As intimidating and complicated it may sound, online ordering for restaurants has helped the Restaurant Industry to fight the rigorous battle that the pandemic outbreak has brought. Bringing an online ordering system as one of the main revenue drivers helped restaurant businesses to keep operating and thriving.
This article aims to develop a helpful guide for restaurant owners, like you, about online ordering for restaurants, online ordering systems, and how increasing online orders for restaurants can help you with your restaurant business.
What is an Online Ordering System?
An online ordering system is a tool that allows your restaurant to connect to customers over the internet. It is software that enables your business to process and manage orders purchased over the internet. It gained the spotlight, especially during this Coronavirus outbreak, because it helped businesses to provide a safe and secure process of completing transactions over the internet.
For restaurants, online food ordering helps you to operate within the new health protocols. It is a convenient and uncomplicated system that allows you to process online food orders via a mobile app or your restaurant website.
The system of online ordering for restaurants is composed of two basic components–
- A website or mobile app (your mobile app or third-party app) that serves as the platform where customers place their orders
- A back-office interface where administrative tasks such as order confirmation and monitoring are done
How Online Food Ordering System Works?
If you’re worrying that this type of restaurant technology is too complicated for you, then you have to read along to discover that it’s not as hard as you thought it would be. Online ordering for restaurants provides a simple and convenient workflow for restaurants and customers. Customers will just place their orders online through your desired platform (mobile app or website), then your back-end platform will then receive, process, manage, and monitor those orders.
As for the delivery, it will depend on what type of food delivery service you’re offering. You can offer customers takeaway, curbside pick-up, and home food delivery service.
For payment processing, it will depend on what type of online ordering system you’ll deploy for your restaurant. But, basic online food ordering systems process payment via cash, debit card, credit card, and mobile wallets such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.
How much is an Online Food Ordering System?
Different factors affect the price of an online food ordering system. The pricing will depend on what features you’re expecting from your system and what type of support you want from your system provider.
Some providers offer free plans but for basic plans, it usually costs $25 – $150 per month plus additional fees for set up and hardware.
Types of Online Ordering System
Depending on the concept of your restaurant, you can choose between these three main types of Online Food Ordering System:
Own Online Ordering Platform
- The platform where customers would place their orders would be made by your hired online ordering system developer and it will be managed by your restaurant staff.
Third-Party Online Ordering Apps and Marketplace Delivery Apps
- These are the applications developed to cater online food orders. Restaurant owners can partner up with these apps and they would be available on their platform. These types of applications have a huge number of users and depend on third parties and the gig economy for their delivery service.
Online Ordering App combined with POS System
- It may come as an additional cost for restaurateurs, but it’s easier to set up. These are software or programs that are already built-in to your existing POS System.
Factors to Consider before Using Online Ordering System
If you’re still having reservations regarding what type of online food ordering system would best suit your restaurant business, here are the main factors that you should check out before making a crucial decision.
- Support and security
- The capacity of processing takeaway and pick-up orders (the volume of orders it can handle)
- Functionality, including special features
How to Build an Online Ordering System for Your Restaurant?
Generally, this will depend on what type of Online Ordering System you’re planning to employ. If you decide to create your website, you’ll start by looking for providers who will give you the best package at a lower cost.
Here are the basic steps on how to build your online ordering food system :
- Make your restaurant profile.
- Provide delivery and pick-up options. (Include your delivery area or service fee for every location)
- Create and update your online menu.
- Remember to place your “online order” button where customers can easily locate it.
- Integrate multiple payment options.
- Organize a support team that will assist customers with online ordering concerns
How to Find the Best Online Ordering System Provider?
Offering online ordering for your restaurant will surely increase orders for your restaurant. 60% of 18-24-year-olds declared that the pandemic caused them to increase their usage of online ordering and food delivery services. With this type of demand, you have to make sure that your online ordering system provider can also support your restaurant’s online operation.
Here’s a guide to help you in finding the best provider for your online order service.
- Conduct in-depth research. You may ask other restaurateurs and industry professionals for recommendations, but it is still important that you’ll base your decision on your research. The main reason for this is because you’re the one who knows your restaurant well, therefore, you know the possible needs and demands of your restaurant. You also have to see the importance of hiring a provider that will work towards your business goals.
- Find out their operations and support features. This should be on top of your priority if you’re looking for an online ordering system provider. Knowing how their operations and support features works can help you align your work system according to the services they offer.
- Learn how it handles customer information. Even though you technically hired their services, there are technology providers that don’t share customer information with restaurant owners. These are the providers that you should avoid because the Restaurant Industry is now considered a data-driven industry. The more data you hold, the better position you are in the market.
Aside from those mentioned above, you should also check out how these system providers will help you with your marketing efforts. Online ordering for restaurants is not just about increasing sales and revenue, it also covers boosting customer engagement, brand awareness, and brand retention. On how will they do that, it is up to you to talk to them and find out.
How to Integrate Online Ordering for Your Restaurant?
No matter how easy and simple the process of online ordering for restaurants is, it is still important you’ve prepared everything before you transition into online ordering. Here’s a list of the things you need to do to make sure that your whole restaurant is ready to offer online ordering services.
- Orient your restaurant staff
- Determine the best delivery service for your restaurant
- Ensure that your restaurant website is mobile-friendly, or make your mobile app
- Keep your online menu updated
- Adopt a packaging system that will secure the quality of your food item
- Step up your restaurant digital marketing efforts
- Try to offer different options for customers such as curbside pick-up, delivery, scheduled takeaway
- Stay transparent to your customers
This pandemic has forced everyone in the industry to always manage their expectations. The once treated as an option becomes the sole income generator of the restaurant. Hoping that this feature helped you to manage your expectations with online ordering for restaurants and served as a guide towards your innovation.