School’s Out And Online Ordering is In! Things to Know This Summer

Summer is here, school is out, and kids are home and expecting a hot meal every day. Now is the time to make sure your online ordering system is up to date and ready for the massive influx of orders that will be headed your way. For the next few months, you need to identify major ordering trends to keep ingredients in stock, plan for your busiest times of day and make sure your customers can quickly reorder their favorites from your website or mobile app. If these tasks seem too daunting, here are five priorities for refreshing your online ordering system before the summer rush hits.

1. Make Your Site HTTPS Secure

Customers who frequently order from your website will expect the ability to login to a saved profile. Not only will online ordering be faster, but you will get contact information for marketing purposes. Since you will have customers’ information stored on your website, it must be secure from hackers and identity thieves looking to steal saved personal information from your site’s database. When your site is secure from attackers, an increasing number of customers will save their billing and credit card information for repeat business.

2. Get a Mobile App

If you have not already set up a smartphone app for your online ordering system, you need to do so quickly. Most major chain restaurants already offer online ordering and curbside pickup for meals. Busy parents with active and hungry kids will want the ability to tap a few buttons and make dinner happen this summer.

Not only does it make life easier for your customers, but it also helps you plan more effectively for your staffing and supply needs. The restaurants that make ordering easiest will get most takeout and delivery orders in the next few months. The easier you make your ordering process, the more orders you will see headed your way. Don’t miss out on those easy orders.

3. Learn To Read and Understand Your Analytics

Visits to your website, orders placed via mobile app and all other forms of traffic from your online presence generate a vast amount of data. You can track ordering time and date trends to schedule enough staff, find out what times of day more people are visiting your site, how many people are finding you via social media or search engine results pages and how many more customers prefer your mobile app over your website.

All this information is commonly referred to as analytics. You need to keep a close eye on this information to help direct your online marketing and the management of your website and mobile apps. Watching trends during the summer can help you maximize your success by helping you prepare for those times of day and days of the week when order volume increases.

4. Develop Algorithms to Predict Repeat Customer Orders

This component helps you reduce order churn while retaining customers who currently order from your establishment regularly. There are three important pieces of data recorded by a well-designed online ordering system that you need to pay attention to: repeat customer rate, purchase frequency and average order value. These numbers allow you to easily find trends and predict what business will be like on any given day, or during a given month from historical order data. Here are the numbers to watch closely to develop your prediction algorithm:

  • Repeat Customer Rate
    You wouldn’t be making much progress as a business without repeat customers. Examine these orders closely for similarities, as they form the basis of your predictions of what they are likely to order in the future. All you need to do is take your total customers who have placed more than one order with you in the past 6-12 months, and then divide that number by the total unique customers who made orders that year.
  • Purchase Frequency
    How often do your regulars order from you? Once a week? Once a month? Add up the number of orders placed in a given time frame (e.g., one month), then divide that by your unique customer count for that month. This computation is critical for accurately calculating when business is likely to pick up during any given month.
  • Average Order Value
    As important stats go, this one is easiest: divide total revenue of orders by orders placed. If you tend to have higher average order value on specific days of the week, you need to have sufficient staff on-hand to manage that volume.

5. Make a Plan for Handling the Higher Volume of Orders

Look at your analytics, calculate your prediction algorithm and then develop a fitting plan. If your order trends indicate that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are going to be high-volume order days, create your work schedule accordingly. In the summer, your high-volume days may shift to something different, and you will need to adjust your plans. Keeping a close eye on your metrics and frequently updating your prediction algorithm is the best way to make sure you are not missing out on orders due to insufficient staff.

If you need help getting your restaurant ready for the summer, Orders2Me can help. Contact us today to see what we can do for you.