Oracle: Consumers want food delivered fast at drive-thru, in-house

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Restaurant customers are responding to digital dining and ordering solutions.

Consumers have a generally positive response to digital dining technology, but there are some negative side effects for retailers.

A new survey of U.S. consumers from Oracle Food and Beverage (formerly Micros) shows that respondents appreciate new tech-driven options for ordering and retrieving food, but these solutions are also making them more impatient. Almost two-thirds (64%) of respondents don't want to wait more than five minutes to order at the counter or drive-thru window, while 71% of respondents were upset if they had to wait more than 10 minutes after ordering in-house.

Nearly half (47%) of respondents 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 respondents noted they will eat out daily to several times a week in coming months and showed a growing loyalty to their favorite foodservice brands.

According to the survey, curbside pickup continues to be a popular option that both determines where people chose to eat and their loyalty towards a foodservice retailer. Almost six in 10 (58%) respondents love this method and/or are more apt to choose restaurants offering it. More than four in 10 (43%) say curbside pickup makes them more loyal to the eatery, and 54% say they would spend more because of this service option, with that number jumping to 80% for millennial respondents

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

  • 56% of respondents would love visibility and control over who has access to the personal data they share with restaurants and delivery drivers.
  • 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.

Survey respondents also revealed they are increasingly influenced by a brand's sustainability, environmental and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, and healthy meal options – particularly in the case of millennials:

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

In certain settings, many respondents said they still prefer human interactions:

  • 65% of respondents prefer to order directly from a server when dining in, while 18% would like to order from their mobile device.
  • When ordering takeout, 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 millennial respondents prefer to order from a server in-person, but that number drops sharply to drive-thrus, with only 17% of respondents wanting to deal with a staff member and just 11% when ordering takeout.

Consumer payment preferences showed high usage rates for legacy payment methods:

  • 60% of consumers like to pay with a credit card. 
  • 47% prefer to pay with cash.
  • 25% prefer to utilize contactless payment methods such as Apple or Google Pay.
  • 7% are using alternative payments, such as cryptocurrency.

[Read more: Survey reveals what restaurant customers want (and don’t want)]

Oracle Food and Beverage surveyed 512 consumers in the U.S.