A new report from Cornell University reveals that online ordering is catching on fast with pizza customers in the United States. The research sponsored by Cornell and Nation's Restaurant News trade magazine was published in the March edition of the Cornell Hospitality Report. After looking at the electronic ordering systems and practices of 326 different restaurant chains, the researchers found that fast-casual restaurants, especially pizza chains, led the trend with nearly 50% now accepting orders online. The study also showed the sandwich shop category making it into the second position for most-electronic orders taken. Quick-service, fast-food style restaurants were next in line, with over 20% now accepting online orders, followed by the casual-dining chain and midscale full-service chain restaurant categories.
Cornell University professor and study co-author Sheryl E. Kimes expressed surprise at the high incidence of online ordering and noted the growth of multi-restaurant ordering sites as well. Kimes also pointed out that prior research has shown that once customers try online ordering they far were more likely to continue to use it and the trend was "only going to get bigger."
Restaurants face the challenge of making online ordering more attractive to consumers because ordering online is actually a bit more trouble than simply picking up the phone to place an order. However, from the restaurant's point of view, online ordering is an additional distribution channel that helps to reduce costs and allows them make better use of their production capacities. One big factor online ordering has going for it is the accuracy of the orders and online customers can review their orders before the transaction are completed. The Cornell researchers also noted that while online mobile ordering applications are becoming more popular, they are less frequently used than ordering from a computer. However, like online orders, mobile ordering is another electronic option that will likely continue to grow for the foreseeable future.