In the old days, the only choice you had for getting food from a takeout restaurant to eat at home was to drive there and pick it up yourself.
Then, restaurants started taking phone orders and fulfilling them, and you either drove to the small restaurant to pick up the order, or you had it delivered.
However, in today’s world, customers can order food from their smartphones, tablets, and even their PCs for pickup or delivery. And it turns out, there are a lot of benefits of online ordering for restaurants.
It's estimated that over 90% of customers prefer to use their phones to order their food online vs. driving for pickup or choosing to have it delivered to them instead.
It's estimated that over 90% of customers prefer to use their phones to order their food online than either drive for pickup or choose to have it delivered to them instead.
If you're still debating whether to add an online ordering option to your restaurant, the bottom line is that it makes money for your restaurant - so why not?
In this article, you'll find a few reasons you need an online food ordering system.
During the pandemic, many restaurants relied on delivery apps such as Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Postmates to deliver food to their customers to avoid losing customer loyalty.
While that might have helped, on top of having a loyalty program and offering promotions and discounts to your loyal customers, it still comes with expensive fees. If you're a small restaurant, it's not feasible to think you can keep paying those fees and still profit from your delivery orders.
If you offer your own brand of curbside pickup, delivery service, and online ordering, then you'll save money, make money, and draw in new customers with your service.
Not only do customers love online ordering, they expect to be able to order food online from their favorite restaurants. After all, it's much easier to go to the mobile app on your smartphone, browse the menu items, look for online sales and discounts, and order with a few clicks of a mouse or swipes on a phone.
If you don't have an online ordering system in place, you're apt to lose money because loyal customers will decide to try someone else to make an online order with convenience in mind.
By allowing your customers to use a mobile app to order food online, you end up saving your employees quite a bit of time. With platforms like Cuboh, you can consolidate and manage your online orders—from menu management to online payments that an employee usually has to manually take, everything will be made easier with an ordering system in place. If your customers can use their cell phones to do their food ordering online, it leaves your employees more time to prepare that food, focus on your customers, and clean your restaurant as well.
Every restaurant owner has gotten a food order wrong, costing their business money. With a restaurant ordering system in place, you'll have more accurate orders and fewer mistakes.
Mistakes cost your restaurant and delivery business money that you can't afford to lose. With mobile ordering, the customer keys in their order, so it's easier to trace any mistakes.
On top of all the tips above, having the right online ordering software can help you keep track of your customer data and increase the level of marketing you do for your business. What could be bad about that? It also makes the ordering experience much better for your loyal customers and brings in new customers as well.
When someone places an order through your website, it allows you to collect their email address, telephone number, name, and other information.
This makes it easier to target customers with discounts, rewards, and other loyalty program perks associated with the food they ordered from your business and loved. As a restaurant owner, you already know that the secret to a repeat customer is giving them food they love at a reasonable price with great customer service on top of it.
Not only does online ordering make your customers and employees happier, but it will also make you happier as well. You'll see better monthly profits, have fewer hats to wear, and know that you're doing everything you can to ensure your customers are happy and getting exactly what they want and need from your restaurant.
One big upside of a quality online ordering platform is its convenience.
It's easier to receive and manage orders since you can connect your online orders to your POS via integration. Especially if you run a small restaurant with limited staff, it's 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 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.
The right online ordering software connects with your restaurant POS system more intimately than a third-party delivery app.
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.
A big part of the hospitality industry is cultivating customer relationships. This means that retention is paramount.
With more and more customers caring about delivery systems and online orders, you can secure customer loyalty and attract new customers, which helps boost 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.
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. On a third-party delivery app, this isn't easy. You can list specials and deals on your restaurant POS system or restaurant website.
With the right vendor promotions and deals, it's easier to attract new customers, cover food costs, and expand your overall reach.
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, setting up a profitable business model and reaching customers is that much easier. 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.
Word of mouth marketing is crucial for restaurants looking to remain in business for the long haul. Promotions, discounts, and flyers can bring customers through the door, but the real power of the restaurant industry is the spread of information though organic sources. A Facebook page, customer reviews, and the underrated power of conversation all drive long term growth in the food services industry. When customers eat something that they love in today’s market, they post it online and rave about their meal to friends, family, and anyone else who will listen. This is the key to success today.
Social media takes up a vast amount of attention in the world of business today. More than four billion active monthly users combine to make Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and others the place to be when it comes to marketing and creating buzz. However, building a following in a hurry isn’t as simple as a few clicks of the mouse. In order to begin crafting a loyal following that will last for years to come you will need to lean into a marketing calendar and great SEO practices to go along with your rollout of online ordering and the integration of promotions that get people excited about your menu and restaurant.
Online order system operations allow for organic growth in this arena. Your customers are already utilizing the web to comb through the menu and select items that they want. The integration of review systems and automatic update capabilities that post to your Facebook page when customers want to share their delicious pictures and thoughts on the food can have a magnetic effect that brings in more and more customers in an exponential growth pattern.
Restaurant owners benefit from powerful, emotional reactions to great food—that's the reason why anyone would want to launch a restaurant operation in the first place. With the Covid-19 pandemic shuttering many indoor dining spaces, online sales have become the primary means of continuing a dialogue with your current customer base. Likewise, these deliveries are the only way to bring in new members to grow your following. Customers of the food services industry know what they like, and when they find a fantastic restaurant that matches up with their needs they often come back wanting more.
In the current climate, diners are relying on Uber Eats, ChowNow, Postmates, and their competitors for low transaction fees and fast and easy to use mobile app ordering. They want the same great tasting food that they’ve taken for granted delivered right to their door.
With services such as DoorDash and GrubHub, customers are able to reminisce about the good times that we all remember while waiting for a return to that same standard of interaction with one another.
RELATED READING: Ultimate Guide to Using DoorDash for Your Restaurant
These are powerful feelings, and identifying new customers that your restaurant operation can reach out to should be at the top of your to do list. With inclusions like a loyalty program and coupons for repeat deliveries, clients that have found you during these hard times are sure to remember the dine-in services and food delivery is what gets you up in the morning. The ability to create new, lasting relationships through great customer service and customer relationships that will carry over into a return to normality will boost your revenue stream over the long run and keep your business booming for many years.
Online ordering serves as the impetus for this new existence. By leaning into the email marketing and optimized mobile device online ordering system that is now a mainstay in virtually all restaurants in the United States, you can keep the kitchen serving up fantastic dishes that will keep profits rolling in. Delivering food right to your customers’ doorsteps is the new way of serving up a smile, and restaurant owners who have made this transition are seeing the rewards of that strategy come to fruition.
If your restaurant doesn't currently leverage an online ordering platform, it's time to make the switch.
If the past few years were 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. 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.