Impact of digital transformation on UAE’s food sector: Survey

Impact of digital transformation on UAE’s food sector: Survey

A new survey of individuals in the UAE that canvassed their preferences to ordering food, has demonstrated that while they enjoy using tech-driven options for ordering food, it is also making them more impatient.

Waiting Time

Of those surveyed:

  • 49% don’t want to wait more than five minutes to order at the counter or drive-thru window (54%)
  • 62% of in-house diners were upset if they had to wait more than 10 minutes.

The results are part of an Oracle Food and Beverage survey conducted by Untold Insights. The surveyed polled more than 5,700 global consumers across 11 geographies, including 526 in the UAE.

  • More than half (55%) of in-house diners don’t like to wait more than 10 minutes to be served, while 76% said that they became impatient after 15 minutes.
  • For those ordering at the counter, 40% said they get annoyed if they have to wait more than five minutes and 69% didn’t want to wait more than 10 minutes to be served.
  • When visiting a drive-thru meanwhile, 15% said that they don’t want to wait more than two minutes to get their food, while almost half (45%) said they were fed up after five minutes of waiting.

Digital Dining and In-Person Dining Options

While those surveyed indicated that they are mostly willing to adopt new digital dining options, they also lament the impact it is having on in-person dining.

  • More than half (55%) said they feel like all the delivery and take-out orders result in longer waits when they order in-person
  • 36% said the atmosphere of dining-in is hurt by delivery drivers picking up food.

But despite these concerns, 62% of people noted they will eat out daily to several times a week in coming months and showed a growing loyalty to their favourite brands.

“Online and mobile ordering was a lifeline to restaurants shut down in the pandemic and continues to provide steady revenue,”

said, Simon de Montfort Walker, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Oracle Food and Beverage.

“As already short-staffed restaurants reopen, they are grappling with how to manage both in-person diners and deliveries, while meeting growing expectations on speed and service. Technology that helps kitchens manage and time orders from multiple channels will be key to keeping pace and ensuring diners stay happy and loyal.”

Curbside Pick-up (or Click-and-Collect)

Among the other findings of the report, those surveyed said that curbside pick-up (or click-and-collect) continues to be a popular option that both determines where people chose to eat and their loyalty towards a brand.

  • 78% of those surveyed are in favour of this method and are more inclined to choose establishments offering it.
  • 56% say it makes them more loyal to the eatery.
  • 74% say they would spend more because of this service option.

Personalised Communications

When it comes to personalised communications, the survey found that consumers have grown to appreciate, and even expect, proactive recommendations from their favorite restaurants, but want to control access to their data.

  • 60% love the idea of receiving notifications about personalised offers from restaurants based on their current location.
  • 50% want to be prompted with personalised order suggestions based on their purchase history
  • 53% want to manage their dietary preferences with their chosen establishments
  • 51% want control over who has access to the personal data they share with restaurants and delivery drivers.

Sustainability and Healthy Options

The survey also canvassed sustainability and the preference for healthy options among those surveyed. It found that in addition to offering click and collect, and personalising offers based on data, consumers are increasingly influenced by a brand’s sustainability, environmental and corporate governance (ESG) initiatives, and healthy meal options.

  • 58% rate efforts to lower food waste (such as donations to food banks) as vital and influential to who they spend money with.
  • 56% rate clear labelling about source of food and ingredients as vital.
  • Also, 77% of consumers rate healthy options on menu as important.

Mobile Ordering and Human Interactions

The Oracle survey found that while mobile ordering continues to gain traction, in certain settings, consumers still prefer human interactions.

  • 51% prefer to order directly from a server when dining in, while 13% would like to order from their mobile device.
  • When ordering take out, 35% would like to order directly from the restaurant on their mobile device, 32% from a third-party like UberEats from their mobile device, and 10% directly from a server.
  • 20% prefer to order directly from a server when ordering drive-thru, and 41% prefer to order from their mobile device.

Payment Options

With regards to payment options, while cash is still high on consumers preferred ways to pay (56%), restaurants are increasingly adapting to new forms of payments to meet changing expectations.

  • 59% of consumers like to pay with a credit card
  • 38% prefer to utilise contactless payment methods such as Apple or Google Pay
  • 6% are embracing alternative payments such as cryptocurrency.

News Source: Gulf Business

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