It doesn’t matter whether you are into sushi, artisanal wood fired pizza or takeout Peruvian food. When your order isn’t right it’s a bad thing.
Picture yourself for a moment as an avid foodie or chow hound at their favorite place to nosh. You stand in line behind others who cannot make up their minds, even when they have eaten food from that particular corner eatery or curbside bistro a million times (just like you). You know what you want. Your favorite server/barista/food artist behind the counter who knows your name and order by heart knows what you want. Yet you stand there, trapped in slow motion, while the man or woman in front of you keeps changing his or her mind. Again…and again…and again.
So, perhaps too many experiences like this have left you thinking “I should telephone that place next time and get my order in, then go pick it up.” Great idea. Very responsible and forward thinking of you. Go ahead and order that extra appetizer. You’re worth it. Everything is going well, and you are still optimistic…right up until you call the number of your favorite spot and discover its Magical Land of Hold.
The Magical Land of Hold is an inescapable limbo-esque nether-realm where you can wait any amount of time for a rushed and hurried kitchen or wait staff member to hastily scrawl down your order, and then pray everything is right and to your taste when you drop by to pick up your order. Worst of all, since you are picking up, you may not even know your order is wrong until you get back to your place and open up your takeout containers only to discover to your horror that you didn’t get anything you ordered.
Finally, you have given up on takeout and phone pickup. They are not working out. It’s not you, it’s them. You go in after a long day and sit down to meal service. You place your usual order with a server who is overworked, managing multiple tables at once, and trying to remember the three dozen other special orders he has already scrawled down in his pocket pad. When your food comes out from the kitchen, it is over-seasoned, undercooked, or both. You stare in dismay at your plate of long-awaited and not-often-enough savored favorite dish. This is why you can’t have nice things.
If you are a restaurateur, and the above descriptions of food service could describe even a small number of your customers, you have a distressing customer service issue that needs to be handled ASAP. When incidents like this happen, it is clear that the demand for your services and products is far outstripping what you can provide. Even if you are managing your processes for taking orders to perfection with superb training and feedback, some customers will simply fall through the cracks. It comes with the territory of running a successful business in the foodservice industry. Congratulations! You have arrived. Now what do you do?
Online Ordering Solutions
In the simplest terms possible, what you need to do is invest in an online ordering system to make life much easier for both your staff and your clientele. Configuring an online ordering service is a fantastic way to let your biggest fans custom-order off the menu, or make special orders via the web or their smartphone using an app quickly and easily. Customer wants her coffee a certain way every time and doesn’t like waiting? No problem. Tell her to save the order to her favorites and just order online before coming in to pick up the java. Everybody is happy. Got a picky steak or burger eaters? Don’t stress! Discriminating carnivores can get their meat made-to-order every time using your online ordering service.
Here’s another reason to get an online ordering app that can be a big deal to some owners and managers: food allergies. Got a client with a food allergy that needs to make sure that an allergen never comes into contact with their food? Piece of cake. Not literally though, checking allergies is just easy to do, like eating cake…unless you are gluten-free, then cake is hard. Anyway, you can configure the app so that customers can attach allergen alerts to their order, and it will alert kitchen and serving staff when it comes up on the computer at your restaurant. No miscommunication, no misheard orders, and no one forgets to write it down.
Best of all, when you take advantage of an online ordering app, you have access to hard data regarding what dishes or meals are ordered most frequently. Not sure what to order in bulk for next month’s ingredients? Check your online ordering app and see what people are ordering most so you can plan ahead and reduce both spoilage and waste. No matter how you slice it (though slicing your online ordering seems silly and somewhat unsafe), online ordering is a win-win for you, your staff and your customers. Make the switch to online ordering today, and give your customers the ultimate experience in personalized service they deserve.
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.
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