82% of UK employees will buy meals more often from their workplace canteen or restaurant if they can order ahead and pick up their meal from a dedicated service point, research by Omnico and The Caterer magazine has found.
52% will use order ahead capability every time, if available, and 29% will use it some of the time. 37% will make two or more extra visits per week if they can order ahead.
The research, among 750 employees across the UK, found that 58% of respondents would visit at least once more in the week, if they could access experience-enhancing technologies such as ordering ahead, or are able to make payments via apps, touch-screen kiosks, wearable devices and phone-scanning.
70% said they will visit more frequently if the staff cafeteria operated a personalised loyalty programme which they could access via any channel.
“Our research makes clear that UK employees will visit and spend more if canteens and workplace restaurants offer an experience that is quick, easy and genuinely personalised, whether online, via smartphone, kiosk or at the checkout,” said Mel Taylor, CEO, Omnico. “Time is precious to employees – we found that 61% do not visit their in-house restaurant more often because they can’t face queuing.”
The research found that a loyalty scheme offering rewards redeemable against future purchases would deliver an extra two visits per person each week. And overall, technologies that eliminate queuing and make ordering and payment easy across all channels will increase visit frequency by an average 1.18 extra days per person each week.
48% of those surveyed said they want to place an order using a phone app, while 25% want to pay using a smartphone payment system such as Apple Pay. From a list of types of promotion that employees want from loyalty schemes, 48% selected value meals and 45% want meal deal packages, allowing them to buy a discounted package of meals over a set period. This benefits operators’ cashflow and stock-planning while extending employees’ use of the canteen over more days.
“Smooth integration of technologies is essential to make the workplace cafeteria the number one choice for employees,” said Taylor. “As our research shows, if implemented properly it can substantially increase revenues. We know, for example, that with ordering ahead, the average value of an order is 18% higher than normal. When diners use kiosks, operators have great opportunities for upselling, especially if they have the solution to personalise recommendations. What is essential is having the technology to bring it all together.”