Restaurants today face significantly different challenges than their predecessors. Not only has competitiveness grown, but so have the expectations of customers. The “uberization” of online ordering and delivery means that customers expect convenient food. They want to be able to order food for pickup or delivery from the comfort of their homes, with minimal effort and no loss in food quality.
One way restaurants can maintain control and power (while still moving with the zeitgeist) is by offering online ordering through their website. In this blog, we’ll look at how all restaurants can benefit from linking to an online menu platform from their websites.
How does online menu ordering work?
With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, online ordering has become, frankly, the major hope for restaurants to survive in a crippling marketplace. We were already heading in that direction; back in 2019, 70% of guests expected online ordering from restaurants. Today, customers are relying on online ordering and delivery to get their restaurant meals — and the restaurants that can meet that demand are the ones that are surviving.
A restaurant online ordering system is designed to give you more control and give customers an easy way to order food. Even before Covid, it had plenty of advantages. The convenience of ordering, paying, and tipping online is an improvement over the traditionally slower method of calling. Plus, the risk of human error is removed. Even the most organized person can make a mistake when giving a pick-up or to-go order to the kitchen. Guests are happier, and your restaurant doesn’t have to cover the losses of a wrong order.
Other ways online ordering helps restaurants:
- Menu updates are fast and seamless
- Coupons and ads get more attention
- Orders are never missed
- Order accuracy improves
- Sales increase
From any device, a customer can place an order online. MenuDrive, Lavu’s online ordering platform, allows you to receive orders by text, email, order dashboard, or through your Lavu POS. Because Lavu connects the FOH and BOH, the kitchen gets notified the moment an order is processed. Customers then choose how to get their food; depending on your restaurant, they can select delivery, curbside, pickup, or dine-in.
Customer Service Still Matters
With new technological advances, the rules of service are changing — but not evaporating! At no point does customer service become irrelevant. Because the amount of face-to-face time decreases with online ordering, the moments in front of guests, albeit short, leave a lasting impression.
Pro Tip: Despite restaurant tech trends that limit interpersonal interactions, great customer service always matters.
When ordering online, customers still expect the same service they would get from a person, such as the ability to modify food orders. Our online food ordering system allows customers to modify their order so it’s exactly what they want. Additionally, you can designate the times of day the service is available — you don’t want customers placing orders after closing hours.
Worried about customers waiting too long or giving bad reviews? You can set the minimum preparation time, so customers have an accurate time estimate. The most convenient part of the online ordering system is that payments are accepted through the platform.
It’s Another Stream of Revenue
Since most US consumers are opting for restaurants with online ordering capabilities, you’ll find that integrating an ordering platform will increase your sales. We’ve seen significant increases in sales for restaurants using MenuDrive. In April 2020, for instance, restaurants using MenuDrive processed sales up 147% vs. the 2019 monthly average!
Fewer people are ordering food ahead of time to eat in restaurants, so the majority of orders are for pick-up or delivery. Although the dine-in numbers won’t be affected by the online menu platform, the food going out will boost your overall sales numbers. (Sales reports can be run in your restaurant point-of-sale system, or directly through your online ordering platform.)
We could cite countless examples of how online ordering is improving restaurants’ bottom lines. But as just one example, even before Covid, TGI Friday’s reported a 30% increase in sales with online ordering. The development encouraged the casual-dining chain to invest more in new restaurant technology.
“We are investing heavily in digital technology because, as an iconic brand, Friday’s must evolve along with the lifestyle of our guests,” said Caroline Masullo, TGI Friday’s vice president of digital and e-commerce.
There is no doubt that online ordering is the future of restaurant delivery and pickup. Regardless of price point, cuisine, or service style, integrating online ordering cements a restaurant’s position — and future — in today’s difficult landscape.