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Key Trends On The Restaurant Readiness Index Report

December 20, 2020

Head of Hospitality

Head of Hospitality

Article Overview

10min read

The recently released Restaurant Readiness Index report by Paytronix and PYMNTS has produced some very interesting information for restaurant owners. The report questioned over 2,100 restaurant consumers and almost 500 restaurant owners to discover more insight into the industry trends caused by COVID-19.

Keep reading for the key takeaways.

Higher Emphasis On Drive-Thrus

For restaurant consulting firms and those up to date with the latest updates, this should be obvious. Consumers right now are prioritizing contactless options and prefer ordering their meals without having to leave the safety of their vehicle.


Aside from digital options, the report indicated that up to 56% of the top-performing establishments used the drive-thru feature to stand apart from the competition. The study further showed that 30% of consumers were more inclined to order at a restaurant that offered drive-thrus.

Loyalty And Rewards Programs Work

The growth in e-commerce has affected all forms of retail business, including the restaurant industry. Research from PYMNTS shows that 23% of restaurants are seeing less physical traffic when compared to pre-pandemic levels but that digital engagement has risen within the same period.


But, when the study drilled in deeper, it discovered that 90% of the top-performing establishments had loyalty programs. Plenty of prior evidence indicates that loyalty programs are an extremely effective tool for retaining and enticing customers back to your restaurant but close to 40% of restaurants surveyed did not have any rewards system in place.

Upper Management Does Not Understand Brand Loyalty

The report indicated a serious disconnect between what restaurant managers think consumers need and what consumers actually need. This disconnect is at the heart of the underutilization of loyalty programs – only 32% of managers believe such programs are important for the profitable running of a restaurant. 

On the other hand, 51% of consumers surveyed on the report say that loyalty programs and increased menu offerings are crucial to the success of a restaurant. This disconnect extends to kiosks where only 19% of consumers believe it is a crucial feature while nearly 40% of managers felt it is important for a restaurant.

Loyalty Rewards and Mobile Ordering Are The Future

Takeout and delivery have seen a sharp uptick ever since the pandemic began and has indeed accelerated online food delivery adoption by about 2 years. Unfortunately, the report indicates that adding online food delivery options alone isn’t enough to win consumers in the current market conditions.


Instead, restaurant owners should look towards adding online payment options and offering curbside pickup, completing a trifecta of contactless ordering choices. The study continued, noting that loyalty rewards offered better returns when compared to restaurants that did not offer them. The combination of loyalty programs and mobile order-ahead opportunities was a clear differentiation between top-performing restaurants and those below. 

The recently released report certainly offers much-needed insight into an industry facing an unprecedented situation. For restaurant owners, these findings can show aspects of their restaurant marketing plan that needs improvement and if the direction they are taking is the right direction.

Head of Hospitality

Angela Soudi is a visionary writer with 20+ years of experience in Sales and Marketing across Europe, Canada, and the Middle East. She is highly invested in actively contributing articles to pioneering hospitality platforms and websites.

Head of Hospitality
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