As Preoday approaches its 50th fish and chip shop using its digital ordering platform, Nick Hucker, CEO, explores how the industry is embracing technology to keep on top in a competitive market
The way people want to order their food is at the front and centre of change within the foodservice industry - and that includes fish and chip shops. Customers are looking for more convenient and faster food choices. Offering customers the opportunity to skip the queue by ordering and paying ahead, then handing over piping hot food as they arrive through the door, is key to winning their long-term custom.
One of our clients who has used the service for six months found that queuing and subsequent cooking time in the busy dinner period would mean customers were waiting up to twenty minutes for their takeaway. With this at odds with modern consumers’ expectations surrounding speed of service, the fish and chip chain with over 20 stores, looked for a solution to minimise queues at busy times.
"Data generated by digital ordering provides invaluable insights into customers and their buying behaviour, which is fundamentally not available from cash customers."
The results have been outstanding, with mobile and online ordering accounting for 13% of sales. The ease of exploring a digital menu has also led to customers placing additional products in their online basket making the average order value 122% higher than walk-in takeaway purchases. Another of our fish and chip clients saw an 83% increase in basket size value when customers used the Preoday platform to make purchases.
Another client, Churchill’s, has found that its multichannel customers are worth twice as much as those using a single channel. Now, whenever it is opening a new store, it uses targeted launch promotions to drive people to use its click and collect service. Across Churchill’s, mobile and online ordering now account for 19% of sales.
Digital menus and responding to trends
The functionality of a digital menu empowers fish and chip shop operators to accommodate consumer trends quickly and efficiently. Food and technology trends are transforming how operators are interacting with customers, giving consumers an experience that can only enhance their enjoyment of their fish and chips.
Having a digital menu that can be accessed anywhere satisfies cravings for variety, allowing customers to take their time picking out the right meal for them on that day. We have seen some of our clients offer a varied range of menu options, including gluten free and vegan options, healthier choices such as sweet potato fries and seasonal menu items like pigs in blankets. For operators, this makes facilitating trends like veganism quick and easy by having the technology available to create flexible menus as well as generating crucial customer insight into buying behaviour that can inform future menu options as well as streamline operational efficiencies.
Get to know your customers better
Data generated by digital ordering provides invaluable insights into customers and their buying behaviour, which is fundamentally not available from cash customers. Capturing and using this data intelligently offers opportunities to engage with customers through well-targeted marketing initiatives such as personalised offers.
January saw our client Nana Jan’s win the Marketing Innovation Award category at the National Fish and Chips Awards. They won it for the team’s creativity in using social media and customer engagement tactics to market to existing and potential customers effectively.
Data from digital ordering can also provide a measure of how customers think, feel and behave, so if a fish and chip shop operator wants to know how well its customer base has taken to a dish, then checking the data helps to make informed business decisions with greater ease.
In a competitive market, it’s positive to see the fish and chip shop industry keeping on top of change to remain relevant and to continue attracting a steady stream of business.
A digital ordering platform like Preoday is perfect for fish and chips operators of all sizes. With many being family-run businesses, using a mobile ordering provider that retains the company’s own brand customer experience is essential to keeping control of the process and keeping operating costs to a minimum.