Enhancing Digital Order Systems For Restaurants

Along with multitudes of other US American commercial businesses, restaurants have moved to using their own websites to increase revenues and expand their customer bases. Customers visit restaurant websites to get general information and look at menus. There has been a growing trend across the food service industry toward digital ordering systems for restaurants. Today’s consumers place vast numbers of online shopping orders. And, as restaurant customers, they also place great volumes of food orders online.

There are various options for online restaurant customers through independent third-party food delivery services. However, for increased efficiency, food service quality, customers’ convenience and savings, restaurant revenues and branding, more and more companies are using their own digital online platform to process food orders.

The Rise of Digital Food Ordering Platforms

In fact, statistics reflect astounding increases in digital food ordering over recent years. To keep pace with competitors, restaurants are making the leap in droves to digital and online ordering systems. Fortune reports that the percentage of restaurant orders now placed online are 6.6% of sales, now exceeding the 5% still placed verbally by phone.

In fact, statistics reflect astounding increases in digital food ordering over recent years. To keep pace with competitors, restaurants are making the leap in droves to digital and online ordering systems. Fortune reports that the percentage of restaurant orders now placed online are 6.6% of sales, now exceeding the 5% still placed verbally by phone.

There’s No Turning Back to Pre-Digital

One industry survey indicates that digital ordering from restaurants has grown 300% faster than customer dine-in traffic. Restaurateurs who have not yet made the move to online ordering may have many excuses that don’t really stack up to the much larger number of more significant reasons why their businesses should make this revenue-infusing operational transition.

Even using the alternative of working through a third-party ordering site, though more expensive, at least offers customers the convenience of online ordering and generates some amount of increase in order volume. However, the advantages of having an in-house online ordering system include:

  • Higher profit percentages per order
  • Customizable user experience
  • Custom user interface
  • Actionable individual customer insights
  • Overall market data
  • Many more valuable features

Customer Benefits of Online Food Ordering

Over the past three years (2014-2017), about 30% of restaurant customers ages 18-54 have placed orders from a restaurant’s website by phone or tablet. Customers want to order online for several reasons that are important to them:

  • There’s no pressure or stress as with a phoned-in order.
  • They can take all of the time they want to order.
  • They can change or clarify their orders as many times as they wish, before clicking Send.
  • Mistakes in their orders are minimized.
  • Offering online ordering lets them know that they are doing business with professional, highly competent, technologically sophisticated establishment.

Restaurant Business Benefits of Online Food Orders

The advantages of offering customers online ordering are significant for restaurant managers and owners:

  • Allowing customers to take all of the time they want to order, by not being forced to speak to a restaurant employee to place their order, customers are free to take time to explore menu options. They frequently become attracted to items that they may not have otherwise given any attention. As a result, digitally placed orders are averaging about $4 more than traditionally placed orders.
  • Online order can be more efficiently managed. There are fewer inaccurate orders. This means there are no complaint calls, or calls to correct orders. The reduction in errors minimizes wasted staff time and need for additional staff (to accommodate slower manual processing of food orders and payments).
  • Customers choose your restaurant over competitors that do not offer online ordering.

In-House Ordering Site or Third-Party Site

Consider the advantages of operating an in-house, internally managed, online food ordering system –as an alternative, or an addition to a third-party site. With your own online ordering platform:

  • You can make real-time modifications to your online menu and site design.
  • You have full control over your brand
  • Your customers are seeing your business’s website when they place orders.
  • You are not communicating with your customers through an intermediary company.
  • You keep all associated revenues from your customers’ online orders, instead of losing a large percentage of profit potential per order to another company (the middleman processing your customer orders).
  • Paying just a flat fee for your own online ordering system frees you to plan your budget with a simple, fixed expense, instead of needing to allow for unpredictable commission percentages and other potential costs.

Customer Data Gathering

In the food service business, understanding what your customers really want is an important competitive advantage. Unlike in transactions with customers inside your restaurant, by using your in-house online ordering system, customers provide you with contact information and other valuable data.

Using email and other contact information, you can send your customers information on promotions and invitations to special events. You can reach out with relationship-building communications, to add value to your services for your customers and cultivate repeat business.

Your Online Menu

The online menu is the central feature of an effective digital ordering system for restaurants. A menu that is easy to locate and read is key to your online customer service. Make sure your menu includes every item your restaurant serves. And, include beautiful, appealing photographs and enticing descriptions of your menu items.

To optimize your online customers’ experience, and maximize the success of your digital ordering revenues, have your online system setup to allow customers to modify their food orders on the website, so that each customer can have every order the way he or she really wants it.

Restaurant Pickup and Delivery Services

Many people now prefer the convenience of ordering online and then waiting for their restaurant order to be delivered, so that they enjoy their lunch or dinner while they’re working at the office or relaxing at home.

To provide even more extensive service, an increasing number of restaurants are offering delivery service. Some even offer free delivery for orders above certain amounts, or to locations within a certain radius. This and other value-added ancillary services encourage repeat business online.

  • Posted Pick-Up Times — Offering your customers an estimated time range on your website for their order pickups is a big help to your customers in planning their current activities.
  • Online Check Paying — Providing for customers to pay for their food orders on online simplifies the service process for your customers and restaurant management, and improves accuracy.
  • Stored Payment Information — Having an online ordering system that stores customers’ credit card information further streamlines the ordering process for customers on their future orders.
  • Delivery Service — Adding delivery service makes ordering food from you possible for people who would otherwise choose a different restaurant—one that does deliver. This constitutes a new revenue stream that increases revenues and grows your business, allowing you to serve in-house, carry-out, and delivery customers.

The Right Time to Make the Change

If you have not yet begun realizing the powerful financial, branding, and customer satisfaction advantages offered by a quality digital ordering system for restaurants, it’s time to weigh the business considerations. You can continue without an online ordering system, or choose to absorb the temporary operational disruption and system setups cost to launch your online system, and begin reaping the financial rewards of your expanded order-taking operations.

Online ordering is only going to spread in popularity in every modern food service market, because it consistently proves to significantly benefit customers and restaurant business stake-holders.

  • Your Customers benefit by ordering with the greater convenience and simplicity they want, without any sense of time pressure.
  • Your Business benefits from increased revenue, due to an expanded customer base and to customers spending more per order on average than they would in ordering over the phone or in the restaurant.

OrderTalk

We are a leader in online restaurant order processing systems. We help companies provide state-of-the-art digital food ordering service to their customers. OrderTalk software enables integration of branding, sophisticated design capabilities, seamless POS payment processing, and digital ordering Apps. Our cutting-edge technology and highly skilled and dedicated team deliver secure online ordering systems, 24/7 customer support, full customization, and proven growth generators for restaurant businesses.

For More Information

For more information about the financial and operational advantages of a digital ordering system for restaurants, contact OrderTalk to speak to one of our experts.