Ever since the first U.S. pizzeria opened in Manhattan in 1905, customer preferences—both in the pizzas themselves and how they’re obtained—have continually evolved. By the 1940s, pizzerias were opening all over the country, thanks in part to returning World War II soldiers who wanted to keep enjoying the food they’d been introduced to overseas. In the 1960s, pizza delivery took off as the hot trend. The rise of the internet in the 1990s led to the possibility of ordering pizza online from a website; and in 2009, the first mobile app for pizza ordering appeared. Future developments now being tested include drone delivery, driverless cars, and robot delivery, to make getting pizza easier than ever before.
Throughout all of these changes (and innovations in pizzas themselves, from deep dish to flavored crusts), pizzerias have had to keep adapting to meet customers’ shifting expectations in order to remain profitable. According to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Restaurant Industry 2030 report, the restaurant industry is in the midst of a radical transformation, and a greater proportion of meals will no longer be cooked at home. This shift will provide huge opportunities for pizzerias, as long as owners are strategic. Here are how three key 2020 restaurant trends will affect how pizzerias run their business:
Customer Demand for Delivery Continues to Rise
Modern consumers lead busy, on-the-go lifestyles, and one of their top needs is convenience. For restaurants, that means delivery. According to the recent NRA report, “Delivery orders are booming, and business models are shifting fast to find ways to serve that customer base.” Data firm Second Measure revealed that U.S. restaurant delivery sales grew 52 percent year-over-year in 2019. Over a third of adults in the U.S. and half of millennials are more likely to order food for delivery, compared to two years ago.
Pizzeria restaurants need to recognize this demand and implement delivery in order to:
- Remain Competitive: A recent Forbes article reports that nearly every U.S. zip code is now serviced by at least two delivery companies. If your pizzeria doesn't offer delivery, it will likely be passed in favor of one that does.
- Grow Profitability: When customers place their own orders online or through a mobile app for delivery, the ticket sizes tend to be higher than in-store sales. And if you use a third-party provider for delivery services, you can allocate more of your in-house labor for fulfilling the increased number of orders you'll receive.
- Improve the Customer Experience: Convenience is a top desire for today's diners. The easier you can make it for them to get food from you, the more likely they'll order, and order again.
- Expand/Capture a Bigger Customer Base: Tech-savvy millennials and Gen Z customers live on their phones, so if you offer delivery options through a mobile app, you'll be more likely to get their attention. Using a third-party provider can also help you reach a wider range of customers, because you'll be tapping into their base; and they might cover a greater delivery area then you can.
The growing demand for delivery has led to another trend: the expansion of “ghost kitchens” (also called virtual or cloud kitchens). These locations do not have any dine-in facilities, or even carry-out in most cases; instead, they are devoted exclusively to fulfilling and delivering online orders. Ghost kitchens are booming because they offer lower operational costs and upfront expenses: they don’t require the floor space, staff, etc. of dine-in restaurants, and need only online advertising.
There’s an App for That
Whether you have a ghost kitchen or not, mobile apps are necessary to remain competitive in today’s delivery-driven market. In one study, 42% of customers said that the ability to order online would make them choose one restaurant over another (and that number has likely grown since then). Mobile apps represent 60% of all digital orders, and The NPD Group forecasts that digital orders will keep growing by double digits through 2020. Mobile apps can especially connect you to millennials and Gen Z—groups who are most likely to order food for delivery, and whose buying power will continue to increase in the years ahead. According to NPD, Gen Z accounted for 24% of all foodservice traffic in the year ending in July 2019. You need to reach these digital natives through the channels they use most, especially including mobile apps.
Integrated Pizza POS Systems Have the Advantage
The point of sale (POS) system has evolved beyond a simple payment terminal to become the hub of a restaurant’s operations. An integrated pizza POS system will bring together sales from your brick-and-mortar locations and any of the virtual ordering channels. It will also provide a consistent experience for your customers, whichever way they choose to do business with you. Orders from all platforms are incorporated directly into the kitchen queue as they are received, ensuring timely fulfillment. Because the pizza POS is integrated with all ordering platforms, including third-party systems, your customer data is collected and owned by you (rather than the third-party provider). With this data, you can manage your loyalty program and create targeted marketing offers and promotions, further growing your business.
Choosing the right pizza POS system also means choosing a provider who understands the unique needs of the pizza industry. With in-depth industry expertise, integrated solutions, and 24/7/365 support, HungerRush is the ideal partner for pizzeria tech solutions. You can also find out more about how our solutions can help you manage these 2020 restaurant trends by requesting a demo today.
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