You must have seen a lot of restaurants with online ordering systems and you wonder why you should add that to yours. In recent years, consumers have come to not only enjoy, but expect the ability to place their restaurant orders online. And restaurant owners are realizing that online ordering allows them to boost profitability and improve customer activity tracking. Including online ordering capabilities on your website puts you where your customers are.
1. Larger orders
When customers browse your menu online, they are under no pressure to make a quick decision. They also don’t have to be the one at the table with the biggest appetite. They can order freely, which often causes them to order more. Many online ordering programs include suggestive cross-selling and upselling, too, so that you can recommend drinks and sides with their purchases. The idea is to make the experience as easy and convenient as possible. Many restaurants have increased their average order size through online ordering in comparison with phone orders.
2. Increased order efficiency and throughput
Online ordering can also improve restaurant efficiency because it saves time on the phone and reduces order errors. Phone orders can only be taken one at a time, and it could take several minutes, especially if customers are paying with their credit or debit card. However, the average online order only takes about 30 seconds, and several online orders can be sent to your POS system at once.
3. Improved order accuracy
It is easy for miscommunication to occur over the phone – mispronunciations, background noise, poor service or language barriers can get in the way. When customers place online orders, they can simply check off the items they want. When orders are sent to the POS system, restaurants can read them in black and white with little confusion. And confirmation emails can be sent to the customer to verify their order and payment to reduce confusion on their end, as well. Improved order accuracy leads to improved customer satisfaction.
4. Expanded reach
When customers are able to access your menu outside of your physical restaurant, it opens up many new opportunities. Customers who do not live near you may be more inclined to order from you if they can access your menu online and place their order with the click of a button. Remember: it is not only convenient for customers to order from home, it is enjoyable for them.
Many restaurants make their menus available on a website database, allowing them to expand their reach even further. These websites take a small percentage of commission from your orders, but if the website has thousands of visitors, those nominal costs are outweighed by the benefits. It is difficult for restaurants to build such extensive databases on their own.
5. Customer databases
Online ordering solutions usually require customers to enter their name and email so that they are able to receive an email receipt or email confirmation after they have purchased food. And if they are having it delivered, they must enter their address of course. This information also allows restaurants to create a customer database and leverage it for marketing purposes.
Restaurants can segment their customer lists to send targeted promotional emails to specific locations or demographics. For example, in snowy weather, a restaurant could send an email to customers that live the furthest away, suggesting that ordering delivery would be easier than going out. Restaurants can also measure the click-through rates and conversions of each of their promotional emails to learn which ones are effective and which ones are not.
As society continues to rely on their computers and mobile devices to complete everyday tasks, online ordering will only continue to grow. And although online ordering will not fully replace traditional phone orders in the foreseeable future, it is a necessary add-on to improve the productivity and profitability of your restaurant business.