The online ordering system for restaurants is a boon to the F&B industry because COVID-19 took a massive toll on the walk-in business and some restaurants could not see the dawn of the day. Through an online ordering system, these restaurants can reach more and more customers where otherwise they couldn’t reach. They either had to establish a branch or do hefty advertising to lure people from the father areas to come and visit the restaurant physically.
As per a study, the American online food delivery market is expected to grow to about US$200 billion by 2025. A staggering 70% of Americans prefer ordering food online for delivery.Looking at these figures, it’s only clear that the online food ordering and restaurant delivery systems are going to grow and the demand in the market for online deliveries is going to increase continuously.
If your restaurant already has a well-functioning restaurant management system, then building an online ordering system becomes very easy since you already have all the tools in place. However, the decision as a restaurant owner you have to make is whether you want to have an in-house online ordering system like a mobile app for the restaurant or whether you want to tie up with a third-party online ordering platform to manage your orders and deliveries.
How to Boost Your Restaurant Sales with an Online Ordering System?
An online ordering system has become an important need for every restaurant. There are three different ways through which you can set up your online ordering service. However, all of these approaches require you to have a website first.
The first approach is to develop and set up an in-house online ordering platform on your restaurant website. The restaurant can choose to have both a website and a mobile app for the restaurant or one of them. Using this approach, you can receive and accept your customers’ orders directly through your website.
Some of the advantages of having your in-house online ordering system are –
- First is that you can manage your payments by receiving them directly from the customer and retain the profits without paying an additional commission to any third-party service provider.
- You can have better control over the pick-ups and deliveries as the orders are placed on your website.
- It will also allow your customers to simply place the order and pay at the time of pick up.
- As the traffic grows on your website, you can include an online payment processing tool that will enable your consumers to pay at the time of placing the order and just have to pick up the order from the restaurant.
- You can have 100% control of every feature of your restaurant’s online ordering and delivery or pickup system including pricing, delivery area, menu offerings, etc.
- You will have direct access to your customer data which you can further use for your marketing promotions and to drive more sales.
However, there are some disadvantages as well –
- While having an in-house online ordering system is highly convenient, you also have to consider the maintenance side of your website. You will have to think about how will you address any technical issues that your staff might face while receiving an order or your customers while placing an order.
- With this approach, it’s extremely difficult to increase your customer base organically.
The second approach is using a third-party online ordering platform that has a web interface or a mobile app for restaurants. Thousands of restaurants use third-party ordering applications to receive and deliver orders to customers.
When a customer places an order using a third-party online ordering app, the restaurant has to manually enter the order into their own POS system. Once the order is processed, the app’s delivery service handles the pickup and delivery of the order.
If you register your restaurant with a third-party app all it requires is your restaurant name, restaurant address, phone number, email address, and menu. Once you have registered with them, you will receive the instructions to begin receiving orders.
Although this seems like a very convenient approach, it comes with a side of its pros and cons –
- One of the biggest advantages of registering with a third-party app is that you get ready access to the large customer data which is already existing at that app.
- You get access to a large base of customers who are actively looking to place a food order.
- The third-party app will take care of your deliveries providing end-to-end order delivery solutions starting from hiring the drivers to maintaining the delivery vehicles.
- One of the biggest disadvantages of registering on a third-party online ordering platform is that they charge a hefty commission of 15 to 35% on every order compromising your profits.
- Even though the third-party apps give access to their entire customer database, the restaurant does not get the whole information and can’t create and run effective marketing promotions.
The third approach is when a restaurant integrates the third-party ordering platform with its POS system for receiving online orders. In this system, the customer places the order directly at the third-party online ordering platform and that order is automatically received by the restaurant’s POS.
This online ordering system is managed by another integration app that allows the interaction between the online ordering platform and the restaurant’s POS.
The pros and cons of this approach are –
- If you are juggling between online ordering and the volume of orders, then combining your online ordering system and restaurant POS integration app seems like a good idea. This will fasten the order processing, increasing the number of orders processed in a day.
- The only con with this system is that it can be expensive to manage since it will involve paying for the third-party online ordering service provider. If your POS does not offer native integration, then buying an integration app will add up as an additional expense.
In the restaurant industry, the free online restaurant ordering system has become a necessary service offering for its customers. Why keep to the old techniques of restaurant management when technology can help you increase sales and attract more customers?
Restaurants that wish to stay afloat in this competitive industry must continue to grow their consumer base. Setting up an online ordering system for restaurants to support an additional income stream and attract new consumers is a key part of that.