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Apps are changing how we eat

Rawpixel 351766 Unsplash Rawpixel 351766 Unsplash Placehoder
4 min read

Just like e-commerce has changed how we shop, food apps like UberEats and Foodora are now changing how we eat. As some restaurants are taking out tables and expanding their kitchens to meet the food delivery trend, others are developing their own apps to change the experience inside the restaurants.

Home delivery is hardly new in the world of restaurants, but over the past few years this market has gone through an amazing development. Downloads of food-ordering apps, like Foodora or UberEats, has increased by 380 percent in just three years, and the companies colorful delivery-workers have quickly become a natural part of our cities.

According to a report from the investment bank UBS, the global value of this market is set to increase from 35 to 365 billion dollars per year by 2030. In the US, there are already reports of restaurants reducing the number of seats and expanding their kitchens to keep up with this development. In addition, the number of "virtual restaurants" that only sell their food through these apps is expected to grow quickly in the coming years.

This development shares a lot of similarities with how e-commerce has changed the conditions for the retail industry in the past few decades, but there are also clear differences. One such difference is that food deliveries, unlike clothes, electronics or books, still rely on geographical proximity. For restaurants it is still vital to remain in attractive locations close to where their customers live. Because of this, the UBS report makes the prediction that food delivery apps won't kill local restaurant, instead it's the home cooked meals that they think run the highest risk of being reduced to history.

By the numbers



The increase in downloads of food delivery apps in the last three years.


The predicted dollar value of food deliveries by 2030.


The number of Americans who have bought something through Starbucks' app

Changing the restaurant experience

But even if delivery apps won't replace your local restaurant, they do give a clear indication that customer demands are changing. Just like online shopping led to demands of greater convenience within retail, restaurant guests are starting to expect a greater amount of flexibility and speed.

A clear effect of this is that we're also seeing innovations when it comes to how we order and pay for food in restaurants. Perhaps the best example of this is the success of Starbucks' app. Their app allows customers to order and pay for drinks and food in advance and then simply pick it up at their local Starbucks cafe. Over 23 million Americans are estimated to have made a purchase through this app, making it the most popular payment app in the US, ahead of both Apple Pay and Google Pay.

In the Nordics we can also see examples of how restaurant apps are changing how we order and pay. One of Bambora's customers, the Swedish tapas restaurant Pinchos, has allowed their customers to order and pay through the restaurant's app since 2012 and Pinchos is now one of Sweden's fastest growing restaurant chains. In Norway, another one of Bambora's customers, OrderX, has shown how app-based ordering and payments can reduce lines and increase sales at events and festivals.

Another example of a player that has changed the restaurant experience is Bambora's partner WEIQ. WEIQ offers an ordering app where the basic idea is to eliminate the queuing, and the waiting for the waitress by letting customers see the menu themselves, place their orders and pay directly in the app. This way, you do not only create a more pleasant experience for the individual guest but also better conditions for the restaurant. Restaurants have a lot of fixed costs for premises and equipment and if all guests come at the same time, it is important to have an efficient system to be able to sell as much as possible once the customers are there, this is here WEIQ's app comes in. Read more about WEIQ's and Bambora's collaboration here.

Building a better experience

At their core, restaurants are all about experiences and no app will ever replace a great tasting menu, a good atmosphere or the social aspect of a good restaurant. The strength of these apps instead lies in the fact that they place the control of the experience in the hands of the visitor and eliminates both waiting and lines. That way, the apps can eliminate the things that are keeping you from enjoying your food and company.

At Bambora, we have worked with this type of solutions for a long time and we understand how smooth payments helps create the experience that you want from your restaurant. Among our customers are several examples of successful restaurant apps and we believe that more restaurant guests will come to expect this type of flexibility in the future. Regardless of what kind of restaurant you run we can help you create a payment solution that helps your customers get exactly what they want.