Restaurant Online and Order Ahead Solutions Differ Greatly

    orders2go image 150x150Customers love restaurant online and order ahead solutions for many reasons! They don’t have to wait for someone to answer the phone or spend time on hold waiting for someone to take their order, they are able to place their order when they want and confirm that the order is entered exactly the way they want it and they can pay for their order online so there is no hassle when their delivery arrives or they can just walk in and pick-up their order without dealing with a cashier. Customers can quickly reorder items previously ordered and they can order from either their smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC and in many cases from Facebook, pretty easy to see why customers love restaurant online and order ahead solutions!

    Ordering methods, Desktop or Mobile? In 2014, 60% of online orders came from a laptop or desktop PC and 40% from a smartphone or tablet mobile device. With mobile device ordering increasing, it was estimated that the split was fifty-fifty at the end of 2015. Make sure your website is mobile optimized, Mobile is NOW!

    But what about the restaurant? It is even better for the restaurant than for the customer! First, there are no staffing issues during peak order times, the restaurant online and order ahead solutions can take any number of orders at the same time. And customers can place orders 24/7 with specific delivery or pick-up times based on the restaurant’s business hours, no more lost orders on sticky notes or attached to the calendar.

    Second, there are no order entry errors, the customer is entering their order and sees exactly what they ordered. No more wasted food due to misunderstood customer requests or inaccurate entry of special requests by the phone order taker.

    Third, restaurants love the increase in business! This comes from time starved new customers that like the convenience of restaurant online and order ahead solutions, this creates more pick-up and delivery orders, larger orders due to automatic up sell functions and the fact that customers just order more when they see menu item images, don’t feel rushed by the order taker and don’t feel embarrassed ordering extras and desserts.

    Fourth, it’s all about the data! The collective data gives critical insights into customer behavior, like what devices they used to place their order, how they paid for their order, and which menu items they spent the most money on. Utilizing a loyalty program further enhances the value of this data.

    And last but not least, restaurant online and order ahead solutions can give local independent restaurants the same online marketing advantages as major chains. Restaurant marketing has always been local and now digital marketing makes local marketing easy and cost effective for restaurants of all sizes. Make sure online marketing options and electronic coupons are part of the restaurant online and order ahead solution.

    Now the bad news! Restaurant online and order ahead solutions differ greatly, restaurateurs beware there are major differences that must be considered. First, whose customer is it? Does the solution provider show the customer multiple restaurant choices when they order? A customer that was planning on ordering from you could change their mind after seeing other choices, you just lost an order! Same thing when the customer is reordering and chooses another restaurant from the list. This issue goes further, you do not have the customer’s digital contact info and can not electronically market to them. That means no email follow-ups or reminders to visit again or electronic coupons!

    Second, how does the order get to your kitchen? Some systems send a fax and some send an email, both of these methods require someone to hand write the order or manually input the order into the POS system. This creates a huge opportunity for lost orders, orders never getting to the kitchen and or getting to the kitchen with input errors created by the restaurant’s order taker. Absolute, best method to get the order to the kitchen is with an interface directly to your restaurant POS system. Don’t have a POS? Now is the time to automate your restaurant, need help? Use our free 3-step Restaurant POS Purchase Guide at www.POS-Advice.com.

    Third, how do you get paid? Many restaurant online and order ahead solutions collect from the customer and pay you on a scheduled basis. This doesn’t work for most restaurants, do you want someone holding your money for a week or more? How would you like to wait a week for your Super Bowl payments instead of collecting the next business day? Plus what is the fee for handling these payments? Another gotcha!

    And fourth, how much does it cost? Restaurant online ordering and order ahead solutions really vary greatly in this area! Many of the large middleman solutions charge from 10% to 18% of the order. WOW, that can really add up to a big amount and a large portion of your profit! Solution, go with a monthly plan. Again buyer beware, how many orders are included in this monthly plan and how much is charged for each order after the monthly maximum has been exceeded?

    As usual, nothing is simple! It is important that you understand how restaurant online ordering and order ahead solutions work so you can make an informed selection!

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