Should Your Restaurant Offer Online Ordering? 4 Things to Consider

Updated on November 19, 2020
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Dining today is all about creating an experience. From the moment a customer walks into your doors, to picking up a menu, to paying the bill, it’s all about how you make them feel. In the age of the internet, that experience extends beyond the walls of your restaurant.

For new restaurants, it can be difficult to balance offering an elevated experience while managing your bottom line. Rounding out your exceptional customer experience with an online ordering solution is a natural next step for a small business that’s interested in reaching customers outside of its brick-and-mortar location, but while keeping finances in check.

We broke down the state of restaurant online ordering and what you should do if you want to start offering pick up and delivery to your loyal customers in 2020.

Online Ordering Trends You Should Know About

Mobile-friendly everything is on the rise.

According to the Marketwatch, 50% of emails are opened on mobile devices, making a mobile-optimized website and mobile-friendly marketing strategy increasingly important.[1] With today’s consumers spending more time on their smartphones, online ordering makes takeout and delivery more convenient.[2] Restaurants with online ordering are catering to a generation of consumers that are not used to waiting.

Restaurant analytics are the key to success.

Nearly 60% of consumers have ordered food online in the last six months, which means if you’re not offering it, you’re missing out.[3] Just because your online diners aren’t in your restaurant doesn’t mean you don’t have a chance to market to them and keep them coming back. Gathering customer insights into how your online users behave can prove valuable and help grow your restaurant.

Phone call ordering is a thing of the past.

A Fortune restaurant technology survey found that now more people order their food via an app on their smartphone or tablet than through a phone call.[4] To cater to these customers, it’s essential that your website, and restaurant, have the tools and technology in place to meet a growing demand.

4 Things to Consider Before Offering Online Ordering

Expect an Increase in Volume

Once you begin to offer online ordering, you should be prepared to handle an uptick in orders. In a best-case scenario, you will see an increase in business and a busier front-of-house staff and back-of-house staff.  this has the potential to create new jobs in your community as your restaurant grows, it’s also essential that you prepare ahead of time so you’re not disappointing customers.

Test Your Current website

Is your website mobile-friendly? Open up your cell phone’s internet browser and take a look at how your website responds on your device. Is it easy to find your menu and other important information about your business? A mobile-optimized website (or a mobile app) that’s ready take online orders is a smart investment in a fast-growing market.

Start Small

If you’re not ready to jump into the world of delivery, take a small step into online ordering by offering a takeout option for customers. This allows your customers to order food without ever picking up a phone, but doesn’t require you to hire delivery staff.

Integrate Your Online Ordering

Online ordering platforms that operate alongside your existing systems can create unnecessary headaches for managers, servers, and chefs. By integrating your online ordering with your current restaurant management system, your online orders will arrive in your existing point of sale, ready to be fired to the kitchen just like an order from a table or the bar.

How Online Ordering Helped a Ramen Restaurant Thrive

When Kenn Pluard, owner of Kenji’s Ramen in Vancouver, Washington, became aware of just how high the demand was for online ordering, he knew one thing: He didn’t want to pay upward of 35% in commission and lose revenue for his ramen shop. Instead, Kenn turned to an owned online ordering solution that integrated with his point of sale system, and used a third-party service for deliveries.

Within just a couple months, Kenji’s saw online orders climb to 10% of their monthly revenue.

In addition to a boost in revenue, Kenn immediately noticed efficiency in his staff’s time by having an integrated solution. Instead of manually entering when an online order is placed, it drops into the POS that his team works on every day.

There’s no transcribing orders from fax, email or a separate tablet into the point of sale for Kenn and his team. “Five minutes saved that we don’t have to take an order by phone, plus five minutes we don’t have to spend taking payment when the customer comes in to pick up. With 10 orders/day, that’s over an hour saved per employee per day. It really adds up.”

Article Sources:

  1. “How Today’s Email Marketers are Connecting, Engaging and Inspiring Their Customers
  2. “US Time Spent with Mobile 2019
  3. “Online Food Delivery and the Pizza Paradigm
  4. “Restaurants Face Digital Dilemma
Seth Steinman
Contributing Writer at Fundera

Seth Steinman

Seth Steinman is the SEO manager at Upserve, an organization that helps independent full-service restaurants run and manage their entire business through a restaurant management platform. Seth has embraced the hipster lifestyle, riding his bike to work, practicing meditation, and drinking tall boy Gansetts.

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