Part of being a successful restaurateur is by being forward thinking and quickly adapting to this fast-changing industry. Today, consumers want convenient and easy ways to order food from your restaurant. Luckily, that’s what an online ordering system can do for you.
Statista notes that in 2020, 760 million users were using online ordering for their restaurant takeout and delivery orders, a 20% increase year-over-year. Online ordering is growing 300% faster than dine-in traffic and has become a lifeline for many restaurants.
With the demand for takeout being at an all-time high, restaurants have turned to ordering services like Grubhub and UberEats to connect with new local customers looking for food. But, these can cost your restaurant quite a bit. These ordering platforms charge multiple fees to your customers and also have high commission rates (typically 10-15% of the order total). To prevent this, you need an online ordering system that allows your guests to order directly from your restaurant.
Why is it important to have an in-house online ordering system? Not only can it save you serious money, according to Hospitality Technology, 70% of consumers prefer to order directly from a restaurant.
Here are seven essential reasons why your restaurant needs an in-house online ordering system.
1. Drives More Revenue
The most significant benefit of online ordering is the increase in revenue. Restaurants that offer online ordering get 32% more orders, on average, than those who only accept orders placed over the phone or in-store. Not only that, but ticket sizes on online orders also average 30% higher.
When guests order online, they don’t feel rushed like they do in-person or by calling in. They order at their own pace and feel more inclined to browse through all your menu offerings, increasing add-ons, average order value, and bottom line.
2. Captures Valuable Customer Data
In-house online ordering systems capture customer data for your customer relationship management system (CRM). This data can be used to create targeted marketing campaigns and loyalty programs. Use it to attract new customers online, retain your hard-earned ones, and drive repeat purchases.
Online ordering systems provide insight into your customers’ spending habits, purchases, preferences, and more. Data from order patterns allow you to make personalized recommendations for upselling and a custom ordering experience.
Having customer data is crucial to tailoring to your customers’ preferences and enhancing their experience. Restaurants don’t own any of this customer data if they offer online ordering through a third-party platform. This interferes with the direct relationship you have with your customers.
3. Consumers Expect It
With the rise in off-premises dining, it has become apparent that consumers gravitate toward restaurants that offer convenient ordering options. Online ordering used to be a nice-to-have tool, but now it’s a necessity. QSR Magazine shares from a recent study that 70% of guests expect a restaurant’s website to offer online ordering.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Ordering needs to be easy to navigate the moment a guest reaches your website. Research has found that diners will avoid ordering from a restaurant if the menu is difficult to navigate, particularly on mobile. Make sure you’ve taken the time to get a website created or updated and that the ease of use of your ordering platform is topnotch.
Off-premises dining has become an essential part of people’s lives. Some of consumers’ most wanted features post-COVID are contactless delivery with expanded curbside pickup and online ordering.
4. Increases Order Accuracy
Call-in orders and orders from third-party platforms require you to manually enter your guest’s order into your restaurant’s point of sale (POS) to send to the kitchen. Restaurants are fast paced, and there’s room for error when servers are in a rush to input orders during service, or if they’re having trouble hearing customers on the phone. This leads to order error, food waste, and disappointed customers.
An advantage to online ordering is that guests control the entire ordering process. They can include any modifications or allergies they have in writing on the online order, so the kitchen knows right away.
If you only accept call-in orders, expect to receive many callbacks to make changes to current orders. That all adds up to extra time for front-of-house and back-of-house staff.
With an in-house online ordering system, orders are directly integrated into your POS, increasing your order accuracy and ensuring that customers get the exact food they want.
5. Optimizes Time & Labor
There are numerous other things that your staff needs to be doing other than spending time on the phone. Also, call-in orders can lead to mistakes such as:
- Accidentally hanging up on a customer
- Rushing to input orders leading to order error
- Giving inaccurate pickup times
- Miscommunication and extra time on the phone resolving the issue
With an online ordering system, your staff gets their time back and can spend more time on the floor pleasing customers.
Online ordering that integrates directly into your POS can help minimize phone orders and allow you to run your business with less staff, saving you money on labor costs. Orders pop up on your POS, and any team member can fire it straight to the kitchen. There’s no time spent re-entering orders or having to describe the menu over the phone for 5 minutes.
6. Boosts Online Presence
Another perk of online ordering is that it instantly grows your restaurant’s online presence. With a recent 285% increase in the search for “take out,” Google’s locally focused listings for restaurants will most likely be the first thing your customers see.
Once you have your online ordering link, there are many places where you can add it to increase online sales:
- Front and center or top of your website
- Order feature in Google My Business profile listing
- Order food button on Facebook
- Link in bio on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok
- Restaurant information on review sites like Yelp
This makes ordering more convenient for your guests, allowing them to get to your website or direct ordering link from multiple places online.
7. Enhances the Customer Experience
As mentioned above, people are looking for quick-and-easy ways to engage with restaurants. The usability and experience customers have throughout every bit of your restaurant affects their impression of you.
From finding your restaurant online to checkout, to in-store or curbside pickup, all need to be simple, convenient, and easy to use.
With an in-house online ordering system, you can make menu changes and track inventory in real time, so guests never order 86’d items and your menus are always up to date.
The checkout process is a crucial point to evaluate in your online ordering system. Here are a few questions you should keep in mind when thinking about the user’s experience:
- How easy is it to add items on and off the cart?
- Is it simple to add discounts and upsells?
- Is the checkout page easy to use?
- Can you save customer information for future orders?
- Is your online ordering customizable and on-brand with your restaurant?
You want an online ordering system that has a simple one-screen checkout mode and accessible editing features. Having your own system allows you to create a personalized platform with your logo and photos of your dishes to reinforce your brand.
Adding high-quality photos to your online page has been proven to boost your sales by up to 30%. Get a system that can scale with you and won’t hold you back.
An in-house online ordering system’s benefits include increased revenue, order accuracy, customer satisfaction, and online presence. The demand for takeout and delivery is rapidly growing, and to stay competitive, your restaurant needs to start offering it.
Every day you spend without a modern online ordering system, or with one that is difficult to use, you leave cash, and customer loyalty, on the floor.
CAKE, a Mad Mobile company, is a fully integrated cloud-based Point of Sale (POS) system specifically built for restaurants. Our advanced mobile technology allows restaurants more ways to connect with their customers with integrated online ordering, complete with curbside management and contactless delivery options, waitlist and reservations, contactless payments, and more.