Digital platforms are creating a unique opportunity in the Australian On Premise – but not for every customer or venue type

CGA’s On Premise Consumer Pulse checks in with 750 Australian On Premise visitors every month to understand their recent behaviour, how they feel about the channel (including any COVID-19 restrictions) and their intentions for visits in the month ahead. This month’s research highlights that although digital menus and online ordering platforms are increasing in popularity across Australian venues, they’re somewhat polarising for consumers.
Download the Australia On Premise Consumer Pulse report

In the most recent Consumer Pulse, CGA’s research highlights that 63% of Australians are visiting pubs, bars and restaurants to the same frequency as usual, with 22% going out more than usual – 8pp higher than those visiting less than usual. For those visiting less than normal, the main reason is still linked to COVID concerns (44%) and the related restrictions (18%). These COVID-related drivers for reduced visitation have continued to significantly abate however, dropping 7pp in the last month.

 

Cost of living and disposable income concerns however have not reduced in the last month. In fact, disposable income worries have seen a gain of 9pp in the last month with 40% of those visiting the channel less saying that this is one of the drivers for that behaviour.

 

If this trend continues, then next month will be the first time since in CGA’s Australia  Consumer Pulse that disposable income challenges are keeping more people away from bars and restaurants than COVID-related concerns.

 

As the On Premise Path to Purchase continues to evolve for consumers, this month’s research examines how consumers are viewing the offer pre-visit, and then ordering in-outlet, with a focus on interaction with digital platforms.

 

CGA’s research reveals that 74% of consumers interact with a venue’s online presence ahead of a visit, and this figure increases to a huge 91% for the 18-34 year olds.

 

1 in 4 customers are influenced on what to drink by a general online drinks menu prior to visit, with roughly 1 in 5 consumers influenced pre-visit specifically by an online Cocktail menu (20%) and Wine menu (18%). This is a significant opportunity for partnership between beverage brands and operators.

 

When in venue, 64% of consumers now interact with digital menus and online ordering platforms. This proportion is even higher amongst 18-34 year olds, at 84%.

 

For many, especially younger consumers, digital ordering platforms provide an opportunity to enhance the experience, with participating venues thought of as more modern (39%) and tech savvy (42%) and as delivering faster service (33%).

 

Digital ordering solutions also seem to support exploration of the whole offer for some consumers with 29% saying that this helps them spend more time browsing the menu, and 22% stating they look at more drinks categories and try new food when using these platforms. 15% of consumers also say that these solutions help them order more drinks, 12% take the drinks recommendations offered and 10% say they pay more for drinks via this method

 

When more options are available however, people still prefer to order with a person at the table or bar with less than 1 in 10 actively preferring the digital method when other methods are available.

 

In short, the interaction and expert reassurance of ordering in-person still beats the speed and convenience benefits of digital. This is especially true for high-end, premium venues with less than 1 in 5 consumers expecting to see digital ordering options present.

 

Scott Elliott, CGA managing director – Americas & Asia Pacific, said: “Globally we’ve seen a growing trend towards digital in the On Premise, with greater numbers of consumers coming to expect and adopt these platforms as common practice. Suppliers should be working closely with venues to understand the relevancy of these platforms from not just a consumer perspective, but how it fits their specific venue.

If they get this right, there seems to be a great opportunity to enhance the experience for many customers and to provide a powerful vehicle for offer exploration, experimentation and premiumisation. It absolutely must be appropriate to the venue however and for more high-end outlets, this research suggests that bartenders and staff remain the most effective advocates for drinks brands and there is still hugely fertile ground for investment in advocacy and brand training.”

 

Download the latest Australia Consumer Pulse Report here – https://cgastrategy.com/australia-on-premise-impact-report-consumer/

 

To learn more about CGA’s consumer research and market measurement services across both Australia and New Zealand, please contact Scott Elliott at scott.elliott@cgastrategy.com

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