October 02, 2019

National Restaurant Association & Technomic Unveil Industry Findings on Technology & Off-Premises Sales Channels

The majority of restaurant occasions today are for off-premises dining
WASHINGTON D.C.— Today the National Restaurant Association, in partnership with Technomic, released its survey results on the state of technology and its impact on the off-premises channel in the restaurant industry. The study, “Harnessing Technology to Drive Off-Premises Sales,” examines the key factors driving the growth of off-site consumption and explores how operators are using technology to drive and manage off-premises sales. The research, developed exclusively for the National Restaurant Association, is based on a study of a nationally representative sample of foodservice consumers and restaurant operators. 
“The restaurant industry is constantly changing and technology’s role in it continues to become more critical,” said Hudson Riehle, Senior Vice President, Research and Knowledge Group, National Restaurant Association. “Now in our centennial year, we are seeing the industry change and adapt faster than ever before in response to the macro-environmental factors driving consumer behavior. In today’s on-demand world, off-premises capabilities are more important than ever to keep restaurants aligned with the wants and needs of its customers. We’re excited to continue to guide restaurants through these developments as we navigate the tech-forward future ahead.”
Off-Premises orders now make up the majority
As consumer lifestyles’ are continuously driven by the convenience and speed of online and app-based ordering in other industries, approximately 60% of restaurant occasions are now off-premises across all forms, including drive-thru, takeout, and delivery. Customers are most receptive to consumer-facing technologies such as drive-thru enhancements, order accuracy tracking, and frictionless mobile ordering. Key areas of growth include:
  • 92% of consumers use drive-thru at least once a month.
  • 34% of consumers utilize delivery more often than a year ago.
  • 79% of consumers use restaurant delivery (53% use third-party) at least once a month.
Operators are investing in tech and always need to adapt 
With 78% of restaurant operators considering off-premises programs a strategic priority, restaurant brands are investing big in technology, but are struggling to keep up with changing consumer expectations. Operators need to consider the increased standard of convenience in other industries and adapt accordingly when implementing off-premises solutions. Key investment statistics include:
  • 74% of companies are investing in off-premises programs but none of the top 5 investments include customer-facing technology.
  • 43% of delivery users place orders via restaurant apps while only 18% of operators offer mobile ordering via their own app.
  • 66% of operators offer delivery through a third-party service and 55% offer delivery through internal staff.
New technology is critical to grow off-premises sales
The future of off-premises is far-reaching. Consumer receptiveness to enhanced restaurant technology extends both inside and outside the operation, and technology is becoming more commonplace. Key areas of emerging technology include:
  • 22% of consumers used kiosk ordering last year and 11% used voice assistant ordering. 
  • If available, 69% of consumers would use vehicles with built-in heating trays to keep food warm and 41% would use autonomous delivery.
  • 44% of restaurant operators who offer voice ordering, and 50% who offer location intelligence to target new customers based on their position, say it has a large positive impact on their business.
For further information on “Harnessing Technology to Drive Off-Premises Sales,” visit www.restaurant.org/nra/media/downloads/PDFs/Research/research_offpremises_201910.
About the National Restaurant Association
Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of more than 15.3 million employees. We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 16-19, 2020, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit Restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurants, Facebook and YouTube