Restaurant owners and franchisees in years past could rely on quick service, clean dining rooms, and friendly staff to stay afloat, but the scene has changed dramatically over the last decade. With the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the ordering process has changed, and the delivery channel skyrocketed. To process the high volume of orders coming in from numerous channels, you need to have a very smart online ordering system.
With global digitalization and the rise of delivery, successful fast food joints, restaurants, and ghost kitchens alike have deployed the most effective online ordering systems. Hence, if you want to survive in this steep competitive market, you need to invest in the right online ordering system.
How To Pick an Appropriate Restaurant Online Ordering System?
It’s a common misconception among many restaurant owners that all online ordering software is alike, and while many possess similar features and interfaces, every restaurant will benefit from picking one that is best for their operation and specifications. Every restaurant and franchisee has its own way of operating, different menus, individual payment setups, and the list of differences go on.
For this reason, online ordering systems are not one-size-fits-all for each business. We’re near entering 2023, where we can expect more digitalization than ever. Not to mention the delivery channel grew by X% from 2020 to 2021, and it’s expected to climb higher in 2023 and beyond. So, it's important to find out how to pick a restaurant online ordering system that's right for you. There are a few tips from experts in the industry that will help you to choose the ideal online ordering software.
What To Look for In Online Ordering Systems?
To put it in simple words, an online food ordering system is software that will allow a restaurant to accept and subsequently execute online orders from consumers. The standard online ordering software will have two elements:
- A website
- An administrative interface
A good online ordering system will allow customers to view the complete menu on the website and place an order through the same website. The administrative interface will allow your employees to accept online orders and fulfill them accordingly. Even if it sounds harsh, you need to accept that unless you have the best online ordering systems, you cannot increase the volume of orders and customers.
How To Decide Which System Is Right for Your Restaurant
You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing your online ordering software. But not all of them will be able to cater to your business needs. So, here are a few tips that will help you to pick the suitable option.
Tip #1: Consider your needs
Ask yourself: “What types of features you would welcome for online ordering if I were a potential customer?” Effective online ordering systems must have certain key features that will enhance the experience of a customer on your site:
- The restaurant's online ordering system must possess enabled location navigation to facilitate easy order fulfillment.
- The process of uploading the menus and editing them frequently should be intuitive, easy, and not take too much time.
- There should be a time tracking feature that will update the customers regarding the expected order delivery time.
The restaurant owners should jot down the list of requirements first before approaching software professionals.
Tip #2: Do your research
To create an impactful online ordering tool, you need to do a lot of research. The professionals can always guide and advise you. But you know your customers and the industry better.
- Check out the online ordering process of competitors and successful restaurants that you admire.
- Check out the reviews of customers on different platforms to find out what they expect from the sites.
- Ensure familiarity with the customer journey: The online ordering process should be very easy and require only a few simple clicks to keep from irritating customers.
While it may take some time and effort, deep research will provide you with the information necessary to design an effective online ordering system.
Tip #3: Compare different systems
Once you start discussing your project with multiple software professionals, you will get different ideas about how the system will work. Now, it's your job to compare all the options and determine the one that will suit your business.
Different restaurant owners apply different types of software for direct online ordering. Comparative analysis should include the crucial parameters like:
- Ease of payment
- Network security
- Ease of updates
- Ability to integrate with your website seamlessly
Tip #5: Access to customer data
Customers are king—and customer data is the key to growth and improvements. Whatever the design and brand of the ordering system you choose, it should impress customers and help you on your journey to growth.
- Customer reviews will help in modifying the design and functions of the online ordering systems and check individually what the customers like about your restaurant the most and what they dislike.
- The online ordering process may open a door to assessing the quality of the restaurant as well.
What a fantastic perk of having great online ordering software—An increased VOC score and improved overall customer satisfaction!
Step #6: Get started!
Ready to roll? With the 5 steps above, you’re ready to delve into the world of online ordering. Launch and advertise to your clients this new functionality, and let everybody know that they can now order via your online ordering platform.
Factors To Consider When Choosing an Online Ordering Software
It is vital to analyze the credentials of the software before finalizing the same for your online ordering system. Here go the factors that you must consider before finalizing the online ordering system.
Factor #1: Online menu
When a customer opens the website or application, the online menu should look attractive and clutter-free. Each element of the menu will affect the decision of the customers.
For instance, the use of too many colors or very small fonts can repel potential customers. You can check out third-party delivery apps too, that often have the best designs for placing the menu.
Factor #2: Online Ordering
How easy is the online ordering system? Will it take up to much time to place an order? Is it going through unnecessary steps to reach the checkout part? Does the customer get the flexibility to edit or cancel the order within a certain time limit?
Such factors will directly affect the success of the online ordering system. The easy navigation of the online menu, along with a simple and legible online ordering system will result in more sales (ca-ching!).
Factor #3: Online sales reporting
Your chosen online ordering system should have a user interface where the online sales will reflect immediately. One sale will trigger a set of actions and updates on multiple pages and their respective databases. So the receiving and processing of online orders should have an equally well-designed back-end processing. This will avoid any confusion, keep your team from missing orders, and keep operations tight.
Factor #4: Customer data capture
The database containing customer data is one of the most important and string tools for business expansion. You will get complete details about the customer’s opinion of the restaurant.
Small messages on special days help to maintain a personal relationship with individual customers. Using the customer data, you can easily increase customer engagement ad customer retention rates.
Factor #5: Restaurant POS integration
Integration of the POS system is very critical for the success of the online ordering system. Without the integration, there will be no central point for the processing of orders and triggering response to orders.
Factor #6: Loyalty and gift card integration
Now, all of you know that customers love loyalty points and gift cards. But unless you integrate the same with the online ordering system, customers cannot avail of their discounts or advantages online.
Things to think about before signing up for a system
The budget is the primary factor that you should consider before signing up for a particular online ordering system. Apart from that, customer service quality is another fact that you need to keep in mind.
How to get started with an online ordering system
Just follow the above tips and considerations, discuss the plans with the potential professionals and make your decisions. But don't jump into the decisions without considering all aspects.
Tips For Using Your Online Ordering System Successfully
- Train your staff thoroughly on your new online ordering system
Ensure everyone in the restaurant is comfortable using the new system and knows how to accept orders from start to finish. Consider implementing a “certification” on the new system—Train employees and develop a quick ‘quiz’ to test their knowledge. Have each employee complete the quiz and reward everyone (ideas: free meal, $5 coffee gift card, etc.) who completes the certification.
- Integrate the online orders with all associated pages
Follow the system’s instructions to get your new online ordering system onto your website and ready for customer use.
- Update the app frequently
Menu changes, hours of operation changes, and any other updates should be made in a timely fashion. Assign the task of updating of the ordering system to a manager or area coach, and ensure they update it with any LTOs, seasonal specials, and so on.
Find The Best Online Ordering System That Actually Works for You
You are just a few steps away from pairing up with an online ordering software. Using the best online ordering system suggested by Delaget, you can impress your present customers and acquire new customers who prefer online ordering.