It is no secret that successful restaurants are often busy beyond capacity. Hot new bistros, cafes, and gastro pubs are often packed to capacity night after night, or Sunday after Sunday during brunch rush. For these reasons, many customers may prefer to enjoy an establishment’s cuisine far from the madding crowd of the mealtime boom and bust traffic. There are also many fantastic take-out oriented eateries that want to expand beyond the pen and paper/punch telephone orders into a computer method of taking orders. Regardless of the type of restaurant, every business that serves food can benefit from an online ordering system. Here are five ways your establishment can improve your diners’ experience with online ordering:
1. Online Ordering is Convenient for Owners and Clientele
Rather than phoning in for take-out from their favorite place to eat, many people prefer to order online and go straight to pickup rather than waiting on hold to place an order. It also allows owners to promote specific specials and keep track of orders for pickup efficiently. It also creates an option for dine-in customers with reservations to order in advance of their arrival so they spend more time enjoying their meal and less time waiting for it to be prepared.
2. Online Ordering Reduces or Eliminates Human Error Factors
Whether you are ordering take-out or ordering at the table, people make mistakes. Customers often don’t realize what they are ordering, or their order is misheard or misremembered before it is entered into the computer system or written out and hung up for the kitchen crew. When that happens, everyone loses: customers don’t get what they really wanted, owners lose money because the food will have to be discarded, the kitchen loses precious time in re-preparing food, and servers lose face with customers.
When customers can order online or from a mobile app, there are multiple opportunities for them to verify their order and information regarding how they want their food prepared. They can also save favorite meals along with preparation instructions in app for future visits or takeout orders. This saves every person in the service chain time and money, and customers are far happier with their overall dining experience.
3. Online Ordering is Mobile Web Friendly
More people browse the web or access information about restaurants and eateries from their mobile phones than from a laptop or home computer. Whether you integrate online ordering via a custom app for customer’s smartphones or you optimize your existing site for mobile viewing, mobile web-friendly online ordering is a business essential in the restaurant industry today. Furthermore, when you integrate mobile web links your social media and digital marketing plan, you make it even easier for potential customers to find and access your establishment’s menu or mobile app.
4. Online Ordering Makes for Smart Digital Marketing
Every restaurant has specials on a daily or weekly basis, depending on kitchen stock and the nature of what they serve. Well-trained and experienced servers never fail to mention the specials, but customers who order takeout often miss out on deals and don’t discover them until they arrive to pick up their food. Mobile web and mobile apps allow you to list specials as the first options a customer sees when ordering online, making certain customers are aware of special offers and discounts.
Online ordering also allows you to capture customer information in a database, and if they use an app or include their e-mail address, you can start sending out push notifications and emails when meals or dishes they prefer go on special, or when you start offering a new dish on the menu they might enjoy based on existing order data. Regardless of how you implement your online ordering system, it’s just smart business to integrate online ordering into your establishment’s marketing plan.
5. Online Ordering Helps Restaurateurs Plan Ahead and Stay Ahead
No matter what type of restaurant you run, inventory management and traffic/staffing balance are two ongoing challenges that never go away with time. When customers order online, you can track your most popular items and what times of the month they tend to be in highest demand, allowing you to more accurately order ingredients and kitchen stock ahead of time, reducing spoilage and waste in the back of house. In terms of the front end, online ordering also lets you keep track of the busiest takeout times vs. the busiest dine-in times, and plan your staff scheduling accordingly. The more data you can track with hard numbers, the more efficiently you can keep traffic moving and the happier your customers and wait staff will be.
If you aren’t currently taking advantage of online orders at your establishment, you need to start looking into it right away. Happy customers tell other customers, and the influence of word-of-mouth via social media only continues to grow. Contact us today and see how we can help your business continue to grow and expand with every click and tap.