage survey conducted by Untold Insights in September 2021. The surveyed polled more than 5,700 global consumers across 11 geographies, including 512 in the Unites States.  Download the Restaurant Trends for 2022 report for more details.

Fast is not fast enough

The survey found that consumers have a short window before they get exacerbated with the time it takes to get their order:

  • More than half (54%) of in-house diners don’t like to wait more than 10 minutes to be served and 76% are impatient after 15 minutes
  • For those ordering at the counter, 45% said they get annoyed if they must wait more than five minutes and 76% didn’t want to wait more than 10 minutes to be served
  • At the drive-thru, nearly 1 in 5 consumers (19%) don’t want to wait more than two minutes to get their food, while more than half (55%) said they were fed up after five minutes of waiting


Kicking orders to the curb

Curbside pick-up (or Click-and-collect) continues to be a popular option that both determines where people chose to eat and their loyalty towards a brand:

  • 58% love this method and or are more apt to choose establishments offering it
  • 43% say it makes them more loyal to the eatery
  • 54% say they would spend more because of this service option, with that number jumping to 80% for Millennials


Personalized communications aren’t creepy, they’re expected

The survey found that consumers have grown to appreciate, and even expect, proactive recommendations their favorite restaurants, but want to control access to their own data:

  • 55% love the idea of receiving notifications about personalized offers from restaurants based on their current location
  • 45% want to be prompted with personalized order suggestions based on their purchase history
  • 46% would love to manage their dietary preferences with their favorite establishments
  • 56% would love visibility and control over who has access to the personal data they share with restaurants and delivery drivers


Sustainability and healthy options rising in importance

In addition to offering click and collect, and personalizing offers based on data, consumers are increasingly influenced by a brand’s sustainability, environmental and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, and healthy meal options:

  • 61% of Millennials rate efforts to lower food waste (such as donations to food banks) as vital and influential to who they spend money with
  • 45% rate clear labelling about source of food and ingredients as vital, with a slightly higher percentage of men versus women (48% and 42%, respectively)
  • 58% of consumers rate healthy options on menu as important, with families rating this the highest at 74%, followed by Millennials at 71%


Ordering preference is situational

While mobile ordering continues to gain steam, in certain settings, consumers still prefer human interactions:

  • 65% prefer to order directly from a server when dining in, while 18% would like to order from their mobile device
  • When ordering take out, 33% would like to order directly from the restaurant on their mobile device, 18% from a third-party like UberEats from their mobile device, and 25% directly from a server
  • 38% prefer to order directly from a server when ordering drive-thru, 38% prefer to order from their mobile device
  • 52% of Millennials prefer to order from a server in-person, but that number drops sharply to drive-thru’s, with only 17% wanting to deal with a staff member and just 11% when ordering take-out


Payment options expanding

While cash is still high on consumers preferred ways to pay (47%), restaurants are increasingly adapting to new forms of payments to meet changing expectations: 

  • 60% of consumers like to pay with a credit card
  • 25% prefer to utilize contactless payment methods such as Apple or Google Pay
  • 7% are embracing alternative payments such as cryptocurrency


Consumer Trends, News, Technology