Online ordering platform is one of the most in-demand features for restaurants these days. Whether it’s a fast food chain, an independent eatery, or a café, providing customers with the ability to place orders online and pick them up later has proven to be a great strategy for boosting sales.
However, this added convenience comes with some hidden costs. Before you finalize your decision on whether to invest in an online ordering platform or another type of system, there are several things you should know first.
This article outlines the pros and cons of investing in a restaurant’s online ordering platform and other alternatives that might be more suitable for your establishment. Keep reading to discover more!
Why You Should Care About a Restaurant Online Ordering System?
Before you start shopping around for an online ordering system for your small business, it’s important to understand its benefits. Doing so will help you determine if investing in an online ordering platform is the best decision for your restaurant.
Here are some of the most important reasons why you should care about a restaurant’s online ordering platform:
– A boost in sales. By offering your customers the ability to place orders online, you’ll likely see a boost in overall sales. Whether it’s a busy lunch rush, a slow afternoon, or hectic dinnertime, customers appreciate the flexibility of being able to place orders online.
With online ordering, customers can also choose their preferred pickup times based on their schedules. When it comes to sales, an online ordering system will likely lead to a significant increase in orders. The ability to place orders at any time, even on weekends and holidays, can be extremely beneficial during busy times.
– A reduction in waiting time. It’s no secret that long wait times can be a huge turnoff for customers. When you’re ordering at a restaurant, it’s not uncommon to have to wait for 10 minutes or more. With an online ordering system, you’ll often see customers getting their orders within 5–10 minutes or less.
You’ll even see some customers receiving their orders before they finish paying. – A reduction in mistakes. If you’ve worked in the restaurant industry before, you know that human error is a common problem. During busy times, it’s easy for your staff to make mistakes in orders, especially for those who don’t work in the kitchen.
A common mistake that many customers make is ordering the wrong size of drink. While you can hire employees who are great at serving customers and taking orders, you can’t guarantee that there won’t be any mistakes.
– A boost in customer satisfaction. When customers can place their orders, they can customize them according to their preferences. This means that you won’t have to worry about someone ordering the wrong thing by mistake or mishearing what they want. Customers who can place orders online can also choose their preferred pickup times and can call in with questions or special requests.
– A reduction in operational costs. When customers can place orders online, they don’t need to wait in line or wait for their food to be prepared. This means that there will be fewer people waiting in line and fewer employees working in the kitchen.
The Cost of a Restaurant Online Ordering Platform
Before you decide to finally invest in an online ordering platform, you should know how much it will cost. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear price range for online ordering platform, as each system will likely cost a different amount.
This is because several factors can affect the cost of an online ordering system, such as the following:
– The type of online ordering platform you choose. There are many types of online ordering systems out there, including full-service and self-serve platforms. Depending on the features you need, you’ll likely find a wide range of prices.
– The cost of the hardware. Before you decide on an online ordering platform, you’ll need to decide what hardware you need. Depending on the type of hardware you need, such as tablets or computers, you’ll likely find a wide range of prices.
– The cost of support. When you purchase an online ordering system, you’ll likely receive support. Depending on the type of support you receive, you’ll likely find a wide range of prices.
– The cost of installation. While most online ordering systems come with instructions for installation, you might need to hire a professional to help you install it. Depending on the type of system you choose and the complexity of your restaurant, you can expect to pay an average of $500–1,500.
What to Look for When Selecting an Online Ordering Platform
There are many things to look for when selecting an online ordering platform.
Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind:
– How easy is it to navigate? When you and your employees are using the online ordering system regularly, it must be intuitive and easy to navigate. You don’t want to waste time trying to figure out how to use the system, especially during peak hours.
– Is there a mobile app? While you can place orders online from any computer, it’s more convenient to do so from your mobile phone. Many online ordering systems offer mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
– What are the payment options? Depending on your restaurant’s hours and target audience, you’ll likely want to offer more payment options. While most online ordering systems offer credit card payment, it’s important to make sure that you’re also accepting other payment methods.
– What types of food are supported? You don’t want to settle for an online ordering system that can only place certain types of food orders. You want a system that supports all types of food items and specials.
– Does it integrate with other software? While most systems are designed to work independently, it’s important to look for one that integrates with your existing software. Doing so will make it easier for you to manage orders and customer data.
– What is the reputation of the company behind the platform? When you’re shopping around for an online ordering system, it’s important to do your research on the companies behind the platforms.
Check out online reviews on review boards like Trustpilot, find out what other restaurant owners are saying, and read reviews on blog posts.
– How does it compare to other options? Before you jump on the first system you find, it’s important to compare it to other systems out there. This will help you determine if it’s the best system for your restaurant.
The Pros of Having an Online Ordering System
As you’ve read so far, online ordering systems come with both pros and cons. While there are many benefits to having an online ordering system, there are also some drawbacks.
Here are some of the pros of having an online ordering system:
– A boost in customer satisfaction. When customers can place their orders, they can customize them according to their preferences. This means that you won’t have to worry about someone ordering the wrong thing or mishearing what they want.
– An increase in positive reviews. When you provide your customers with the ability to rate and review your restaurant, they’re more likely to leave positive reviews. The best way to encourage customers to review your restaurant is to make it easy for them to do so.
– An increase in overall sales. When you provide customers with the ability to re-order their favorites, you’re more likely to see an increase in overall sales. An online ordering system can also help you to better understand what your customers want.
The Cons of Having an Online Ordering System
One of the biggest cons of having an online ordering platform is that it comes with a high initial investment cost. This is because you have to pay for the development of the online ordering platform as well as the equipment that connects the platform to your restaurant’s systems.
Depending on the technology that you choose, you might also have to pay for ongoing maintenance or hosting costs. This is because some providers charge a monthly fee for hosting your online ordering platform, while others require you to host it in your own data center.
Online ordering platforms can also cause additional delays during busy periods. This is because the ordering system can become clogged up during busy times and result in long wait times for customers.
If you’re relying on a centralized ordering platform and don’t have your own system, you might also experience delays or even see your customers abandoning their orders.
Online Ordering System Other Alternatives
If you’re not sure whether an online ordering platform is right for your restaurant, there are a few other options for you to consider.
If you’re looking for a way to streamline takeout orders, a dedicated takeout ordering platform could be a good option for you. These types of platforms are optimized for quick ordering and payments.
Takeout ordering platforms are often hosted on a third-party solution and don’t require any upfront costs. If you’re looking for a way to streamline delivery orders, a dedicated delivery ordering platform could be a good option for you.
Delivery ordering platforms are optimized for speed and simplicity and often use geofencing features to identify nearby customers. Delivery ordering platforms are often hosted on a third-party solution and don’t require any upfront costs.
Online ordering system is a great way to boost sales in your small business, but it comes with a few hidden costs.
Depending on the type of platform you choose, you might have to pay an initial investment cost, ongoing maintenance or hosting costs, and additional wait times during busy periods. If you’re not sure whether an online ordering platform is right for your restaurant, there are a few other options for you to consider.