The Benefits of Online Menu Ordering System
As the world experiences technological advances, restaurants are presented with new technology options that enhance the customer experience. Online menu ordering software is one of these new features and particularly within the past year, it has become a fixture and a business-saving tool in the context of the restaurant scene.
The COVID-19 pandemic and consequential closure of eateries to diners for months meant that with almost no warning, restaurants had to completely shift their business models to account for the new restrictions. Their main source of income was suddenly takeout, their online ordering systems had to be updated and optimized, and overall, the concept of a restaurant business model was completely altered. Online menu ordering software was a godsend and continues to be a very relevant point on a restaurant business’ website.
There are plenty of reasons why online ordering is a beneficial part of the restaurant business model, even extending beyond the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, when eating in a restaurant is a more normal activity. Below, you’ll find a few of the biggest reasons why online menu ordering software is not only a smart investment… it’s also critical to business success.
1. Online ordering improves the customer experience.
Online ordering is more accurate, more convenient, and more practical than calling into the restaurant and verbally placing an order. By creating a custom ordering platform for your restaurant, the process can become more streamlined to make day-to-day operations easier for the restaurant. It also allows customers to browse the menu and look up any sides or add-ons they might want with their order.
2. Online menu ordering is a branding opportunity.
Certainly, people come into your restaurant for ambiance and an experience, but in times when that isn’t an option- whether they couldn’t get a reservation or the dine-in option isn’t available- your custom ordering platform can act as an extension of your brand. You can feature deals, new dishes, and a design that aligns with your overall restaurant brand so that even if it’s a customer’s first time ordering with you, you will be able to show them a little bit of what your restaurant experience will feel like.
3. Online menu ordering software increases efficiency.
When you have an online ordering system, you have instant access to all of the online orders being placed. Through a computer system, you can communicate those orders to the kitchen, which keeps the ordering process moving quickly and efficiently. You’ll also have a written record of what the person ordered, so if there is any confusion, you’ll be able to present the order to either the customer or the kitchen to clarify any mistakes.
4. You can build more effective Customer Relationship Management strategies.
When you have an online ordering system, you also have the analytics that come with it! You’re able to look at the number of new orders and cancelled orders, but the numbers go much deeper than that. You can also view which of your items are bestsellers, which customers come back to you time and time again, and where you tend to have spikes in sales.
5. You can monitor your expenses in real-time.
Since the online menu ordering system will constantly be crunching the numbers for you, you have real-time insights into your sales, profitability, and costs incurred. It’s quicker and easier than checking the register at the end of the night, and you’ll be able to make faster business decisions based on real data.
6. Online food ordering expands your reach.
With online ordering options, your business opportunities expand past the dining room walls. You have the option of taking advantage of potential business even when your dining room is at capacity. You can serve a broader audience in your community by delivering takeout which by extension, increases your revenue. This way, you maximize your potential earnings daily and you can build a dedicated customer base who perhaps have never even eaten in your restaurant!
7. You can use the ordering platform as a marketing opportunity.
Beyond presenting your food as your product, you can also highlight deals, seasonal items, popular drinks, or any other features that might encourage foot traffic within your business. The platform will be customizable and adaptable to any changes you might want to make as time goes on, and with that flexibility, you can use it to meet your current marketing needs.
8. You place the restaurant experience in your customer’s hands.
When customers can order online from their table, there’s less of a chance that an overwhelmed server or a long wait will encourage them to leave, or worse, leave a bad review online! In some cases, it can be very beneficial to have customers order food straight to their table so there are no miscommunications between the order placement and the kitchen. Depending on your restaurant business model and the experience you’re going for, this is an option that might lead to an uptick in satisfied customers.
The world has changed a lot within the past year and beyond that, technology is constantly evolving. Tried and true methods of communicating and serving customers aren’t going to remain static and it’s critical to your business’s survival that you are able to pivot effectively and reach your audience where they live: online.
A robust online presence that places the customer experience first is a crucial step to making sure that your restaurant remains relevant in your area. It also sets you up for success as additional solutions become available to you. The bottom line is that if your competitors are working with online food ordering software and you are not, your business is automatically at a disadvantage and will be fighting to come from behind every step of the way.