What’s the price of convenience? In many industries and situations, that’s a highly relevant question. It can be hard to imagine that saving time and energy won’t cost you something else down the road, or even have a trade off immediately. As online food ordering systems get more and more popular and add incredible convenience for customers looking to order food for delivery or pick-up, restaurant owners and diners alike are starting to ask the question: what will online ordering cost customers? What are the downsides related to online ordering where customers are concerned?
The answer? Surprisingly few. It can be hard to believe, but there really aren’t any significant negative side effects of online ordering as far as customers are concerned. Before we break down misconceptions about the price of convenience related to online ordering, here’s a quick reminder of just how much convenience online ordering adds for diners.
The Perks of Online Ordering for Customers
As a restaurant owner, it can be hard to place yourself in the shoes of your diners, and think about just how much value a new feature like online ordering might add for your customers. With online ordering, your customers won’t have to wait on the phone as your busy wait staff scrambles to make time to take their to-go or delivery order. With the flexible and engaging menus utilized by modern online ordering systems, your customers will be able to browse your entrees, appetizers, and other selections at their leisure, and order when they’ve made up their mind about exactly what they want. Plus, being able to look at all of your options will make it easier for your customers to find new things to try, and become an even bigger fan of your restaurant. From a customer perspective, an online food ordering system offers unparalleled convenience.
Online Ordering and the Dining Experience
One of the common misconceptions about online ordering systems is that the convenience they provide is offset by a lesser dining experience for customers. But this type of thinking makes a couple of mistakes in assigning a “cost of convenience” for the budding technology.
First, the customers who turn to online ordering aren’t as interested in the in-restaurant dining experience to begin with. Online order for restaurants is really all about delivery and pick-up odder, aside from some major chains like McDonald’s which are implementing in-dining room ordering technologies. For neighborhood eateries and local establishments where ambiance is of utmost importance, online ordering is usually only for delivery and online orders, meaning there will be no impact on the dining experience of customers who choose to eat in.
Second, critics of online ordering point to the fact that serving staff at restaurants will be negatively impacted as a result of online ordering getting bigger and bigger. But again, you have to think about what kinds of customers are relying on online ordering, and remember that there are always going to be a lot of restaurant dining fans who choose to dine in at your establishment. The waiters and waitresses who help cater to these customers won’t be negatively impacted by online ordering, since nothing will ever take the place of an experienced server in providing an experience for diners and online ordering only applies to take-out and delivery orders. As far as the dining experience is concerned, there is no negative impact from the growth of online food ordering systems.
Online Ordering and Human Error
A second place where people sometimes claim that online ordering can have a negative impact on customers is in the area of ordering accuracy. With customers in control of inputting their own ordering choices, critics claim that higher rates of human error will lead to more messed up and inaccurate orders. But online ordering systems these days are highly optimized to assure that human error doesn’t have a big effect on order results.
Menus are optimized for easy reading and selection, so it’s easy for customers to figure out and select exactly what dishes they like without making mistakes. Further more, before payment and delivery information is entered, customers have a chance to review exactly what they ordered, further eliminating human error from the equation. If anything, customers in their homes ordering through an online food ordering system are less likely to make ordering mistakes than busy servers taking to-go and delivery orders on the phone.
So What’s the Price of Convenience?
For online ordering, there’s really no negative side effects for customers. That can be a hard fact to stomach, since so often convenience comes at a price. With online ordering though, customers can get all the food they need delivered from your restaurant faster and more easily, and there really aren’t any negatives to speak of. When it comes to online ordering, customers truly pay no price for the added convenience.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.