Food service industry: online payments still have a way to go

Cyril Blondel
Posted on 08 April 2021 by Cyril Blondel
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Between lockdowns and curfews, it is over a year now that the food service industry has been weakened by the Covid-19 crisis. The industry has recorded a 38% fall in revenue, and, not surprisingly, it is the fast-food sector and ordering online that have fared best.

Faced with this dramatic change in habits, a survey, conducted by OpinionWay for Dalenys2, sheds light on the new behaviour of consumers and their expectations concerning ways of booking, ordering and paying for food online for 2021.

Click & collect, a necessary and largely adopted way of buying

With the closure of shops, the habits of French consumers have changed: they are now much more favourably disposed towards e-commerce. This acceptance of e-commerce is shown by the popularity of click & collect at the end of 2020, with 85% of those surveyed believing click & collect should be made more widely available.

More specifically, for restaurants, moving their businesses online has proved crucial in their struggle to stay afloat.  Thus, after the first lockdown, some restaurant chains put in place a click & collect service in just a few weeks. Other restaurants capitalised on a click & collect service that already existed, such as Del Arte’s chain of Italian restaurants: Dalenys has been able to help these restaurants digitalise their sales channels, with more than 200 restaurants now offering a click & collect service. 

Despite these initiatives, the French still perceive the food service sector as being the least equipped in terms of online solutions, with 50% of those questioned believing restaurants to be either “late” or “very late” in implementing online solutions (this percentage drops to 15% for the household appliance/hi-fi sector and to 29% for DIY, for example).

Consumers’ expectations for more online solutions

Logically, to make good this deficiency in online solutions, there is a high expectation for new ways of booking, ordering and paying online. Of the online solutions which those surveyed would be ready to use in restaurants, once restaurants have re-opened, include:

  • Pay at table (you have your meal at the restaurant and pay via an app or payment link on your smartphone), for 37%
  • Click & collect, for 28%
  • Home delivery with ordering online, for 28%
  • Online payment (you order and pay online when you book; you then go to the restaurant where you have your meal), for 20%

Only 20% of those surveyed said they did not want any online buying solution.

As far as restaurants are concerned, what digital solutions would you be prepared to use on a regular basis in 2021 (when restaurants reopen)?

As far as restaurants are concerned, what digital solutions would you be prepared to use on a regular basis in 2021 (when restaurants reopen)?

Amongst these results, there is a surprisingly marked contrast in the answers given by men and those given by women: more women were in favour of click & collect solutions (32% of women surveyed, compared with 24% of men surveyed) and delivery (33%, compared with 22%), and the men surveyed were more inclined to pay-at-table solutions (40%, compared with (34% of women).

Also, the survey shows that families are much more favourable to online solutions, since more families were favourable to each of the proposed solutions (compared with those surveyed who had no children living at home under the age of 18).

Finally, those surveyed aged 65 or over were characterised by their strong desire to eat out in restaurants again: 44% expressed a wish for pay-at-table solutions, but only 17% said they were favourable to click & collect, and 16% to home delivery.

Read the details of these results in the study carried out by OpinionWay for Dalenys: download the survey.

1 source: NPD Group 2020 report on out-of-home food service 
2 OpinionWay survey for Dalenys “Digitalisation of commerce: French expectations for 2021” carried out on 25 and 26 November 2020.

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