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Online Ordering: Closing the Loop on Marketing ROI for Fast-Casual Dining

Posted by Justin Mink

It turns out the best way to a customer’s heart is through their stomachs… and their smartphones.

As you have surely already noticed, the trend of online ordering is going at full speed in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry. Survey data shows that 57% of diners order food online from a restaurant’s website daily, weekly, or monthly.

Fast-casual restaurants are noticing the trend and quickly jumping on the opportunity to better cater to their customers online. The online ordering movement is also making it easier for QSR and fast-casual brands to capture valuable customer data and measure marketing ROI (customer acquisition and revenue). This has a tremendous impact on restaurant marketing and sales strategies.

Take brands such as Starbucks, Domino’s, and Taco Bell. They all reported increased sales as a result of mobile apps that allow for online orders and purchases, according to CNBC. McDonald’s introduced a mobile ordering and payment option this year, and it recently expanded its McDelivery service to various new markets across the U.S. Denny’s has just announced a new mobile and online ordering system for takeout and delivery, as well as ordering options through Facebook and Twitter.

Online ordering attracts people who are rushed for time, gives customers greater ordering flexibility, and appeals to tech-savvy customers such as Millennials. (Fun fact: Millennials spent 44% of their food dollars eating out in 2014, up from 10.7% in 2010, according to a study by the Food Institute.) Additionally, customers tend to spend more when they order online—largely because they can take their time looking at the menu, get more specific with their orders, and avoid the stigma attached to ordering too much food.

Who Orders Meals Online?

Market research company NPD Group breaks down who is ordering online and when.

Most Common Meal: Dinner
53% of online food orders are at dinnertime, making it the most common meal ordered digitally.

Heaviest Users of Online Ordering: Families
35% of digital ordering is for parties with children.

Above-Average Users: Millennials with Money
People who are under the age of 35 and who have higher household incomes are considered above-average users.

NPD Group also found that consumers who order from restaurants online are 2x as likely to place an order using a deal, with coupons being the most common type of deal used. Other common deals include discounted prices, daily specials, and combined item specials. This emphasizes the power of online deals for attracting new business to your restaurant.

Driving More Online Orders with Digital Advertising

Interested in getting more of your customers ordering online? Our digital marketing experts at Scorpion can help you create digital advertising campaigns to help you lead your customers to the right place to submit their orders. We can help you create digital ad campaigns on Google, Bing, Facebook, and all across the web to capture users’ attention right when they’re searching for local dining options.

Scorpion is an award-winning Google Premier Partner and Bing Elite Partner that is backed by more than 15 years of experience. Contact us to find out how we can help your QSR brand attract more online orders and new business!

For more information about how to drive more business with online advertising, read our Paid Search Playbook for Franchises.


About the Author
As Senior Vice President of Sales at Scorpion, Justin Mink focuses on developing and growing Scorpion’s national business across a variety of industries. Prior to joining Scorpion, Justin was the Chief Marketing Officer at New Frontier Data, a start-up technology company that provides responsible operators and investors in the legal cannabis industry with real-time data and analytics. Some of his other previous roles include co-founder and VP of Strategy at Music Audience Exchange, National Director at ReachLocal, and Brand Marketing Lead at Gannett.

Justin is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington, where he received a B.A. in political science. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling, cooking and wine, hiking and the outdoors, and spending time with his family. He is also a major Washington Redskins fan, spending a couple of seasons at FedEx Field on game days as an official team “flag guy.”