Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, consumers have increasingly turned to online shopping for anything and everything. Chief among their new online ordering habits? Food. (Chipotle, for example, recently announced a 220+% year-over-year increase in digital orders.) And it’s no surprise that college and university students—often technology’s earliest adopters—have been some of the pandemic’s most enthusiastic online orderers.
But if you thought online meal ordering would die out with the virus, think again. A recent survey conducted by Nutrislice found that students who have come to rely on online ordering have little intention of going back.
Let’s break down what the nearly 900 students we surveyed told us—and what it means for higher education foodservice.
87% of Students Favor Online Ordering On Campus
The data: Online ordering isn’t reserved for visits back home. Of the more than 50% of students in our study who had already returned to campus, a whopping 87% said that, since their return, online ordering for pickup through a website or mobile app was a very or somewhat important factor when choosing what to eat.
What it means for you: What you offer is hugely important, but it’s also crucial to consider how you offer it. If you don’t allow for easy online ordering, hungry students may eliminate on-campus restaurants and cafés as options before even checking out the amazing meals you have on offer.
Post-Pandemic, 89% of Students Will Still Dine Based on Ordering Capabilities
The data: Even after the pandemic recedes, 89% of students predict they’ll still consider the ability to order via a website or mobile app a very or somewhat important factor when it comes to deciding where to eat.
What it means for you: If you’ve put off implementing a mobile ordering system or are using a provider that charges costly per-order fees, it’s time to rethink. With nearly nine in ten students indicating that they’ll continue buying food via the web, you’ll want to invest in a system that supports mobile ordering at scale.
88% of Students Want to Limit Human Interaction Indefinitely
The data: Virus or no, students still prefer interacting with technology over people when they order and pay. Nearly 90% of students we asked told us that they’ll prefer food providers that allow for contactless ordering and payment rather than those that require close contact with servers and cashiers—even when the pandemic is over.
What it means for you: By installing technology where you once needed staff, you’ll be able to redistribute your team to work more efficiently on the tasks only humans can perform—like designing and cooking great food!
If you haven’t yet built out a robust online and/or mobile ordering system for your on-campus cafés, markets, and dining halls, it’s time to get going. Without these convenient offerings, students who would have otherwise stayed on campus may turn to off-campus competitors that are better equipped, technologically.
If you’re ready to improve your online ordering—or to build your system for the first time—Nutrislice’s interconnected platform can help you offer seamless mobile ordering that manages volume, features informative menus, charges a flat rate instead of a per-order fee, and never advertises your competitors. Contact us to get started.