Like any piece of software or any website, if your restaurant’s ordering system is ugly and difficult to use, nobody will use it unless they absolutely have to. Ordering dinner because you and your loved-ones are too busy to prep and serve a meal needs to be fast, convenient and work every time. Does that describe your online ordering system? If not, here are some adaptations you need to make to keep customers coming back for more after every order.
Design/Upgrade Your Site for Mobile Web Browsers
It may seem like a basic concept in today’s technology-based world, but if your website is not configured to display a mobile web-friendly site, it is about as user-unfriendly as it can get. Pinch- and-zoom navigation makes it somewhat easier to view a full-size site on a mobile screen, but by and large it is a pain to use a full-scale website on a mobile device. Thanks to the advent of HTML5 to replace Flash-based websites, it has never been easier to send a mobile-friendly version of your site to potential customers browsing via mobile phones or tablet devices. If you are serious about your commitment to a user-friendly ordering system, you need mobile web compatibility.
Keep Clicks/Taps and Scrolling to a Minimum
The fewer clicks and taps users need to make on your website, the more likely they are to use it. When you are configuring your site interface with your web designer, keep track of how many clicks it takes to accomplish a task on your site. You also want to place the most important information and features of your site “above the fold”–that is, at the part of the page that opens first when your customer visits your site. Making it easier and less time-consuming for your customers to access your content and place an order with your encourages repeat online business. It also ensures that customers will be more likely to use the online system when ordering in the future.
Give Your Customers a Login to Reduce Clicks and Speed Up Repeat Orders
There are few methods of making an interface user-friendly than saving customer information for future orders. It is much easier to remember a username and password (or have your web browser remember for you) than to manually retype information into an online ordering system every time you want to place an order for pickup and delivery. Having saved customer logins also makes it easier for you to track ordering trends and time frames. This will improve your raw materials orders and will help you keep the perfect amount of on-hand inventory. It also provides an additional marketing channel for special promotions you can send via e-mail to the registered email address that your customer will provide as a part of their login. Essentially, customer logins provide untold benefits for a minimal amount of effort.
Consider Designing and Offering a Custom Mobile App for Taking Online Orders
The ultimate convenience for ordering food online, mobile apps for smartphones and tablets, are the best way to provide the best customer experience for placing an order with your restaurant. Mobile apps are faster, more secure and easier to support than web-based online ordering systems. Apps can easily remember customer information and secure their login with their fingerprint or facial recognition, depending on the device.
Furthermore, mobile apps can present specials and promotions to online customers, rewarding them for ordering via mobile app rather than your other channels. Best of all though, many mobile app providers have pre-existing plugins that transfer orders directly to your point of sale system, making it easier than ever to place orders and have them prepped by the kitchen with the least possible delay. A well designed mobile app is a guaranteed win, as it creates positive customer interactions every time.
Restaurant managers and owners know their site needs the best user interface possible to ensure higher profits for their establishment. Commitment to that ideal means investing the time, work and money to make a user-friendly interface a reality for every customer, regardless of the platform they use to place their order. Whether you offer them a mobile app, a well designed and mobile-friendly website or simply reduce the amount of clicking and scrolling, you are making good on delivering what customers want from their online ordering experience. When you achieve that, you will see your revenue and your profits start to rise.