The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Digital ordering platforms gain momentum in the NZ on-premise

Recent research from CGA highlights that 60% of Kiwis are visiting pubs, bars and restaurants at the same frequency as usual (+3pp versus April), with 15% going out more than usual.

Of those visiting less than usual, the main drivers are around cost of living and disposable income concerns, with 43% stating they are trying to save money and 42% with less disposable income.

Forty percent are concerned about COVID-19 cases, but this has dropped a significant 15 percentage points versus April.

This month’s research continues CGA’s series on how the On Premise Path to Purchase has evolved for New Zealand consumers post-COVID-19, with the latest research highlighting how consumers view offers pre-visit and then order in-outlet, focussing on interaction with digital platforms.

The research reveals that 84% of consumers interact with at least one online platform ahead of their visit to a venue, increasing to 88% of 18-34 year olds.

More than a quarter of customers (28%) are influenced on what to drink by a general online drinks menu prior to visit, with 17% of consumers influenced pre-visit specifically by an online cocktail menu and 10% for wine menus.

This presents a significant opportunity for beverage brands to partner with operators to develop targeted campaigns within these categories.

When in venue, 53% of consumers now interact with digital menus and online ordering platforms.

This is mainly driven by younger age groups, who are more receptive of these platforms, with 44% finding them appealing and more likely to use them to place orders (70%).

For many consumers, especially those aged 18-34, digital ordering platforms provide an opportunity to enhance the experience, with participating venues thought of as more modern (40%) and tech savvy (42%) and as delivering faster service (30%).

Around a third of consumers (32%) are also more likely to spend more time browsing the menu when using digital ordering platforms, while a quarter are more likely to read drink descriptions, suggesting this technology supports exploration of the whole offer.

While 18% look at more drinks categories, 17% try new or different types of drinks, 16% try new/different brands and 14% are more likely to take drinks recommendations provided via a digital platform.

However when it comes to ordering, New Zealand consumers still prefer the service dynamic, with 56% preferring to order via a server at the tables when it comes to drinks, and 30% with a bartender at the bar.

While digital ordering is perceived as convenient, consumers are opting for in-person ordering because they enjoy the interaction and waitstaff are able to answer any questions they might have.

This is particularly relevant for more high-end, premium venues where just a small percentage of consumers would expect to see digital menus – consumers are more likely to expect these in quick service venues or fast food outlets (41%), or value venues (32%).

“There’s been a growing trend towards digital in the on-premise at a global level, with more consumers expecting and adopting these platforms,” says Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas & Asia Pacific.

“Suppliers should look to partner with operators to understand the relevancy of this technology from not only a consumer perspective, but also at a venue level.

“There’s a significant opportunity to enhance the on-premise experience for customers and provide a powerful vehicle for offer exploration, experimentation and premiumisation.

“It absolutely must be appropriate to the venue however and for more high-end outlets, our research suggests that bartenders and staff remain the most effective advocates for drinks brands and there is still hugely fertile ground for investment in advocacy and brand training.”

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