Companies spend a lot of time in building a consistent and recognisable brand to provide a clear message to their customer base. Taking this into account, the way a consumer places an order; in the traditional sense, comes in 2 clearly defined ways; separate to an operator’s unique operations.

  1. Place an order at the till, paying with cash or card.
  2. Table service ordering and payment.

Regardless of the vertical an operator serves, it doesn’t take much thought for a consumer to understand the difference. For example, in Starbucks and Wetherspoons you would place an order and pay at a till. And yet, both of these brands have an own branded app focused on their operations.

This is where the problem arises for small to medium-sized chains.

A customer downloading each app first has to sign up and navigate each differently designed app. This requires thought, adds complexity to the service and doesn’t create continuity within the mobile ordering industry; in summary friction.

Secondly, a customer has to download and hold both apps on their phone; completely contradicting the development and need for a ‘one app fits all’ solution in which the app industry is leaning towards. Simply understood, consumers phone real estate is precision and they don’t want to download multiple apps doing a similar job. Would you?

This means that from the consumer’s perspective; as more branded apps* come into the market, this will ultimately direct mobile ordering as a novelty “let’s give it ago” industry without promoting recurring usage. This will likely disinterest the branded operators of mobile ordering being the future and as a viable option for their businesses; ultimately dismissing an aggregate solution.

Because mobile ordering is in its infancy, I will use the hotel industry to highlight consumer need.

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As you can see, the aggregators have far more downloads in comparison to the independents suggesting customers value the ‘one stop solution’ approach which promotes recurring usage. If you look at the customer satisfaction rating (4.4 Aggregator/4.02 independent average) the aggregator’s higher average rating suggests that they are managing to keep on trend with innovation and customer feedback in development.

Small to medium chains generally task their marketing department with app creation; in addition to their other commitments, this requires ongoing additional resources to maintain and update their app in line with customer feedback and future innovations in the app industry.

Considering the above, and their industry credibility, Starbucks and Wetherspoons are likely to see similar success but will be limiting themselves to their own customer base and will be heavily reliant on their marketing teams to ensure their app is constantly being developed in line with market innovation trend and customer feedback.

Yes, having an own-brand app allows independent and small to medium chain operators to fully control their brand and yes, the independent operators will be able to operationally design the app to integrate well with their operations. This is the trade-off in working with an aggregate app. The responsibility lies with the aggregator and operator in finding a mutually beneficial solution to satisfy consumer demand.

In summary, the top 10 brands in each industry will likely see success in a branded solution; albeit in a limited capacity. Consumers want and need consistency from mobile ordering. They don’t want to download multiple apps providing a similar offering and as more branded apps enter the market it creates navigational complexity (friction) for consumers. The responsibility for an aggregator is to recognise the need to understand the future trend of the market and to not create a competitive marketplace blocking competing operators from signing up.

At Ordoo, we stand firmly behind aggregators as being the success of mobile ordering and we recognise the challenge in retaining brand identity and finding an operational solution to mitigate our impact. Our understanding of the future of mobile ordering is reflective of this blog article and we are currently wanting to sit down with small to medium sized chains to show what we are capable of.

Please get in touch

I personally welcome open discussion on this topic and encourage you to drop me an email on

*The term ‘Own branded or branded’ app also includes white labelled solutions for the purpose of this blog post

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