Let’s get one thing straight: no one likes ordering food by telephone call. No one. The potential for order mistakes and miscommunication can lead to a near-infinite amount of frustration for hungry customers. Plus, ordering over the phone is frequently the cause of customers spending less when they order. They figure that the more they order, the greater the chance of a mistake. Oh, and making reservations by phone? Let’s not even go there. It’s a terrifying topic of conversation, and I’m fairly sure there are spiders. Lots of spiders.
Let’s not talk about them and instead focus on how to resolve this phone order and reservation business.
Time to Join the Revolution
On the bright side, there is an elegant solution to the phone-ordering woes of every restaurant and eatery. Thanks to the proliferation of mobile internet access and smartphones, it has never been easier to implement a strategy to capture more customers and a greater market share. Online ordering via a website or mobile app can eliminate the headaches that plague takeout and advance dinner plans.
Online ordering has taken the food world by storm. In the past three years alone, more than 30 percent of all restaurant business was conducted online. It’s not just younger customers either. The study in question involved people of both sexes between the ages of 18 and 54. That’s pretty much as varied a customer sample as you are going to get.
Why is online ordering so popular? Easy: everything is right the first time. Best of all, customers can take their time ordering without taking up more of yours.
Give Them All The Time They Need
When customers order online, there is no pressure to wrap up their order. They have time to think. They can view the menu in the comfort of their car (parked, of course), home or office without having to concern themselves with tying up a business’s phone line or a server’s time. They can browse menu options at their leisure, and people who are relaxed and not hurried will likely order that slice of chocolate cheesecake they earned for working so hard all week.
They will order that extra appetizer to pay back or reward that helpful coworker or assistant who has been helpful to them at the office. Online orders typically total at least $4 more than telephone or on-location orders, so giving your customers that time actually boosts your bottom line with every order. You also have nothing to worry about when it comes to a human connection as well.
Your People Will Still Win Customer’s Loyalty
Some owners who consider moving towards an online ordering system often raise the objection that they sacrifice the human connection with their clientele or that they forgo that personal touch with every order. Nothing could be further from the truth. Online ordering frees you and your staff from the telephone during busy times of day, and that allows them to provide the best quality service to every eat-in reservation, takeout/pickup and delivery customer.
When you see a name on an online order regularly, you can easily greet that customer by name with a smile every time he or she visits. There is no dining experience quite like being recognized as a regular by a server or hostess, and that personal touch earns eateries and servers bigger orders and bigger tips. Furthermore, most online ordering systems allow integration with your existing website, which makes the customer experience even better with saved profiles and ordering histories along with favorite orders.
Don’t Change Your Whole Website! Add Online Ordering
Many restaurateurs are concerned about having to alter their beautifully designed, carefully curated and often-costly websites. Fortunately, most online ordering services don’t require you to start over from scratch. Rather, online ordering works with your website.
Offer your customers the convenience and personalized service that only you can achieve with online ordering integration via a point of sale or a smartphone mobile app. It just makes smart business sense to set up and maintain an online ordering system to free up your staff and provide your customers with a superior customer experience every time.
If you haven’t set up online ordering and reservations for your dining establishment, you need to start now. Current financial trends show strong indicators of online ordering increasing to an even greater segment of the food business in the next three years. Takeout and delivery orders become the two most impacted sectors, but making digital reservations and placing advance orders so that food is ready when customers arrive to sit down for a meal are also making serious inroads into the online ordering market.
Do yourself, your staff, and your business a favor. Invest in the revolution today. Set up online ordering, and make sure that you win lifelong fans in addition to serving customers.