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A new report published by Tillster shows that quick-service restaurant customers are increasingly opting to use restaurant-specific apps over 3rd party delivery apps.

The report, which analyzed the results of a survey of over 1,000 quick-service and fast-casual diners, showed that the number of customers who used restaurant-owned ordering channels over the past three months has increased 25% compared to last year, and 17% of those surveyed say they plan to use third-party apps and websites less in the coming year.

One reason diners are opting for restaurant-specific apps or websites is that they see them as lower cost. 44% indicated they preferred a restaurant’s app or website because it was less expensive. Another reason is the benefits of native restaurant app loyalty programs; over four in ten of those surveyed pointed to the restaurant loyalty rewards and benefits available through a native restaurant app/website.

Another reason third-party ordering apps are losing their shine is the decreasing number of choices as these platforms scale back the number of restaurants they support. According to Tillster, 45% of those surveyed in 2023 pointed to a “variety of options” as the top reason for preferring third-party apps, a number that dropped to 36% of respondents this year.

The survey also asked diners what they thought of in-store ordering kiosks. The report says an increasing number of diners prefer to order using kiosks, with 57% preferring this option compared to 36% last year.

Why are diners growing more enamored with kiosk ordering? According to the report, a growing preference for kiosk ordering is because many diners see them as quicker, more convenient, and a better way to see ordering options. 34% say ordering with a kiosk is faster (up 10% over last year), and 33% believe it’s more convenient (a 22% bump over the previous year). The biggest reason (45%) cited by diners for preferring kiosks is they say kiosks show them all the options, up 10% over 2023.

While newer approaches, such as remote cashiers or AI-voice bots taking orders, have gained an outsized amount of attention (and, in some cases, provoked outrage), the reality is that the most significant transition taking place today is the rapid adoption of restaurant-specific ordering apps and in-store ordering kiosks. The diner largely sees these solutions as an added convenience compared to solutions that are more on-the-nose regarding technology displacing in-venue workers.

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