The "Uber-ization" of the Restaurant Industry

Did you know that people have taken over two billion Uber rides?

The Uber-ization of our economy has changed consumers’ overall expectations about the many services that we interact with on a daily basis. People expect to receive what they want at the push of a (mobile) button. From ordering food to on-demand transportation and delivery, people are increasingly seeking the fastest and most efficient service possible.

Mobile is changing businesses, cities, and consumer expectations. It has given rise to services and companies that connect supply and demand through mobile apps. Rather than waiting on hold, we chat with bots. Instead of standing outside hoping to catch a cab, we order a ride that alerts us to its arrival.

The on-demand economy is only growing larger. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, over 22.4 million consumers are spending in excess of $57.6 billion in the on-demand economy. People want speed, convenience, and an improved experience. This is the new playing field that we are all competing on. If you don’t embrace this change, your customers are going to gravitate to businesses that are.

The on-demand economy isn’t just confined to areas like transportation (Uber and Lyft), tourism (Airbnb), freelance work (Elance, TaskRabbit), and household services (Alfred and Handy). It’s quickly permeating the restaurant industry across all dining segments.

Consumers now have an almost unlimited array of food choices available to them. From virtual restaurants to a growing number of meal kit services, there are an increasing number of competitors fighting for your guests’ food dollars. Rather than pushing back against this sea change, you need to become an active member of the on-demand economy. Ultimately, convenience always wins.

You can make your dining experience more personal, entertaining, and exciting. But, to truly compete, you must embrace new technology and services. People are searching for your restaurant on mobile devices. Strengthen your profile on Yelp. It represents a network of 90 million potential customers. Leverage solutions that improve your guests’ waiting, ordering and payment experiences.

This presents both an opportunity and challenge for restaurant operators. Change can be scary, requiring new business processes, staff members, and technology partners to meet shifting consumer demand. Change can be amazing, leading to greater customer satisfaction by moving faster and more thoughtfully than your competitors. It can lead to greater revenue by giving people more convenient means to discover and visit your establishment.

From ordering ahead to guests joining your restaurant’s waiting list from their mobile phones (Thank you, Nowait), our industry is being transformed by on-demand services. We now live in a world where the mantra “I want what I want, when I want it” is no longer exclusive to the wealthiest among us. The rise of the on-demand economy has now turned it into a standard that everyone expects to be met.