When you're working with multiple ordering platforms, you're probably juggling several tablets, a handful of POS integrations, and disparate orders from different delivery services. Not only does it create a stressful restaurant environment, but it increases the likelihood that you'll make mistakes with customer orders. On top of that, you probably take orders through your own website's online ordering platform. The bottom line is that it becomes a lot for restaurateurs to handle.
While you want to be on as many mobile apps and takeout platforms as possible, you must find ways to connect online order brands like Grubhub, ChowNow, Doordash, and Uber Eats together. When you also factor in POS integration, it can streamline your online ordering system and make each opening that much smoother. That's why it's important to invest in different ways to consolidate online orders.
Invest in the right online order system first.
When you're looking to consolidate your online orders, you need to handle the foundation first. Take a look at all the tablets you use. If there was a way you could combine online orders, mobile app orders, and orders placed through your own website on one screen, wouldn't you integrate it? Luckily, that's the current trend of top online order system applications. These take your online sales from delivery platforms like Grubhub and Postmates and send them to a singular device. These then forward onto the POS system. Instead of juggling multiple pieces of hardware, you now have to handle one. You're less likely to send incorrect tickets to the kitchen, mess up online orders, or misplace food items.
Plus, with mobile app integration, it's easier to review customer data to determine the mobile ordering platforms you use. For instance, if you review your POS system order data, you can get insights into app performance. If you spot that Uber Eats isn't performing well, but Postmates is, you may temporarily add promotions to your Uber Eats account to attract more delivery orders. Or, you could choose to drop the former platform and focus more on Postmates. While this is a general example, you'd be surprised how much money it could save you. If you're using a platform that takes plenty of transaction fees, but you don't see a lot of incoming orders, it may not be worth it for you to use that delivery system.
In the restaurant industry, things move quickly. That's why restaurants of all sizes need to be able to adjust their restaurant operation in real-time. With the right online ordering software, you can not only consolidate your online orders but attract new customers, boost your restaurant website, and connect a loyalty program to build customer relationships. It helps restaurant owners with the food delivery and can improve that major revenue stream.
Streamline your kitchen with a KDS.
If you want to consolidate the dine-in, curbside pickup, and delivery ordering experience and attract potential customers, you can streamline things even further. Instead of running tickets back to the kitchen, you can use your ordering system and KDS to push orders in real-time. This means menu items from your point of sale system go right to your kitchen without delay. This can also quickly apprise the kitchen staff of 86'd items, new menu items' promotions, and whether the customer has chosen to dine at the restaurant or the delivery option. This helps with both packaging and plating.
A KDS can also give valuable insight into kitchen performance. Since online orders and takeout options usually take priority over delivery, especially if drivers are scarce, you can get insight into how quickly your kitchen staff cooks best-selling dishes and find ways to make adjustments to improve your customer service.
Incorporate inventory management.
When you consolidate all of your ordering platforms, you also need to implement robust inventory management to not run out of any products too quickly. When you're juggling multiple tablets and devices, it's easier for your kitchen to get a bit backed up. However, when you streamline your operations to a single device, this speeds things up considerably. This means that you're liable to run out of products more quickly, which can lead to additional costs or reduced daily profits. When you consolidate your platforms, you also need to take the time to review your inventory management standards.
Since consolidation allows you to push orders directly to your POS and then your kitchen display system, you want to invest in a POS with solid inventory controls and reporting. This can help you review the busiest periods of your day, adjust stock levels for certain days or dining occasions, and make more informed decisions about your ordering process. You can also find a POS system that helps you use customer data and historical reporting in smarter ways. When you have all of these systems working in tandem, it makes it much more likely that you'll succeed.
Combine multiple approaches for the best shot at success.
While it'd be helpful to follow one of the steps of this list, you'll have the greatest impact if you combine multiple tactics. Perhaps, when you invest in an online ordering system, you can also rethink your restaurant's website's layout to create a stronger ordering channel for your customer base. Or, this could spur you to ditch the legacy POS system you've been using for the longest time and invest in something with mobile device compatibility for better order management. Restaurant owners who use multiple approaches to order consolidation are more likely to edge out the competition.
When you're looking to increase repeat customers and grow your target audience, you need to offer all the modern conveniences that diners expect. Sometimes, this includes Facebook ordering and robust email marketing. It also means installing a kitchen display kiosk in the BOH to improve order accuracy and cook speeds. The ultimate premise is to find ways to consolidate your ordering efforts to create a less taxing process for both you and your customers. Whether you're a small restaurant looking to grow, or you're an established name that's ready to expand, order consolidation can benefit you.