Is Your Restaurant Ready for the Growing Online Ordering Trend?

blog-online-ordering-ebook

Are you looking for a new way to grow your restaurant business? Consider online ordering. According to QSR Web, digital ordering is growing 300 percent faster than dine-in traffic, and analysts project in a few years, more restaurant sales will come from takeout, delivery, and other forms of off-premises dining, than from customers who dine-in.

Restaurant competition is fierce and profit margins are tight. The majority of independently-owned restaurants that open today will not survive beyond a few years, and according to an Ohio State University study, more than 60 percent will fail in the first year.

A Cornell University study revealed restaurant survival is based on finding ways to differentiate your business from the competition and being agile enough to successfully respond to consumer trends.

Don’t become a statistic. Offering online ordering is a feature your customers are looking for, and it also elevates your digital presence, which can help raise awareness about what makes your restaurant and your brand unique and appealing.

There are three options for adding online ordering services:

  • Sign up with a third-party online order network. There are a variety of options for online ordering networks you can work with depending on your location. Investigate costs – some will charge a percentage of each order and others charge a flat fee for being listed on their websites.
  • Sign up for the online ordering service of your current POS solution (if available). This option provides the added benefit of integrating online sales with your finance report, but functionality of the online ordering application itself may be limited.
  • Integrate your own online ordering system on your own website. You can establish online ordering through your own website or app. This option locks a customer into your brand when they are ready to place orders and can build customer loyalty.

The process of receiving orders from a third-part ordering site and getting them to the kitchen can still be a pain point for some restaurants. Restaurants usually receive orders via email on a tablet in the restaurant – or on several tablets if they work with more than one third-party network. During a shift, one or more employees may be assigned to communicate the orders to the kitchen and enter them into the point of sale (POS) system. The lack of integration between online ordering sites and the POS system means the process still requires labor hours and errors can still occur when orders are transferred.

Consider the gains in efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction for your restaurant if you could download an app that would send your online orders directly to the kitchen printer where your staff could start food prep immediately and ensure orders are ready at the appropriate times. Technology solutions are available to help your restaurant bridge the gap between online orders and the kitchen.

Maximizing online order processing efficiency will enable you to truly benefit from adding this service to your business, allowing you to address this major consumer trend, reach a wider pool of potential customers, and fully develop this revenue stream.

Learn how you can easily integrate online ordering in your restaurant with Star’s TSP650IIcloudPRNT cloud printer.

Download our full eBook here: Star_Online-Ordering_eBook

5 Reasons Why Your Restaurant Needs an Online Ordering System

deathtostock_wired9-crop

We recently posted an article about how our smart phones are replacing other devices in our lives such as cameras, computers, iPods, etc. They are changing the way we do everything, including the way we order food. In an age of being able to text instead of call, restaurants have learned to adopt this strategy of communication with online ordering systems.

Now, you can order your take-out or delivery with just a few simple clicks through online ordering systems and applications such as GrubHub, Seamless, and more. Some larger franchises, like Domino’s, have even created their own online ordering applications. This new way of ordering is growing rapidly among the younger generations. According to QSRweb, 52% of U.S. Internet users would likely use a smartphone or tablet for ordering take-out and delivery if possible, with 74% of millennials expressing interest in doing so. It’s needless to say that if you own or operate a restaurant that offers take-out or delivery, you should consider an online ordering system. Here’s why:

1. Higher Employee Productivity. Think about all the time your employees spend taking orders over the phone and making sure that the order is correct. When taking orders over the phone, there is a higher likelihood of miscommunication, in turn, compelling employees to stay on the phone longer to ensure that they have gotten the correct order before hanging up. By implementing an online ordering service, employees will spend less time taking phone orders and can spend more time actually preparing those orders for pick-up or delivery to the customer. Another great benefit of online ordering is the ability for the customer to pre-place large orders and set a specific pick-up or delivery time. This allows the restaurant employees time to properly prep large orders in advance.

2. Order Accuracy. Going back to the miscommunication that often occurs when taking orders over the phone, online ordering systems allow the customer to select and modify their food order exactly the way they like it. This order will then be sent directly to a restaurant printer with no misunderstanding or miscommunication. Being able to take an order straight from the printer to prep will cut back on order inaccuracy and will save the restaurant from wasting money and bad reviews.

3. Grow your Business. Sometimes people don’t want to be bothered with calling and placing their take-out or delivery order over the phone, and opt for a restaurant that provides an online ordering service or application instead. Convenience is key when it comes to customer service. Providing a seamless and easy-to-use  online ordering system will create a better experience for customers, resulting in an increase in sales.

4. Ability to Build a Database. When your customers order through an online ordering service, this creates an opportunity for you to capture information, such as an email address, and use this information to create a database. This database can then be used to communicate with your customers and encourage them to come back through loyalty programs, email marketing, mailing coupons, and more. When taking orders over the phone, you often times only receive their phone number and delivery address, which usually does not allow you to reengage with the customer after the transaction is complete.

5. Powerful Analytics. Once you’ve built your database of customers, you can then use analytics offered with online ordering services to track the ordering patterns of your customers. This will allow you to offer tailored promotions to customers based on what they frequently order or how frequently they order. You can also use this information to adjust, add, or remove menu items based on what your customers are ordering.

Implementing an online ordering system can bring endless benefits to your restaurant business. You may consider using your own, or partnering with an existing online ordering app. Whichever you choose, Star Micronics is there to help you seamlessly integrate online ordering into your restaurant by providing cloud-based point of sale technology to help that order go straight from the cloud, to your restaurant, and then out the door.

Learn more about Star’s TSP650IIcloudPRNT receipt printer here.