Restaurants today have significantly different challenges to conquer than their predecessors. Not only has competitiveness grown, but so have the expectations of customers. Specific diets and the “uberization” of food delivery are some of the unique constrictive demands restaurants need to meet today. As the owner or manager of a restaurant, you know there’s also the expectation to remain authentic despite the changes.
One way restaurants can regain some control and power (while still moving with the zeitgeist) is by offering online ordering through their website. Lavu’s Restaurant POS has recently updated its Lavu To Go features so restaurants can easily make the shift.
We recommended setting up an online food ordering platform in 2017. Today, we share how all restaurants can benefit from integrating an online menu platform to their websites.
How does online menu ordering work?
A restaurant online ordering system is designed to help give you more control and give customers a convenient way to order food.
From any device, a customer can place an order with you online. Because the restaurant POS system 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, pick up, or dining in.
Calling to make an order is still normal practice, but surprisingly, the number of people who prefer online ordering is huge. In 2017, 42% of consumers said the ability to order online would make them choose one restaurant over another. The reasons vary, however in general, the convenience of ordering, paying, and tipping online trumps the traditionally slower method of calling.
Plus, the risk of human error is removed. Even the most organized host 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. This also frees up time for your front-of-house staff to concentrate on dine-in guests.
Other ways online ordering helps restaurants:
- Menu updates are fast and seamless
- Coupons and advertisements get more attention
- Orders are never missed
- Order accuracy improves
- Sales increase
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.
Lavu 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 with a person, such as the ability to modify food orders. Lavu’s online food ordering system allows customers to modify their order so it’s perfect. 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 and 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 on your website.
It’s Another Stream of Revenue
Since nearly half of all US consumers are opting for restaurants with online ordering capabilities, you’ll find that integrating the new platform will increase your sales.
Fewer people are ordering food ahead of time to eat in the restaurant, 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. (The sales reports are run in the same restaurant point-of-sale system and can easily be reviewed.)
Sales are so strong with online ordering that major restaurant chains have already integrated systems, like TGI Fridays, which has had incredible success with its online menu. Since they made it possible for consumers to order food online, TGI Fridays reported a 30% increase in sales. The development has encouraged the casual-dining chain to invest more in new restaurant technology.
“We are investing heavily in digital technology because, as an iconic brand, Fridays must evolve along with the lifestyle of our guests,” said Caroline Masullo, TGI Fridays vice president of digital and e-commerce.