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National Restaurant Association - Online ordering key to increased business

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Online ordering key to increased business

Full-service operators can build business and turn tables quicker by allowing time-crunched consumers to order meals online before arriving at the restaurant, research from the National Restaurant Association has found.

According to the 2012 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 53 percent of adult diners said they likely would place their orders online in advance of their visits and schedule the time to arrive at the restaurant so their food would be served shortly after being seated.

The research also determined that younger consumers are more apt to embrace online ordering than their older counterparts. The report found that 68 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 years old would prefer to order ahead of time, compared with 64 percent of 35- to 44-year olds and 28 percent of adults aged 65 years and older.

Frequent customers ‑ particularly those who seek out convenience ‑ also said they likely would use the online ordering option before arriving at the restaurant. Among that group, 65 percent who order takeout would prefer placing their orders online first, while 60 percent of quick-service and 57 percent of full-service customers said they likely would use the option, too.

"Convenience has been one of the most important growth drivers for our industry during the last two decades," said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA's Research & Knowledge Group. "Consumers are always looking for away-from-home meal solutions, and ordering online is seen as a convenience option. But that doesn't mean all restaurants have to head in that direction. It's just one more solution for this diverse and consumer-driven industry to offer."

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