Even before COVID-19, online ordering was popular among diners. Recent stay-at-home orders have led even more customers nationwide to embrace the many benefits of online ordering, including:
While these consumer benefits may be the driving force behind this growing trend, plenty of advantages await those restaurant owners who offer online ordering to their customers. Below are seven of the biggest benefits of online ordering for restaurants.
Traditional in-person ordering involves a lot of back-and-forth as servers walk customers through the various options and specials. It also takes time to record every diner’s choice on paper order slips or smart devices. Then, of course, servers must travel numerous times from the kitchen to the table – checking in, dropping off plates, and refilling drinks.
With online ordering, however, your team is only activated when an order comes into the system. In most cases, there is a single exchange – either when the customer picks up the order at the curb or when you send a team member to make a delivery. Even settling the check is faster since there’s no need to print out checks, run credit cards, or make change for multiple diners.
In addition to saving time, online ordering can also help save you money. You don’t need any wait staff roaming the floor if all incoming orders happen online and all customers receive their food at the curb or at home. By moving more of your operations online, you are able to maintain a leaner workforce while still producing the same amount of output. These savings even apply to fast food and fast casual establishments.
Even the most experienced servers can make mistakes – whether by not noting to hold the pickles, forgetting to bring the extra sauce, or failing to relay allergy information to the kitchen. With online ordering, each customer is in the driver’s seat and has control over the final order. Most online ordering platforms offer a final confirmation page where users can verify their order and any modifications before clicking the “submit” button.
Ordering online can help facilitate the automatic collection of valuable data to help your restaurant grow. As new orders come in, those real-time sales are instantly captured and reported – allowing you to gain deeper insights into your customers and their behavior. Not only can you learn more about your best-selling menu items and busiest days and times, you can also use the online data to enroll customers in loyalty programs to offer rewards, discounts, and special promotions.
Although it is possible to glean this information via traditional ordering, doing so requires an extra effort by customers to provide their information or fill out a separate form. With online ordering, however, all incoming sales are standardized, compiled, and reported – without you having to lift a finger.
Setting up an online ordering system allows you to tap into a much larger market. You have your brick-and-mortar restaurant for people who prefer an in-person dining experience, but you also have a virtual, online presence for the growing number of customers who favor the convenience or comfort of eating in their own homes. The end result? More potential sales. This is particularly true if you actively promote the fact that you now offer online ordering.
As we navigate this pandemic, many customers are understandably worried about the health risks of indoor dining. Online ordering can help ease these concerns. Aside from customers, your team members may also have legitimate concerns – especially if they are interfacing with mask-less customers throughout the day. Online ordering allows you to help reduce transmission risks by decreasing the amount of face-to-face contact among customers and service staff.
Your restaurant might only be able to fit 60 patrons (20 if there are COVID-related restrictions regarding capacity). As more of those diners gravitate toward takeaway or delivery, those capacity limitations disappear. As long as your kitchen can keep up, you can seat as many “virtual” guests as you want.
At Clover, our point-of-sale (POS) and payment solutions allow you to enjoy the advantages of online ordering without making dramatic changes to your existing operations. With our fast set up, transparent pricing, and contactless payment options, you can be up and running in no time. Our solutions even come with a range of additional tools, including:
In addition, our online ordering platform syncs seamlessly with our industry-specific payment processing solutions for both quick-service restaurants and full-service restaurants. This convenience could help you easily manage your entire operations – from employee scheduling to inventory management to tip sharing. Plus, if you would like to expand your payment environment’s functionality, you can do so with any number of third-party business management apps from the Clover App Market.
To learn more about our complete suite of POS and payment processing solutions for restaurant owners, schedule a free consultation with our merchant services team today.