Prepping Your Restaurant For Online Ordering: What You Need To Know

Online ordering is taking the restaurant industry by storm, and it’s not just because of COVID-19.

Research shows that delivery and digital orders have been growing 300% faster than dine-in traffic since 2014—and this is only the beginning.

People want to eat whatever they want whenever they want, and while the dine-in experience will hopefully continue to thrive in a post-COVID world, it will never be the same again. Industries across the board are shifting toward convenience, and the restaurant industry is no exception.

Online ordering: How It Works 

Online ordering enables customers to order their food from your website, from your app, or from a third party app. The online ordering system will retrieve the necessary information from the customer and allow them to pay online and schedule a pick up time, or have their food delivered.

It’s so simple and convenient that it’s no wonder more people prefer, and have come to expect, online ordering options.

But it’s also true that integrating an online ordering system can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve always operated from a standard dine-in model. So, how can you start offering online ordering for your customers’ convenience (and safety) without incurring too much expense or investing too much time?

Online ordering platforms

When it comes to online ordering platforms, you have a number of options that allow customers to either order from your app, your website, or a third party app.

Which platform should you choose? That depends on your goals, your resources, and your audience preferences.

App Ordering 

If you want to avoid third-party fees, you could invest in developing your own app.  Consumers frequently use apps to order takeout or delivery because they’re easy to use (if properly developed), convenient (many apps save customer information for a seamless check out), and efficient.

Developing your own app could be a wise investment (think Dominos), but it’s also a time-consuming and potentially expensive project. If you’re a brick and mortar business that needs to get food in front of your customers like, yesterday, it might be wise to leverage a third-party app so your customers can continue ordering their favorite meals online.

Third-Party App Ordering 

Many restaurants outsource their delivery service to a third-party provider, and feature their menu options on an app like DoorDash or Grubhub. While you don’t get to keep 100% of your profits, you do gain more exposure (since many consumers are on these apps already) and you don’t have to allocate resources toward a delivery service.

If you’re on a third-party app and you offer delivery or curbside pickup, make sure your customers know! Put a sign in your window and update your website so you can reach that audience.

Some of these apps can also work in conjunction with your own POS system. OneDine’s touchless tap and pay system flawlessly integrates into almost any POS system, and allows customers to order online from your website without having to install any apps. For efficiency, servers are instantly updated when:

  • An order has been placed
  •  service request has been made
  • A payment has been processed
  • A customer leaves a bad review

To help save our restaurants, OneDine is offering this service free or charge during the current gathering restrictions. Learn more here.

Website Ordering 

If you set up online ordering through your website you get to keep the profits, but you also have to do the work. You have to set up an interactive online menu, accommodate online payments, and if you choose to offer delivery, integrate a delivery system, which adds to the cost of labor.

Is the money you save worth the effort? It could be, if you have the manpower in place and the expertise to set up your own online ordering system. To make things simple, OneDine’s technology enables customers to easily order from your website without you having to put in the work of setting it up.

Curbside Pickup 

While many consumers prefer the convenience of delivery, don’t overlook the importance of curbside pickup, especially in the midst of COVID-19. Customers are still willing to drive to their favorite restaurant as long as the ordering and pick-up process is contactless and safe. If you’re not set up to offer a drive-through service, curbside pickup can be a great alternative.

OneDine’s park and pay technology makes the process simple. Customers can order and pay online, alert the restaurant when they’re pulling in, and their food will be brought out to them. See if this free technology could help save your restaurant.

Marketing 

Once you’ve chosen your platform and you’ve set up online ordering, don’t overlook the importance of advertising this new service. You want customers to know you’re open and ready for business. Put up a sign, send out a newsletter, or distribute a  flyer with a coupon for 30% off their first order.

Restaurants have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, but we believe that together, we can make it through this.