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Insight of the Day: Personalization Is an Expectation

The Tillster 2024 Phygital Index Report highlights the importance of personalization in the ordering process for restaurant operators. The survey reveals that a positive personalized ordering experience is likely to lead to recommendations from 58 percent of diners, while 33 percent of diners have decided not to order from a quick-service restaurant (QSR) due to a lack of personalization in the ordering experience. This percentage has increased from 21 percent in 2023.

Consistency across the digital and physical experience is a key expectation for diners, with 89 percent stating that inconsistent experiences across locations of the same QSR chain bother them. Inconsistent experiences make 57 percent of diners less likely to return to a restaurant. Additionally, 93 percent of diners feel frustrated when digital tools do not work together properly.

The survey also highlights several other key findings:

1. Self-service kiosk adoption is growing: 57 percent of kiosk users wish that more self-service kiosks were available at restaurants, compared to 36 percent in the previous year. Kiosks are seen as convenient for customers and can help offset labor costs for operators.

2. Shift from third-party platforms: Diners are reducing their use of third-party websites/apps in favor of restaurant-specific websites/apps. Seventeen percent of diners expect to decrease their use of third-party platforms, and 47 percent of diners are eager to see more exclusive offers and discounts on restaurant apps and websites.

3. Demand for curbside pickup: Diners are increasingly interested in curbside pickup, with 89 percent of those who have used it stating that they would be more likely to visit a QSR that offers this service. However, parking challenges present a pain point for customers, with 55 percent reporting issues with parking during pickup.

To improve their websites and loyalty programs, restaurants should focus on personalization. Guests want to feel acknowledged and receive relevant offers. Implementing a customer data platform and enabling two-way communication across platforms can help achieve this.

Restaurants can address parking challenges during curbside pickup by incorporating geofencing capabilities. Geofencing allows brands to message guests with clear directions upon their arrival, reducing friction.

Phygital tools can help restaurants engage with customers and improve efficiency. For example, digital tools can recognize touchpoints such as app orders or loyalty check-ins and prompt guests to return for additional items or offers, benefiting both revenue and guest satisfaction.

While the term "phygital" may not be familiar to the average consumer, the concept itself is recognized. The term is starting to appear in mainstream media, albeit in a more business-focused context.

Restaurants can use technology to personalize the guest experience by removing friction, such as automatically localizing the ordering app to the guest's preferred or current location. Bring-to-table offerings can provide guests with a more relaxed experience while their order is prepared and delivered. Special offers and rewards based on personal preferences can also enhance the guest experience and encourage repeat visits.

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