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The Impact Of Digitization In The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia’s Restaurant Industry

Deliverect, a global scale-up that integrates and accelerates online orders for restaurants and food businesses, today announced new consumer research that examines ‘The Four Ds of Digital Success’ - Discover, Deliver, Delight and Drive. The research revealed that people are relying on digital platforms more than ever to discover new restaurants, conduct research on what they offer and build a lasting relationship with the brand itself.

The results show that KSA consumers are open to the role that robotics will play in restaurants compared to the US and UK, with 66% comfortable with drones and robots carrying out food preparation (63%) or service (72%). In fact, when consumers in Saudi Arabia were asked about the technologies that help create a positive experience at a restaurant, more that 50% prioritized QR codes and contactless payments.

The survey of 5,000 people, including 1,000 in KSA, which was commissioned by Deliverect and conducted by Censuswide, revealed the important role that technology plays in each stage of the consumer journey, from how they first discover restaurants to what ultimately drives customer loyalty and repeat orders.

The Discovery Phase

The results showed that 34% of KSA consumers are using Google Search, 56% are using food delivery apps and 29% are using social media platforms to find new restaurants. When it comes to researching these newly discovered restaurants, 86% of consumers would go directly to a brand’s website or food delivery apps. The research also delved into what KSA consumers are looking for as part of this research and what leads to them ordering from a particular establishment, with a variety of menu options (94%), affordability (95%) and high standard of health and safety (93%) all scoring highly.

Naji Haddad, MENA General Manager at Deliverect, said: “With Saudi Arabia’s Food and Beverage sector being the largest in the MENA region, people’s views are crucial to understand their preferences, especially at a time when the sector is growing rapidly. The survey results show that delivery apps and websites are still the most popular method when it comes to identifying new outlets which is no surprise considering that technology is at our fingertips through the use of mobile phones and tablets.”

“As the Kingdom continues to develop and transform itself into a leading global destination for trade, business and tourism, there is no doubt that the F&B sector will go from strength to strength and outlets must begin to embrace changes in their day-to-day operations to better serve their customers – both in the short and long-term.”

Delivering at Every Touchpoint

The research reveals that once a decision is made on where they would like to order from, 38% of the customers in Saudi Arabia choose to do so from delivery apps. 64% said that it is easier to use than other mediums, while 52% like that they have access to reviews and ratings and 35% enjoy the premium features. Analysing the data, it’s clear that a cohesive and intuitive digital experience is essential when it comes to building brand loyalty and delivering your brand everywhere and at every touchpoint.

Surprise and Delight

The element of ‘human touch’ can also help drive personalization, make customers feel valued and complement your digital brand. When asked what makes people in KSA feel loyal to a restaurant, friendly and attentive staff (24%), fast delivery (40%) and reliable and accurate service (21%) and special offers (30%) all appeared as key elements in delighting customers when engaging with a restaurant, all of which can be driven by a blend of digital experiences and human interaction.

Drive Loyalty and Customer Satisfaction

Digitization is clearly imperative in driving consumer loyalty in the Kingdom. When asked about the features they value the most when ordering from a restaurant’s website or app, 35% prioritized the menu details, and 43% chose the easy-to-use navigation, further proving just how valuable digital elements are from initial discovery to repeat purchases.

Zhong Xu, CEO and Co-Founder of Deliverect, commented: “It’s not surprising that consumers are increasingly relying on digital platforms to enhance their restaurant interactions and engagement, especially following the pandemic where a lot of new technology became commonplace in our everyday lives,” said

“The findings outline the importance of restaurant brands creating a strong digital presence, maintaining consistency, and offering compelling experiences to stand out in a competitive market, all of which cannot be underestimated when it comes to sustaining growth and increasing customer retention. Integrating a perfect blend of technology, human interaction and personalization is a must for all restaurants looking to make a lasting impact.”


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