Is an Online Ordering System Right for Your Restaurant?

Online ordering. Intriguing, yes. But, beneficial or just a fad of our technology-focused world that is worthy of nothing more than letting it pass? Let’s consider the data and truth to help you determine if an online ordering system is right for your restaurant.

Digital ordering growth comes in at a rate of 300 percent, which outpaces dine-in traffic growth.  Also, mobile app options make up 23 percent of all food orders. Theories speculate that the instant gratification and convenience sought by the younger demographic attracts these consumers to online ordering. Backing this up, millennials drive this trend with their use of mobile devices.

But no matter what statistics may indicate, the needs of your restaurant must be weighed carefully to determine the benefits of online ordering in real-time. Next, the effect on your customer base plays a vital role in the decision-making process. After all, technology changes at warp speeds. The buzz this week may all but die out next week.

With these stats and facts in mind, let’s look at what an online ordering system does for your restaurant.

Satisfied Customers, Satisfied Staff

Online systems benefit both clients and employees. Consumers find ordering online quick, efficient and accurate. In fact, eight out of ten restaurant patrons believe technology enhances convenience. Waiting on hold becomes a thing of the past. Language barriers and miscommunications become a mute point. Furthermore, payment information on file makes for ease of order completion.

With the ability to view orders and check prices before clicking “submit,” order accuracy improves. Food prep errors reduce to nil.  And, the cost and headache that comes with remaking and, possibly, redelivering orders disappear.

These factors limit if not eliminate frustration for both customers and staff while building satisfaction and loyalty among your consumer base. Also, service to face-to-face customers becomes interruption-free in regard to endless phone orders. A less distracted wait staff offers more time poured into customer satisfaction – a win for both consumers and employees.

Take-out and Delivery Option Growth

Restaurant growth proves primarily affected by take-out sales. In fact, carry-out orders increase eight percent yearly, which doubles the overall sales increase for that same period. And, the reverse holds true. If the take-out option proves weak or nonexistent, 76 percent of consumers opt not to eat out, and 11 percent choose another option.

Online ordering enables you to Increase orders without adding staff to serve or the space to do so. Images and messages integrated into the digital format entice orders in ways you may not be able to over the phone. Also, it allows customers time to decide and add to their meal.

Knowledge of Your Customers

A system of digital ordering places valuable consumer information into your hands. While placing an order, customers tell you their address, food preferences, what time they like to eat and how much they are willing to spend on meals. These insights inform your marketing strategy.

How so? Tracking of sales patterns gives you the opportunity to respond to trends with discounts and promotions, last minute offers during slow periods and loyalty programs. The adjustment of menus and highlighting new items or specials becomes easier than paper sources as well.

Furthermore, digital ordering allows you to target customer habits. For example, online users admit that food selection thought processes begin within the six hours before they eat with the sweet spot being one hour prior. Marketing flows targeting this time-frame put your name in their minds as they do so.

Getting the Word Out

The use of digital ordering and even more so, the addition of mobile technology allow you to get information into consumer’s hands fast. Menu items easily change, and limited availability of daily offerings becomes mainstream. Also, these changes can directly address your customers by utilizing the knowledge base available with your online ordering system.

Plus, unlike paper and printing campaigns, Facebook posts and Google Add-Words campaigns work on lower budgets. Online ordering formats and menus remain cheap to free to create. And, this always benefits a restaurant’s bottom line.

Repeat Customers

Building consumer loyalty remains a key to growing a business, no matter the technology employed. Online ordering accomplishes just that. Check this out: the accessibility of a digital system increases the likelihood of customer re-order within 60 days over a walk-in customer. In fact, after ordering online, 95 percent of consumers prove likely to visit again.

And, the rewards continue. Returning online ordering garners four percent more dollars spent per order. Plus, these consumers just may throw in a larger tip.

Fifty percent of searches for restaurants take place on smartphones. Will consumers find yours among the search? With the increased revenue potential, customer loyalty benefits and more, it proves wise to consider seriously an online ordering system for your restaurant. And, since millennials drive this trend, and they are in the prime of their buying years, it seems mobile and online ordering are less a buzz of today and perhaps, more a wave of the future.