More and more eateries and restaurants are beginning to offer online ordering these days, in numbers that make it far more than a passing fad. Why this continued interest in online ordering via websites and apps? It’s simple: online ordering saves customers time, increases sales per ticket for owners and managers, and makes high quality service for every customer far easier for your staff to provide. However, beyond these immediate practical reasons, online ordering also signifies a shift in how people dine in and carry out from their favorite places. Let’s take a look at how online ordering is changing the food industry as a whole.
Accuracy of Ordering is of Primary Importance to Customers
The shift towards online ordering demonstrates a new prioritization for customers that their orders be right 100% of the time. Human error is simply not an acceptable reason for an order to be wrong when a customer arrives to pick up their food and take it home. Customers want to select their food, pay for their food, and take their food home to eat it. If a customer’s order is wrong at pickup in this age of internet instant gratification and superior accuracy, your restaurant more than likely just lost a customer for good. After all, there are so many establishments that offer online ordering now via app and website that they can easily get their meals elsewhere. Expectations for delivering the goods via online ordering are definitely being increased exponentially as online ordering replaces telephone ordering.
Online Ordering Means Expanded Market Reach
If your business offers delivery as well as online ordering, you are now open to a whole new population of customers, especially in densely populated urban areas. Many people who would otherwise not get takeout or delivery because it is always too much hassle, will happily grab their smartphones and punch in their favorite order to pick up on the way home from work or have it delivered after a long day when everything feels like too much effort. Also, people who are on human interaction overload after work or school every day often prefer to order online just to limit their overall human interaction for the rest of the day.
Online ordering doesn’t just expand consumer reach either. For businesses that like to reward employees with lunch on the company dime from time to time, online ordering provides excellent documentation of tax-deductible purchases and ensures that all employees can get what they want. Essentially, online ordering is how businesses go to the customer in the 21st century, and to stay competitive restaurant’s need to expand their reach online.
Customers Prefer Low-Pressure Ordering
When a diner in your restaurant needs extra time to decide on what to order, it can be frustrating for both the server and the customer. The server wants to keep their tables moving without making them feel rushed, and the customer often feels bad for taking so long to make up their mind when everyone else has already decided. This goes double for customers walking in off the street and placing a takeout order at the counter or bar. There is so much pressure when a restaurant is mid-rush and you are doing your utmost to keep all of your customers happy. Servers and customers often suffer from the negative effects of that pressure. Customers usually order less food for takeout because they don’t want to hold up the works, and servers feel pressured to cut down on wait time and long lines.
Online ordering takes the pressure off for everyone. Customers can punch in their order without worrying about the line of customers behind them, and servers have less to worry about when it comes to accurately and correctly entering orders for walk-ins and telephone orders. Best of all, smart restaurant managers know that customers who order online tend to spend roughly $4 more per order because they don’t feel rushed and can take their time. Sometimes that extra minute or two free of pressure is all someone needs to decide that it’s a good night to treat themselves to an appetizer or dessert.
So, what is the bottom line significance of online ordering? It’s what your customers want and need to include your restaurant and its food in their busy lives. People love good food, and if they love your food, they are going to want to take it home when they are too busy to dine in with you on the premises. Online ordering has gone from being a novelty to a necessity in the last decade, as more customers learn how much easier it is to place an order online instead of picking it up themselves or having it delivered. Give your customers what they clearly want, and make sure that the online ordering experience at your restaurant is second to none.