Though the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for strong takeout and delivery options, many restaurant owners still need an added push to implement an online order system. For some restaurant owners, it's a concern over learning a new POS system or mobile app. For other, tiny restaurant owners, it's a fear that a new online order platform will overwhelm a lean operation.
However, based on diner demand and customer support, even the smallest small restaurant should consider an online order system. Restaurants of all sizes, from coffee shops to takeaways, can benefit from an online order platform. Whether you're looking to use POS integration or you want your online order system to help you collect customer data, here are a few ways you can use online ordering in your business.
1. Use software to make the ordering process easier.
One big upside of a quality online ordering platform is the convenience it offers. Since you can connect your online orders to your POS via integration, it's easier to receive and manage orders. Especially if you run a small restaurant with limited staff, it' important to be able to quickly and effectively navigate your point of sale ordering process. The best online ordering system makes it easy for customers to place delivery orders, make reservations, and visit the restaurant's own website. You can accept pickup and delivery food orders from different sources and apps, connect your POS, and send the appropriate information to your kitchen. It helps to reduce manual errors, incorrect orders, and food waste. It's a win-win for restaurants and customers alike.
2. Gain real-time analytics.
Compared to a third-party delivery app, the right online ordering software connects with your restaurant POS system more intimately. You can use online ordering software to track real-time analytics from your restaurant POS system and gain insights from the advanced features. This is especially helpful because, as restaurants typically have thin profit margins, it's important to track your cash flow accurately.
You want to be able to distinguish between online payments, mobile order amounts, add-ons, upserve opportunities, and loyalty programs to see which areas continue to flourish and which are stagnating. Look for other key features alongside online ordering functionality to better review your analytics. From food trucks to bakeries, it's important to leverage your data smartly.
3. Take advantage of a growing need.
A big part of the hospitality industry is cultivating customer relationships. This means that customer retention is paramount. Now that more and more customers care about delivery systems and online orders, you can secure customer loyalty by addressing this primary need. You can also attract new customers, which helps benefit your bottom line.
Put yourself in the diner's shoes. Say it's a Friday night, you're hungry, and you don't want to cook. However, you also don't think you have the energy to go to one of the local diners or wineries. So, when you're browsing for a place to eat, are you going to pick the restaurant that works with the top restaurant online ordering software or the restaurant with a limited online presence and no custom order options? Most diners will choose the first option.
4. You can expand your reach.
While you always want table reservations, you can't depend on your reservation system for all of your income. Since you have limited capacity in your restaurant, you can only turn tables as quickly as customers dine. However, you also don't want to rush your customers. With an online ordering feature, you can reach more customers while catering to the unique needs of both the dine-in and delivery diner. Though some restaurants may be able to hold hundreds, online ordering opens your restaurant to anyone with a mobile device or desktop that lives in your delivery area. While this doesn't mean you can juggle unlimited orders, it definitely gives your restaurant some expanded reach to connect with new diners.
You can even attract new customers by offering discounts and coupons through the mobile application. Often, on a third-party delivery app, this isn't easy. However, when you connect your restaurant POS system or restaurant website to the delivery system, you can list specials, discounts, and more. With the right vendor promotions and deals, it's easier to attract new customers, cover food costs, and expand your overall reach.
5. The best online ordering systems can improve profits.
Ultimately, you're running a business. That business needs to make money. If you're losing expenses to setup fees, monthly fees, and inventory management losses, it's harder to break even, much less come out on top. On top of that, the restaurant industry tends to be fast-paced and hyper-competitive. When you incorporate delivery services like Facebook ordering, Grubhub, ChowNow, and more, you make it easier to upserve customers, connect with people on social media, and encourage mobile app downloads.
Of course, simply installing an ordering system isn't enough. Your online ordering system should also have some restaurant POS features. These can include inventory management controls, payments service, and mobile app compatibility. With the right features and add-ons, it's that much easier to set up a profitable business model and reach customers. When you reach prospective customers, you increase prospective profits to reinvest to attract even more customers. The right online ordering systems can help you find this balance.
Online ordering systems are here to stay.
If your restaurant doesn't currently leverage an online ordering platform, it's time to make the switch. If the past year was any indication, customers depend on the convenience and flexibility of restaurants. While expanding your delivery efforts might not seem like the most glamorous business investment, it opens up an entire customer segment. This offers the potential to increase your profits, reduce unnecessary spending, and prevent food waste caused by manual ordering errors. For some restaurants, delivery is more than a perk. It's an essential service that keeps the business afloat. When you properly invest in your restaurant's takeout and delivery options, you're also investing in the future of your brand.
To learn more about online ordering and platform integrations, reach out to the Cuboh team or book a demo today. Our staff of hospitality industry pros is ready to learn about your business and help you integrate the ordering system you deserve.