If your restaurant isn’t accepting online orders yet, it’s about time you read this article. Online ordering is one of the most convenient ways for customers to place an order at your restaurant. It doesn’t take a lot of time and, in fact, can significantly reduce the amount of time you take noting down orders during a phone call. And unlike orders accepted by phone, there is a very slim chance of mishearing an order because a computer takes all of the orders and relays it to the point-of-sale system.
Plus, as tech-savvy and impatient millennials start to dominate the foodservice customer base, it’s now more important than ever for you to adopt new technologies that your customers use every day. According to a survey by QSR Web, online food ordering has grown by a whopping 300% and shows no sign of slowing down. Unfortunately, 6 out of 10 small businesses online still don’t have a web presence. Take advantage of this gap in the market by upping your service and providing digital ordering to your customers.
1. Make it easy for customers to order
Hungry customers are impatient customers. They don’t want to have to try and figure out how your online ordering page works. They simply want to take a look at the page and intuitively know where to go right away. This is something that pizza deliveries have mastered for ages, with their websites neatly organized into categories such as size, crust, and toppings. If you’re wondering if your order page needs some tweaking, take a look at your analytics and see if you have more visitors coming in than actual orders. If there are fewer orders, it may be time to revamp your order page.
2. Audit Your Time
Take a look at your online order process and figure out which steps can be cut down. The ordering process starts at the point where the customer places an order and ends when it has been picked up and delivered. Along the way, the order has to go through the POS system and to the kitchen, where staff has to retrieve the ingredients from the commercial refrigerators and prepare the order using the necessary restaurant equipment. Afterward, the food has to be packed and placed in warming bags before it gets into the hands of the customers.
3. Assess your resources
How many online orders do you expect to take every day? Offering digital ordering no doubt requires you to invest in technological systems. You can hire an IT expert to take care of this for you, but you also need to be able to provide adequate resources to run the infrastructure that is needed to handle the volume of orders coming in. Otherwise, you risk leaving customers disappointed when they flock to your website or app only to find out it has crashed because the server can’t handle the number of orders coming in.
4. Go mobile
Research done by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Viggle reveals that 69% of customers prefer to order food on their phones. That’s not surprising at all since mobile has quietly overtaken desktop use in the last few years. Consider hiring a professional to develop an app where customers can send you their orders. Another alternative is to have your developer build a mobile-friendly website that shows up properly on a mobile screen. Don’t forget to integrate fast-pay programs such as Android Pay and Apple Pay, which allow customers to pay for their orders using their phones.
5. Team up with a third-party provider
If developing your own app is not an option, you can pair up with a service that provides an online ordering system instead. These providers, such as Toast POS, Observe, and Restolabs, allow you to create a branded online ordering page for your restaurant that you can then embed into your website or app. Some services also let you integrate your order form into your Facebook and other social media pages. Most of them will also provide detailed analytics so you can take a look at the hard data you need to improve your ordering services.