If you already have an online ordering system in place for your restaurant, you have already taken your first step into a larger world. However, having an online ordering system that works via your website or a customized mobile app is merely the first step of the journey to providing the best possible customer service to every customer who enjoys your delicious cuisine on a regular basis, whether they are takeout or delivery customers.
Once you have them loving what you have to offer, you will then need to invest time, money and effort into retaining those customers for repeat business. One of the best ways to ensure that customer orders again and again is to link your online ordering system directly to your point of sale (or “point of success” system as some entrepreneurs have begun calling it). Why is this such a critical element to retaining customers and boosting repeat business? Here are 10 excellent reasons.
1. Prep Orders Faster
Sending orders directly to your POS and displaying them for the kitchen staff to begin work in the back of the house means shorter waiting times for takeout and delivery customers. Once their order is in, the prep begins within minutes, and their estimated pickup/delivery time is far shorter. The less time your customers have to wait for their meals, the happier they will be. Also, they will be more likely to order from you again.
2. It Removes the Human Factor
Transferring orders manually from the online ordering app or website and then entering them into a separate point of sale system creates the potential for mistakes with orders. Nobody punches the wrong items in on purpose, but if the restaurant is busy and the line for a table or takeout is many people deep, bet that your most experienced staff will make mistakes because that is a human response that happens when people are under duress. Make life easier on everyone and send orders directly to POS instead of having a dedicated individual manually entering online orders.
3. Improved Accuracy
Customers who order online have a greater degree of control over how their meal is prepared and what ingredients are included or excluded due to personal preference or food allergies. If a server or hostess takes a phone order and forgets to mark down a customer allergy to an ingredient in a dish, the customer is going to be dealing with an extremely irritating reaction or even a potentially life-threatening allergy attack. Making it easy for them to customize their orders accordingly takes this kind of mistake out of the equation.
4. Make it Their Way
Some people love their pizza with a dark, toasted layer of cheese on top. Some people prefer their hamburgers to be a little pink in the middle. Many foodies prefer their pasta “al dente” rather than soft. Linking orders to POS lets them get their food the way they want it without having to rely on anyone else to communicate their request to the kitchen.
5. Save Labor and Earn More
When staff members do not have to wait by the phone to take orders, they are free to serve more customers and earn more tips. Servers who are earning more and not frazzled from being stuck on the phone taking orders are happier, friendlier and provide better service to customers as they arrive to get their food. It is a win for both servers and owners!
6. Saved Logins/Customer Profiles
Repeat customers can quickly and easily punch in favorites, meaning less time online or thinking about what to have for dinner. They can tap a few buttons and know their meal will be coming up as soon as they get to your location.
7. Customers can Order Anywhere
Meeting your customers where they are online is one of the best ways linking orders to POS, increases repeat business. There are a lot of marvelous perks to “living in the future” as we do today. One of the greatest perks about life in the 21st century is the ability to order dinner no matter where we are or what we are doing. Hungry parents can pass the time deciding what they want to eat while they are waiting for a sports practice or dance class to end. Then they can place their order online and have a hot and ready meal as soon as they get home. It is multi-tasking at its greatest.
8. Promotions are Automatically Applied at Checkout
Loyalty programs are a great way to encourage repeat business, but if your online orders aren’t integrated with your POS, then loyalty discounts must be manually applied at checkout. However, if you have an integrated ordering and POS system, these discounts can be applied as soon as they are earned right when the customer pays for their order. That kind of convenience is what keeps customers coming back and makes loyalty programs earn that repeat business.
9. Pay at Time of Sale
Imagine not having to worry about giving a credit card number over the phone or having enough cash for a meal and a tip for delivery. When customers can order and pay in one transaction, they are going to order again, especially if you have their information stored securely in your system.
10. Make Every Digital Interaction Fast and Convenient
Consistency is key to repeat business. When your customers have an exceptional service experience every time they order with your app or via your site, they will order again and more frequently. Linking your online ordering directly to your POS is how you make that consistency happen at your restaurant. Make the switch and watch those repeat orders and increased revenue start to climb.
With all of these great reasons for linking your online ordering system with your POS, the time has come for you to get on board so you can increase your customer base and secure repeat business.