As technology progresses and consumer purchasing habits evolve in response, online ordering in the restaurant industry is becoming increasingly important. What’s more, as people have grown accustomed to ordering through food delivery apps – largely due to the pandemic – consumers are coming to expect restaurants to offer an online ordering option.
This post explores the advantages of online ordering for restaurants and customers.
Online ordering functionality makes it far more convenient for customers to order from your restaurant. Firstly, the fact that you offer delivery makes it more convenient for customers to make purchases – adding online ordering considerably adds to that convenience.
Most notably, the ability to order online enables customers to order from wherever they are, whether at work or home, sitting in traffic, on a train or bus, etc. Plus, they can time their orders so it’s ready for collection, or about to be delivered, at the most opportune time, e.g., when they’re on their way home.
Additionally, an online menu makes it easier to present customers with customisation options for their preferred items. Not only does this make for a better customer experience, but it’s also likely to result in additional revenue as they upgrade their meal, e.g., upsizing, adding ingredients, etc.
Better still, online ordering makes placing larger orders easier – because customers can take as long as they like. They may, for instance, tell the people around them they’re making an order – asking them if they want in – which could multiply the order value several-fold.
Online ordering also saves customers time, with studies revealing that restaurants can fulfill orders up to 2.4 times faster compared with in-store ordering. However, an online menu isn’t just faster than ordering in person – but also over the phone.
Placing an order over the phone takes a few minutes, as the customer decides on their order – while, typically, changing their mind or speaking to other people at the same time. Plus, the customer has to convey their preferences (e.g., “add this, take away this, etc.”), before the employee on the line repeats the order back to the customer for confirmation. Online ordering, in contrast, replaces that process with a few clicks. And – let’s not forget – an employee has to be available to answer the phone in the first place…
Better still, with greater control over how they order their food, customers can better time orders for minimal wait times. Subsequently, with more online orders, they’ll be shorter queues at busier periods, like lunchtime – which is more likely to attract passersby.
Fortunately, however, the time-saving benefits of online ordering don’t only apply to your customers – but your business too. Online orders can be sent straight to the kitchen, resulting in a smoother workflow that enables you to serve customers faster.
Perhaps most importantly, adding an online ordering facility can boost your restaurant’s revenue in several ways.
For a start, your restaurant’s now faster and more convenient service will result in more sales. The ability to order from anywhere with an internet connection significantly reduces the friction in the ordering process, likely resulting in more spontaneous purchases. Just as importantly, as customers want fast, immediate service, if you have a reputation for speed, you’ll always be in consideration if they’re pressed for time.
Another way online ordering boosts sales is by giving your restaurant an entirely new sales channel. Online ordering increases your web presence and makes it easier for prospective customers to find your food venue when looking for local places to eat.
Additionally, because customers can browse your menu at leisure, it increases their chance of ordering more items. When rushed, customers can fail to notice particular menu items that would have appealed to them. But when they can take their time, they’ll better understand and appreciate every delicious corner of your menu. Similarly, if many items on your menu whet their appetite, it gives them a reason to return and order another time.
Enhanced customer experience: As well the added speed and convenience, online ordering improves your customers’ experience in several areas.
Learn more about Grafterr’s online ordering platform
Firstly, an online ordering facility enables customers to create an account. Not only does this save time, as customers don’t have to re-enter their details, but it allows for personalised recommendations, targeted offers, loyalty rewards, and more.
On a similar note, online ordering platforms enable you to optimise your marketing campaigns by allowing you to contact your customers directly through email or text messages. Plus, the data compiled from online orders provides insights into customer preferences, which are invaluable for developing ideas for new menu items, food/drink pairings, special events, etc.
Online ordering platforms also enhance the customer experience by sending them notifications alerting them to the status of their food, e.g., “in the kitchen”, “on route”, etc.
Reduced overhead costs
As well as helping you make more money, online ordering can help you save money. With a more streamlined workflow, e.g., orders going straight to the kitchen, employees are freed up to focus on value-adding activities, like attending to in-house customers. This makes them more productive and delivers more value from your payroll expenditure.
Another way that online ordering helps decrease overheads is by helping you retain customers. Your faster and more convenient service will have customers coming back time and time again, and it’s far cheaper to retain existing customers than acquire new ones – five to seven times cheaper, in fact!
Contactless ordering and payment
Lastly, adding an online ordering option caters to changing consumer preferences – particularly in the wake of the pandemic. Large numbers of consumers were forced to get to grips with delivery apps and online menus, as they couldn’t visit restaurants, and many have continued to order online despite the pandemic subsiding.
More importantly, online ordering caters to customers who prefer contactless payments and delivery for sanitary reasons. This particularly applies to vulnerable individuals most conscious of health protocols and hygienic standards in restaurants and other public places.
You can also combine your online menu with a QR code ordering system. This allows customers within your restaurant to order from their tables, at their convenience, with limited intervention from your staff, further limiting unnecessary contact.
To recap, the benefits of online ordering for restaurants include:
- Increased convenience
- Faster service and more efficient workflows
- Increased revenue
- An enhanced customer experience
- Lower overhead costs
- Contactless ordering
Grafterr’s online ordering platform enables your customers to order menu items for delivery, schedule them for collection, or make reservations online. Best of all, adding online ordering functionality is made easy with Grafterr – as you can add your online menu to your existing website – or create a brand new one with our interactive website builder.