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Coming to a Car Near You: In-Vehicle Online Food Ordering and Payment


Traditionally, restaurants earned business with advertising, promotions, and loyalty programs. On the road, where people spend an average of 72 minutes in their cars every day (almost 440 hours per year!), the car radio, billboards, and even other vehicles promote specific food brands and places to eat. But these static marketing styles present some challenges. Restaurants are unable to achieve any kind of direct engagement with their customers, or truly measure effectiveness – feedback is general and approximate at best. And for consumers, most mobile commerce functions still require the use of a cell phone, which is not only dangerous while driving but also illegal in many places, making it difficult and unsafe to order food or make a reservation while on the go.

If restaurants had a dynamic way to engage directly with consumers from within their cars, operators would reduce friction points for the consumer and improve direct engagement. Knowing this, automakers and tech companies are teaming up to offer consumers innovative new technology solutions for in-vehicle ordering and payment. These technology platforms will make it possible for people to order their favorite food and drinks or make dinner reservations through their vehicle’s infotainment screen,
giving restaurant brands the opportunity to reach customers directly and in more convenient ways. This article from Xevo discusses the capabilities of in-vehicle commerce platforms and how these platforms can benefit restaurants' bottom line.

How does it work?

Consumers who are members of a restaurant's loyalty program will have the ability to link their loyalty account to their vehicle. Diners will be able to access stored payment information, preferences, and order history all through their car's infotainment screen. They also have the option to create accounts for brands they have not tried yet. Once an account is linked, consumers are able to quickly order their morning cup of coffee, “the usual” from their favorite burger joint, or reserve a table at their Friday-night spot, all from the comfort of their vehicle.  


Restaurants should leverage this new technology for two key reasons:

More Convenience, Greater Loyalty
By transforming time spent in the car into a business opportunity, restaurants can now reach customers at the point of decision, offering promotions, the ability to order and pay, make reservations, or to find a brand’s closest location(s) and use their enabled navigation system to get directions, all from the in-car display. These new connected capabilities make it possible for restaurants to generate an entirely new revenue stream.

Brands also have the option to deliver offers that are only available through the car, motivating people to use the technology and encouraging them to try new brands with incentives for creating an account or placing an order. This strengthens existing customer relationships and encourages new ones, stimulating the adoption of loyalty programs and ultimately increasing revenue.

By giving restaurants the ability to target promotional activities by audience, category, time of day, and event, these automotive commerce platforms let brands offer customers what they want, when they want it. The technology incorporates information like a vehicle’s location and the time of day to add context to interactions and transactions. This allows restaurants to deliver situationally-relevant promotions, such as offering a pizza coupon at dinnertime if both front seatbelts are buckled.

And when a brand is introducing a new product or opening a new location, the platform provides them with a new channel for informing the consumer, with the option to present offers and information in their vehicle.


Effective Measurement

One of this technology’s biggest benefits for restaurants is the ability to gain insight into how their customers interact with the brand. Restaurants can measure the effectiveness of promotional activities and determine how new products are being received. Companies are then able to incorporate this information into their strategies and planning, adjusting as needed to increase success and ensure that they are delivering the new features and products their customers really want.

Restaurants are committed to providing their guests with delicious food and exceptional experiences, whether they’re dining in or taking their food to go.
In-car commerce platforms offer seamless, integrated technology that supports that commitment, creating an opportunity for restaurants to deliver the conveniences consumers want and need in their busy lives while also improving the restaurant’s bottom line.

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