As published on PYMNTS July 10, 2020
Quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and others in the food service space are rapidly adjusting their operations during the pandemic, with many implementing new technologies online and in-store to ensure customers can seamlessly and safely place orders.
Using mobile apps to order ahead and pickup in-store has become much more popular during the health crisis, but the jump in online orders has prompted a corresponding rise in online fraud. Bad actors are trying numerous scams to take advantage of customers using digital and mobile channels for the first time, including setting up false accounts and restaurant brands online to drain consumers’ funds.
In the latest Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker®, PYMNTS analyzes how the pandemic is pushing more QSR customers to order through online and mobile channels as well as how online fraud schemes are taking advantage of this growth.
Mobile Order-Ahead Developments Around The World
Consumers have been flocking to digital and mobile channels to purchase from their favorite restaurants, with one study finding that digital food orders have skyrocketed 134 percent since the start of the pandemic. Recent digital converts represent a sizable share of those placing such orders as well, with the study finding that between 20 percent and 25 percent of orders came from newly created accounts. Restaurants experiencing growth in digital ordering must also monitor for opportunistic cybercriminals, however, as the report found that online fraud within the industry rose by 32 percent during the same period.
The pandemic is also spurring QSRs to alter their approaches when interacting with customers at brick-and-mortar stores. Coffee chain Starbucks, for example, has announced plans to boost the availability of its drive-thru, curbside pickup and digital order-ahead capabilities over the next 18 months to meet consumers’ changing needs. Starbucks was earning approximately 80 percent of its revenues through prepaid ordering and other on-the-go channels before the pandemic, but the crisis’s effects have pushed the brand to further invest in these channels. It is also redesigning its stores to better prepare orders that come both from digital channels and in-store customers.
Point-of-sale (POS) software provider ParTech and drive-thru management solutions company Techknow are also partnering to innovate curbside and drive-thru experiences. The pair is developing products such as drive-thru timers and wireless communication systems to enable QSRs to more efficiently manage the rising volumes of drive-thru and pickup customers. Techknow’s multi-sensor technology will power the drive-thru timers, while ParTech’s POS software will ensure orders and payments can be quickly processed. The solution is aimed at promoting more flexibility for restaurants and granting more visibility into the customer data that accompanies such transactions.
Taco Bell’s Approach To Fostering Customer Loyalty And Fighting Fraud
Many QSRS are bracing for the pandemic’s economic fallout even as they adopt digital tools to capitalize on the shift to online and mobile ordering, with recent research suggesting the restaurant industry will lose about $240 billion in revenue by the end of the year. It is thus critical for QSRs to pair their mobile apps with loyalty and rewards solutions that can keep customers engaged and boost revenues, Zipporah Allen, vice president of digital experiences for Mexican fast food QSR chain Taco Bell, explained in an interview with PYMNTS.
How The Rise In Digital Food Ordering Volumes Has Attracted Cybercrime Schemes
Mobile and online ordering have spiked over the past few months as consumers seek safe, speedy ways to purchase meals during the pandemic. Fraudsters are also taking advantage of customers’ growing interest in digital channels to launch numerous schemes aimed at unsuspecting mobile app users. These include placing false reviews on social media or launching fraud scams attached to mobile loyalty programs, which can negatively affect restaurants’ customer loyalty and relationships and ultimately harm their revenues.
About The Tracker®
The monthly Mobile Order-Ahead Tracker®, a PYMNTS and Kount collaboration, covers the space’s most recent news and trends and offers a provider directory highlighting key players across the mobile order-ahead ecosystem.