Web Design London
21 / 09 / 2021

Mobile Ordering at Festivals and Big Events

As the hospitality sector moves forward from COVID-19 – festivals and events in particular – implementing new technology solutions will be vital for survival. Digital transformation is essential to any business, and the coronavirus pandemic proved how important embracing technology has become for hotels, restaurants, venues, festivals, and events. 

Mobile ordering technology has helped many businesses in this sector continue to operate in light of the pandemic because it allows them to adhere to COVID-19 safety restrictions. Ordering food and drinks from your smartphone at events was the “wave of the future” that helped push this industry forward; after the pandemic, it’s become a necessity. 

Why festivals and events should use mobile ordering

One of the biggest organisational headaches at festivals and large events is serving food and drinks. Music festivals are known for their long queues, which both discourage people from purchasing food or drinks and dampen the overall customer experience. 

Mobile ordering solutions have multiple benefits for large events, and shorter queues are just one. 

1) More organized

Running a large event and keeping everything on track is already a big job. Having to do so using COVID-19 restrictions is even more difficult. Mobile ordering helps you keep your event organised, allowing event runners to maintain a safe social distance from guests, while still serving them quickly. Using a contactless ordering solution also provides you with real-time sales insights and can even let you modify your menu on the fly to offer more of the products your customers want to buy. 

2) Reduces menu touching

When customers order on their smartphones, there’s no passing around menus, handing out tickets, or using buzzers. The app lets a customer order, pay, and then notifies them when the food is ready. Neither servers nor guests have to touch anything that can be passed around and spread the coronavirus. 

3) Almost eliminates queues

Many attendees at music festivals and events will avoid purchasing food and drinks on-site because they don’t want to wait in a frustratingly long queue. Mobile ordering apps let people buy their refreshments from their seat or their tent and pick it up when it’s ready. It reduces waiting, entices customers to spend more, and promotes a contactless experience for everyone. 

4) Creates a better customer experience

Customers need trust signals from festivals and large events to feel at ease following COVID-19. Festivals aren’t known for promoting hygiene, but that needs to be a priority moving forward. Contactless ordering solutions help improve customers’ overall experience not only by reducing queues and contact with servers but also by giving them peace of mind knowing you take health and safety seriously.

Does mobile ordering increase revenue?

New ordering technology for events and festivals will help organisers throw safer events and continue to operate post-Covid. But these mobile ordering solutions are also shown to increase sales per person. Ordering apps are still fairly new so the data needs to be gathered, but companies who use these apps have reported increases in revenue as a result. 

Some reasons why ordering apps might increase cost per head are:

  • People order more when they’re at ease: Contactless ordering solutions help make customers more comfortable at events and festivals post-Covid. Having to breach the safe social distance to order food or drinks may make some customers anxious, and when they’re uncomfortable, customers order less. Ordering and paying with an app lets customers stay out of contact with servers or other personnel, reducing the chances of spreading the virus, and leading customers to order more.

  • More time to choose leads to ordering more: Waiting in a long line or at a crowded bar doesn’t motivate people to order extra food or drinks. In most cases, they’re tired of waiting and just want to get their order in so they can get out of line or away from the crowds. When it’s finally their turn to order, they may also feel pressured to make a quick decision so as not to keep everyone else waiting. When people don’t feel this pressure, they take their time and order more.

  • Higher spending with contactless payments: Several studies have shown that people spend more with contactless payments. We’ve seen this with the introduction of contactless cards and now with mobile ordering apps. The reasons for this are up for debate, but because contactless payment is so easy – they’re prepared to pay more.

Successful events with NOQ

In 2020 and 2021, mobile ordering app and platform NOQ worked with several event organisers to pull off Covid-safe events. One type of event that was particularly popular was drive-in cinemas. Companies like Cinestock and Celestial Cinema relied on the NOQ platform to provide mobile food and beverage ordering. Thanks to NOQ, guests and staffers at drive-in cinema events easily carried out contactless ordering and payments.

NOQ also worked with the Scottish Open in 2021 and it was the first time the event used a contactless ticketing and ordering platform. Director of StrEAT Events Vanessa Gilpin, one of the organisers, loved how easy to use NOQ was – especially considering most of the Scottish Open’s attendees tend to be older and less familiar with using smartphone technology.

“It just goes to show how it [mobile ordering] can work so easily at various events with various audiences,” Gilpin said about NOQ’s app.

Another successful, large event that NOQ helped pull off in the post-Covid era was the Fringe by the Sea festival. The staff used NOQ’s ordering app to serve drinks and food, and many of them were impressed by how much smoother operations were. Sarah Barks, Bar Manager of Hickory Bars, who worked on the Fringe by the Sea festival, said,

“We’d love to use NOQ in the future…very different for us but it’s been really good and we’ve really enjoyed it.”

Are there disadvantages to mobile ordering apps?

Mobile ordering apps are user-friendly for both customers and vendors, help promote health and safety, increase sales, and make for a better customer experience. Do they have downsides? 

The only major issue event organisers might run into with mobile ordering apps is their “newness”. Depending on their demographic, their customers may not be accustomed to using their smartphones for ordering and paying for things, so there could be a small learning curve to implement the technology. 

As more events and festivals roll out mobile ordering technology, however, their “newness” will wear off. Customers will find them familiar because such solutions will be in place at events, restaurants, bars, hotels, and other establishments in the hospitality sector. Mobile ordering apps are becoming the norm, helping event organisers and their customers move forward.


Mobile ordering apps are becoming the norm, helping event organisers and their customers move forward. They help keep events organised, they allow for following COVID-19 safety measures, and best of all, they improve the customer experience. And happy guests always make for better events.

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