Will Online Ordering Hurt My Staff?

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As a restaurant owner or manager, you aren’t just a boss: you’re a community leader, with a whole team of servers, bussers, cooks, hosts, and other staff relying on your good management skills to earn a living. Which is why you have to consider any big changes cautiously, and think about how they will impact the family that grows up around a well functioning restaurant team. We get it: your staff comes first. And with more and more restaurants integrating online ordering into their operations, the question is on every manager’s mind: “Will online ordering hurt my staff?” Read on for our analysis of how online ordering effects front and back room staff.

Online Ordering’s Effect on Backroom Staff

For the cooks and chefs that staff your restaurant’s kitchen, some online ordering systems can be a point of stress. Depending on what vendor you go with, online ordering could mean new equipment, learning new skills, and adding to the chaos already present in even the most well functioning kitchens. For many online ordering systems, all attention is given to the customer experience and little thought is given to how integration will affect restaurant staff. And this attitude is manifested in the way that some systems disrupt kitchen routines and workers.

However, a huge variable in how online ordering effects kitchen workers is the actual online ordering system you choose. With Orders2Me, no new equipment or training is required, and cooks and chefs probably won’t even notice a difference in the way their kitchen’s run. If you are concerned with the ways online ordering will or won’t throw a wrench into the well oiled machine that is your restaurant’s kitchen, just be cautious about which vendor you go with , and look for a system like Orders2Me that has little or no real impact on kitchen staff.

Online Ordering’s Effect on Serving Staff

For most restaurant owners and managers, the biggest concern when looking into adopting an online ordering system is how integration will impact servers. In many neighborhood restaurants, waiters and waitresses are the heart and soul of an establishment, and the biggest factor in creating your restaurant’s personality and charm. And it’s reasonable to be concerned for these key staff members.

But in a big way, the effects on online ordering on serving staff are misunderstood. For one, online ordering apps primarily make it possible for customers to order their food digitally for pickup and delivery only. That means your servers won’t have to be rushing to phones and putting in to-go orders, but it doesn’t mean that customers will be able to order through an online application while dining in at your restaurant. “Online ordering” is somewhat of a misnomer in this regard, and systems like Orders2Me could be called “Online Delivery and Pick-up” applications more accurately.

The truth is, nothing can replace the charm and professional service that your wait staff brings to the table. And most online ordering systems won’t even try. True, big chains like McDonald’s may soon be integrating digital ordering systems for in-store customers, but for small and medium sized restaurants around the country, this just doesn’t make sense. An online ordering vendor like Orders2Me knows how important your wait staff is, and “online ordering” does NOT mean that a machine or website will be making your server staff obsolete. Every customer who comes through your door, takes a seat, and looks over a menu should be greeted by your waiters and waitresses, and an online ordering system won’t change that.

The Positives of Online Ordering for Restaurant Staff

If they have any major effects at all, online ordering systems usually have a positive impact on restaurant staff. From the kitchen perspective, a well integrated online ordering system that doesn’t require new training and equipment will only serve to make a kitchen busier, meaning you can employ more prep chefs and line cooks. More orders going into a restaurant kitchen is usually a good thing, as busy restaurants can afford to take better care of workers, hire more workers when needed, and keep a kitchen well updated and stocked.

And as far as servers and other front of room staff are concerned, online ordering has a positive effect by relieving some of the stress associated with taking delivery and pickup orders through other means. When waiters and waitresses are expected to run and answer phones, write pick-up and to-go tickets, and still provide top-notch service to customers dining in, there is a lot of room for error and a lot of added stress. Online ordering systems replace the least profitable and most disruptive aspects of waiting tables, and have a net positive effect on the wait staff experience by relieving some of the stress associated with catering to pick-up, delivery, and dine in customers all at once.

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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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