Updated: May 16
Setting up an online ordering system for your restaurant has many benefits. A digital ordering system provides a structure to the restaurant management process, which can be helpful during busy hours. Also, more people today rely on obtaining food through delivery or takeaway instead of sitting down for a meal at a restaurant. Data shows that in 2019, about 971.5 million people worldwide relied on the Internet to get food. This indicates that online ordering systems are no longer optional but essential for restaurants wanting to stay relevant and ahead in their business.
How does an online food ordering system function?
The online food ordering system works in a fairly simplistic manner. Before implementing a similar system for your restaurant, you need to know the process involved in order placement.
Usually, customers use a mobile application or web browser to access your restaurant’s menu, discounts, and other information. Third-party platforms also allow users to browse the menus of other nearby restaurants. Upon selecting a restaurant and meal, customers confirm their orders online. They will pay for their meals either using a digital method or via cash on delivery. Once orders are confirmed, restaurants receive these orders via their admin panels.
From here, the restaurant takes over the rest of the process. They prepare meals, package orders, and send them out through delivery personnel. The delivery person could be a restaurant staff or a separate delivery service. The order is considered complete once the food is delivered to the customer.
Implement a digital food ordering system
You must follow the steps to implement your online food ordering system.
The first step is to organize and note down the objectives behind starting your online ordering system. As you think about implementing a digital system, consider the following questions: which aspect of your restaurant business requires improvement? Is there a problem that you wish to solve by creating an online ordering system? How will you make your customers aware of the online method?
The next step would be to address the functionality of your system. To define your functionality, list all your restaurant’s requirements. Look at your competitors' platforms and see whether these would benefit you. It would be best to consider your current and future needs so that your investment in the new platform can last longer.
Plan your budget for the online system. Remember that it is best to allow some room in your budget to make changes if you need more functionality in your food ordering system.
Find a list of preferred digital ordering system solution providers. The ideal digital ordering solution should also integrate with a POS system so that you can streamline the order to the fulfillment process.
Make a features comparison and shortlist one to two solution providers. Put yourself as a customer who will be using your ordering app so that you better judge if the software suits you. It would be best to consider how your back-of-house staff receives the order too. If the order information is not showing correctly, it can be difficult for them to complete their task. And finally, the delivery company will help you send the order to your customer.
Request for proof of concept. You are buying a solution that helps you to manage your business, so you will want to make sure it is the right decision. Most solution providers will offer a free trial but you should worry if your request is rejected.
Pay attention to the details
The digital ordering system is very complex, although it looks simple at the front end. And it should be simple for the end-users! You should pay attention to some details when trying or seeing a demo.
Integration with the POS system. Your new order channel should be readily integrated with your POS or you should not proceed to implement it. Non-integrated online order systems mean you need to handle it separately. If it is meant for your primary order channel, it will stress your team out just for manual order entry into your POS system. Leave alone the accounting and security aspects of your business.
Measure the speed and steps to complete an order. Your customers are hungry when they arrive at your restaurant, so they will want to order fast or get their food immediately. Efficient digital ordering systems not just give your patron a good experience but are likely to increase the ticket size.
Online ordering vs. eCommerce. Do not get misled that online ordering is like eCommerce; it is different. We have seen restaurants frantically subscribe to the eCommerce platform during the COVID-19 lockdown, but most of these projects has ceased operation due to workflow constraint and consumer experience.
Pay to order (Pay first) or Order to pay (Pay later). Restaurants that provide table services usually allow the customer to finish their meal before sending the check. On the contrary, fast-food restaurants require customers to order from the counter and collect the food afterward. Digital ordering provides both workflows and will give you more flexibility when you offer multiple dining concepts or change between concepts.
How flexible for it to handle discounts or promotions? Integrated discounts and promotions within your online ordering platform can be highly effective if your restaurant is in an area with other restaurants. Diner loves to save some money while they are indulging in great food.
Built-in or integrated CRM Loyalty function. When your customer uses a digital ordering system to place an order with their phone, inviting them to be your members is an excellent opportunity. Membership gives a sense of belonging and brings closer your customer to your brands. You can immediately offer some rewards to them on each purchase where they can accumulate the points and use them for discounts in their future purchase.
Make sure proper security is put in place. There was a recent case of a POS software vendor from Taiwan who launched premature digital ordering solutions for a restaurant with a security loophole. It is a catastrophic incident in which the restaurant suffers a loss of finances and confidence in online food ordering systems. Security is essential to prevent any malicious attack that will cause your restaurant dearly.
Reporting and dashboard. Please use the collected data and transpose them to reports and dashboards that can help measure your business, find new opportunities, and prevent pitfalls.
The next-generation digital ordering platform
Eats365 and Rewardly Order provides the most advanced digital ordering solution for tomorrow's digital transformation. Eats365 provides a complete suite of F&b ordering solutions from online to physical and is Rewardly designed to extend your brand presence through sophisticated engagement functionality.
More than 300 restaurants have chosen eats365 and Rewardly for their business as they started to experience the limitations and constraints of the traditional POS system, and it is accelerating. Changing the POS system is a stressful process and eats365 has proven to be the most flexible, stable platform for the transition compared to other POS systems. And our professional team is always there to ensure a smooth transition.
We welcome restaurant owners to contact us to discuss your digital transformation plan!