Over three-quarters of British adults own a smartphone and we collectively check them over a billion times a day. From ordering food to hiring a cleaner or asking someone to complete those little DIY jobs we can’t bring ourselves to do, we can do anything with the touch of a button.
An increasing amount of sectors are turning to applications to expand consumer reach. The restaurant sector is one such example which has been most recent to follow this trend. Having a presence on “smart” platforms is therefore critical for businesses to stay one step ahead of their customers’ needs and no business should discount it.
Leading the restaurant revolution
Britain is a nation of food lovers, with the restaurant sector growing by 39 per cent in five years. However in this digital age, it’s becoming more important for restaurants to be increasingly competitive, ensuring they don’t get left behind, by tapping into the technology market and providing better choice to consumers.
It’s been predicted us Brits will spend almost £8 billion a year ordering food by the end of the decade, rather than cooking meals, as a result of the smartphone phenomenon. As a result, there’s a growing appetite for healthy and nutritious cuisine being delivered to customer’s doors wherever they are – working late at the office, or simply eating at home with their loved ones. Here at EatFirst, we’re achieving over 30 per cent month-on-month sales growth and have delivered over 100,000 freshly prepared meals to date.
Overtime we’ll likely see a rise in the number of restaurants developing their own apps and delivering their own dishes. And why not? Using a delivery service means as a restaurant you have less control over the end product and the cost for the customer is usually higher. By utilising the latest technology, restaurants can stay one step ahead of consumer needs while providing them with the nutritious cuisine they’re craving at a reasonable price.
The restaurant sector is an example of how an industry, not historically identified as tech savvy, is utilising technology to meet customer expectations while expanding its growth. Other sectors should consider following suit by utilising these platforms to their advantage.
Below we’ve explained the key “smart” platforms of the moment and why your business should follow restauranteurs and take advantage:
The growing trend of Smart TV is a little known subject. While our viewing habits are changing, TV continues to reach the majority of people, with over 90 per cent of the nation watching the silver screen every week. With its continued popularity, this medium is the future. Maybe your customers are watching their favourite TV show, film or playing a game, they know they can order from your business in an instant without having to swap devices. As a result, it’s a fresh opportunity to provide further convenience to your customers while maintaining an edge over your competitors.
Smartphone and tablet apps
Revenues from Smartphone and Tablet apps are expected to rise to £99 billion by 2019, with the strongest growth to be experienced by lifestyle apps, while approximately 235 billion apps were downloaded globally last year. Apps are going nowhere, and as they become more advanced, businesses are able to be more creative to attract customers and increase sales. Therefore, having a presence on either a Smartphone or Tablet is becoming even more essential to ensure the future profitability of your small business and to take a slice of the action.
A relatively new phenomenon, having an app on the Smart Watch is becoming a force to be reckoned with. With over 4,000 apps currently available on this medium, having a Smart Watch app allows you to add an extra dimension and functionality to your business, making your customer’s lives that little bit easier. At EatFirst, we were one of the first online restaurants to introduce a Smart Watch app, as we understand our customer’s busy lifestyles, and therefore are focussed on staying one step ahead in order to meet their needs.
The digital age has meant that customer’s expectations have increased. It’s no longer just about the product or service on offer, but also convenience. Regardless of the sector, brands should be available on multiple devices to increase their customer base, while tapping into a fruitful market. The future of business is online and, as more platforms become available and technology becomes more advanced, it’s important for these businesses to utilise these to secure their future growth and profitability.
Rahul Parekh is the co-founder and CEO of EatFirst.
See also: Go mobile or go home – why customer service needs to step it up