McDigital: The Rise of the Omnichannel QSR [Survey]
17 May, 2018 Chris Medenwald, PhD
There’s lots of talk today, and rightly so, about omnichannel merchandisers.
There’s less talk about omnichannel QSRs.
But like their counterparts in other retail sectors, fast food and fast casual restaurants are rapidly adopting and optimizing their own, if you will, omnichannel capabilities: mobile ordering, curbside pickup, and same-day, in-town delivery through Uber Eats, Grubhub, and a host of others.
Not only could such capabilities revolutionize how the QSR industry serves customers, but all this digital innovation could provide ideas, benchmarks, and motivation for retailers of all kinds.
But just how common are such manifestations of the omnichannel QSR—in particular, curbside pickup and local delivery—among everyday customers? Which fast food and fast casual chains are excelling in these spaces? And why are some customers so apt to use such services?
QSR Pickup & Delivery: Survey of Customers
On Monday, Field Agent surveyed 3,048 U.S. adults* about their usage of curbside pickup and local delivery services through fast food and fast casual restaurants.
*All respondents were U.S. adults and smartphone owners at least 18 years of age. The survey was completed entirely through the Field Agent mobile app. Demos: Female (68%), Male (32%); 18-24-years-old (4%), 25-34 (26%), 35-44 (35%), 45-54 (22%), 55-64 (10%), 65+ (2%).
Field Agent also took occasion to capture video insights from customers using curbside pickup and local, third-party delivery services. Take a look and a listen as they share sights and sounds from their experiences.
Insights on QSR Pickup & Delivery
1. How many customers actually use a mobile app to order from fast food/fast casual restaurants for curbside pickup and local delivery?
In Field Agent’s survey of 3,048 Americans, 42% indicated they’ve used a mobile app to order food/beverages through fast food and/or fast casual restaurants for curbside pickup. Slightly less, 38%, have used a mobile app to purchase prepared food/beverages for local delivery* to their homes.
*For this question, local delivery includes single-restaurant delivery services as well as third-party delivery services (e.g., Uber Eats)
2. Which fast food and fast casual chains are most popular in these two omnichannel spaces?
But which fast food and fast casual restaurants do customers actually use for curbside pickup and/or local delivery?
Among curbside-pickup users (n = 1,284), 56% said they’ve used the service through McDonald’s, followed by Chick-fil-A (28%) and Starbucks (26%).
Not surprisingly, pizza eateries are the most popular restaurants for app-based, local delivery, with Domino’s (51%), Pizza Hut (41%), and Papa John’s (37%) topping the list.
Notably, McDonald’s, which has no in-house delivery service but relies on third parties like Uber Eats, came in at 15%.
3. And what about those third-party delivery services? Which are most prevalent among delivery-service users?
It’s good to be Uber Eats and Grubhub these days.
Among 698 respondents who said they use app-based, third-party delivery services (i.e., not a single-restaurant delivery service) to purchase meals from fast food and/or fast casual restaurants, Uber Eats (52%) and Grubhub (50%) easily captured first and second place.
4. Why do QSR customers use these omnichannel services?
First, why use app-based, curbside pickup?
For those who have actually used curbside pickup (n = 1,284), 63% said it’s wholly or partly to avoid waiting in a drive-thru line, while 49% indicated it’s to keep from going inside the restaurant.
Other noteworthy reasons for using curbside QSR pickup include:
- It’s generally faster than other forms of ordering (44%)
- To avoid getting out in bad weather (31%)
- Because it makes commuting/travel easier (27%)
- To help manage babies/small children (24%)
And, second, why use third-party delivery services like Uber Eats and Grubhub?
Among those who use such services (n = 698), 71%, not surprisingly, say it’s primarily to avoid making a trip. Other prominent reasons are:
- To avoid getting out in bad weather (43%)
- Because it’s easier with kids/family (32%)
- To order meals for workplace/non-family groups (24%)
- To avoid getting on the road under the influence (22%)
- To send a meal to someone else (20%)
5. What suggestions do customers have for QSR pickup services and third-party delivery services?
Satisfaction is currently high for both QSR omnichannel services. Seventy-eight percent of curbside-pickup users (n = 1,284) say, in general, they’re completely or very satisfied with their experiences, whereas 72% of those who use third-party delivery services (n = 698) are completely or very satisfied with those providers.
Of course, service-users’ do have suggestions. Plenty.
The quotes below are representative of the top suggestions made by survey respondents...
How to improve QSR pickup services
"Faster service. There have been times where I waited more than 5 minutes using curbside delivery… ""Double-check the food before bringing it out.""Please make sure to include napkins and any other items needed to eat on the run.""Better parking for the curbside orders...perhaps larger designated area.""Make it less of a hassle to use the actual apps.""Smile more."
How to improve third party, prepared-food delivery services
"Deliver faster if possible, especially to places that are close in proximity.""Make sure orders are correct. I could not eat the food I ordered…""Promos for frequent members.""I wish that drivers had something in their vehicle to keep hot food at least warm.""More drivers so food can always be fresh.""Add more restaurant options in my area; the selection is quite small.""Cover a bigger area.""Ensure the order is correct before the order leaves the building!"
One-Pager Download: Mobile Mystery Shopping
Mobile Mystery Shopping is a simpler, faster, more affordable alternative to conventional mystery shopping methods. With Mobile Mystery Shops, fast food and fast casual chains use their own customers to co-create outstanding dining experiences.
Download the Mobile Mystery Shopping one-pager below, and explore the differences for yourself.