Are you interested in implementing an online ordering system for your restaurant, drive-thru, or fast food chain? If so, great news: You’re ahead of the curve. The market for online ordering services is booming. A report from Technomic found that the number of fast food chains and other quick service restaurants with online ordering services has grown by 44% since 2014.
These businesses recognize that customers want the convenience of being able to order food without having to leave their house or office again.
An online ordering system is essentially a software program that allows customers to place orders directly from a business’s website or mobile app. This article covers everything you need to know about finding the best online ordering system for your particular business needs.
How to Find the Best Online Ordering System for Your Business
Before you start the process of finding an online ordering system for your business, there are a few things you need to assess first. First, you need to figure out how much traffic you receive regularly. If you have a small restaurant or drive-thru, you likely don’t need as robust of an online ordering system as a large chain with multiple locations.
Next, you should examine your business hours. If you’re open for long hours, you may want to select an online ordering system that offers after-hours ordering. Last, you should think about how your customers prefer to pay.
Cash-only businesses will want an online ordering system that allows customers to place orders and pay with a credit card. Ideally, you should select a software program that will grow with your business over time. This way, you aren’t forced to upgrade or change to a new system down the road.
Why is an Online Ordering System Important?
If you want to make your business more efficient and convenient for customers, you may want to consider adding an online ordering system. Online ordering systems can help with brand awareness, customer satisfaction, and operational efficiency. For example, a well-known brand like Starbucks is likely to offer online ordering services because it knows the benefits.
A brand like Starbucks is likely making its name even more popular because it’s convenient for everyone to order from the comfort of their homes. It’s also likely benefiting the company because customers are satisfied with the ordering experience.
Additionally, a company benefits from an online ordering system because it will likely become more efficient. For example, let’s say 10 employees are working in the kitchen at a particular Starbucks location. With an online ordering system, these employees will have more time to make food because they don’t have to take orders at the counter.
The Importance of a Good Customer Experience
Your customers’ experience with your business begins well before they walk through the front door of your establishment. It starts with how your brand is presented online. When you have an online ordering system in place, you’re providing customers with an easy and convenient way to place orders.
You’re also enabling these customers to enjoy an added level of convenience that’s often associated with online shopping. This is especially important for customers who are visiting your restaurant or drive-thru during hectic times.
Rather than waiting in line for 10 minutes for a cashier to ring up and process their order, these customers can skip the line and order from the comfort of their own homes.
Your online ordering system should also feature a user-friendly interface that allows customers to order their food with ease. This includes having clearly defined fields and instructions that assist customers in selecting their meal options.
3 Steps to Finding the Right Online Ordering Service
Before you start shopping for an online ordering system, you need to figure out what you’re looking for. This will help you narrow down your selection process and find the best online ordering systems for your needs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re shopping for an online ordering service.
1. Volume: How much traffic do you receive regularly? If you have a small restaurant or drive-thru, you likely don’t need as robust of an online ordering system as a large chain with multiple locations.
2. Location: Where are your customers located? If you have a lot of people coming in from other countries, you’ll want to select an online ordering system that offers a translation service. It’s also a good idea to make sure your system is compatible with different languages.
3. User experience: How do you want your customers to feel when they’re ordering food from your business? You’ll want to select an online ordering system that offers an intuitive interface that’s easy to navigate.
2 Questions You Need to Answer Before Selecting an Online Ordering System
There are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself before you begin the selection process for an online ordering system.
First, what type of operation do you have? For example, do you have a fast food restaurant, coffee shop, or convenience store?
Each type of business has its own unique set of requirements and considerations when it comes to online ordering systems.
Next, how many employees do you have? If you have a large chain with multiple locations, you’ll want to select an online ordering system that’s robust and designed for larger businesses.
This will allow you to centralize your ordering process and manage your business from one central location. For example, if your business has five locations, you can manage all of its operations from one central hub.
4 Things to Look for When Finding the Right Online Ordering Software
Now that you know what to consider when shopping for an online ordering system, let’s take a closer look at what you should be looking for.
1. Ease of use – How easy is your system to use? Ideally, you want your customers to feel like they’re using a website designed for a five-year-old. This will help you create an intuitive and easy-to-navigate interface that’s designed to make ordering food as easy as possible.
2. Ordering process – How does your online ordering system work? Is it a simple process that allows customers to place an order in just a few minutes? Or does it require customers to jump through a bunch of hoops to place an order? You should select an online ordering system that allows customers to order food in just a few clicks.
3. Branding – How does your online ordering system enhance your brand? Does your system portray an easy and convenient ordering experience for customers? Or does it feel clunky and outdated? An ideal online ordering system will allow you to brand your business and design your interface to match your brand.
4. Scalability – How will your system grow with your business? Ideally, you want to select an online ordering system that offers scalability so you’re not forced to upgrade or change to a new system down the road as your business grows.
What to Watch Out for When Choosing An Online Ordering Service
There are a few things you should keep an eye out for as you consider selecting an online ordering system for your business. First, make sure your system offers nutritional facts, ingredients, and allergen information.
This will help ensure you remain compliant with state and federal regulations. It’s also a good idea to select an online ordering system that offers a mobile app. You can create a seamless experience for your customers by giving them the ability to place orders on both their computers and mobile devices.
Finally, check for third-party integrations. These integrations can allow you to send data to other business systems and vice versa. This can help your business grow and save time and money in the long run.
An online ordering system is incredibly useful for many businesses, especially quick-service restaurants. When choosing an online ordering system, make sure to consider customer experience, cost, and how the system integrates with other systems your business uses. Keep in mind that implementing a new one can be time-consuming, so you’ll need to budget for that.