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While digital transformation in the hospitality industry is nothing new, with the recent COVID-19 outbreak many of today’s businesses are finding themselves in search of a way to implement online ordering for pickup – quickly and affordably.
In today’s blog post, we will explore some key considerations for merchants looking for online ordering and pickup solutions, as well as the best ways to get the word out once you are open for (digital) business.
Can I Still Keep the Point of Sale I Already Paid For?
Most businesses have already invested in a point of sale (POS) system – which includes both software and hardware expenses – and they may not have the means or motivation to switch systems. But there is good news: they may not have to!
Some POS systems offer or have recently added extensions to their software that include online ordering for pickup. Like any business decision, there are some benefits and considerations to these extensions:
- Some POS systems offer online ordering for pickup services for no additional fee.
- If a fee applies, some POS providers are waiving these fees for a few months as an incentive for businesses during this challenging time.
- Some providers may charge extra fees for these online ordering for pickup services.
- In many cases, even with a waived fee, the fee may return in the future.
To decide the best option for your business, contact your current POS company to learn more about the options they are providing and determine if one of those is right for you.
Should I Add a Second System Only for Online Ordering?
If you are looking to implement online ordering for pickup, a second way to do so is to find a new, independent platform that you can use to separately take online orders. A second, temporary solution may be adequate for now, since being open for business is likely your main objective. Here are some benefits and considerations to keep in mind if you choose this strategy:
- Benefit: Choosing a second system for online ordering will give you the ability to be open for digital business quickly and effectively.
- Consideration: This option may not be tied directly into to your current POS, meaning limited opportunity for streamlined deposits, sales reporting, and inventory tracking.
Should I Choose Independent Delivery Services?
Independent delivery services are vastly popular, and there are several services available to choose from, if you wish. A major benefit of choosing an independent delivery service is that because of such a large user base, they encourage more (and new) customers to place orders with your restaurant. While some restaurants may thrive from these services, there are also some considerations to keep in mind.
- Your customers will enjoy “to-your-door” delivery.
- Your restaurant will receive increased visibility on associated online business listings.
- You will also receive access to a pool of common customers for crossover visibility.
- Restaurants often do not retain customer data, the marketplaces do.
- Independent delivery services may include an extra fee to the customer and/or restaurant.
Online? Get the Word Out!
Once you have your online ordering for pickup system in place, it’s critical to make sure that the public knows you are available for this convenient method of business. Here are some tips to spread the news:
- Add a link to your online menu on your website and consider putting the link prominently at the top of your website’s homepage.
- Update your phone’s greeting message to provide online ordering (this will save you lots of time).
- Regularly post your business hours and a link to your online menu to your social media accounts.
- Find local websites that are promoting restaurants and retail stores that are open for business and be sure you are listed on them.
- Place your online ordering link on your Google Profile listing.
Be Smart, Keep It Simple, and Get It Done
Simplicity is key. In many cases, it may be better to start with a pared-down menu and add more offerings over time. Getting up and running quickly with a simple menu is better than spending a lot of time creating a full online menu; by opening for business in a timely manner, you will reduce the risk of missing out on sales and visibility during this critical time.
Consider Your Options
Now that you have learned about your options for getting your restaurant online and ready for pickup orders, now it’s time to consider how to get started.
When choosing an online ordering for pickup service provider, here are some key features to look out for that can take your solution above and beyond:
- A business model that requires no startup expenses and is permanently free of fees
- Contactless QR code ordering, with no need to touch menus or credit cards
- Customer contact collection for easy re-marketing
- Minimal hardware required (for example, a simple iPad and receipt printer setup)
- The ability to send order confirmation and pickup notification text messages to customers
- Easy, one-click reordering for customers, with no login needed
- A full POS solution provider, offering KDS, receipt and kitchen printers, and cash drawers
Addmi’s point of sale system can provide all of the above – and more! With its free online ordering services and simple, easy, and fast solution, Addmi helps restaurants start selling in minutes.
Star and Online Ordering
Star is proud to partner with the industry’s leading online ordering and restaurant POS solution providers. From kitchen printers to cash drawers, our front-of-house and back-of-house offerings include:
- POS solutions
- Online ordering
- Tableside payments
- Reservation management
- Back of house technologies
- Cash management
- And more!
Free Resources During COVID-19
Now more than ever, safety is a priority in retail and hospitality environments. Star Micronics is proud to offer a line of solutions and resources for businesses during this challenging time, designed to keep consumers and employees safe, as well as mitigate business impact caused by COVID-19.
At Star Micronics, our hearts go out to anyone impacted by COVID-19, either directly or indirectly, especially to those who are sick, to whom we extend our heartfelt wishes for a full recovery. To learn more about what we are doing as an organization to reduce the global impact of COVID-19, in terms of health and business, please click here.
To browse all of our blog posts covering tips for small businesses during COVID-19, please visit our #StarForSmallBiz blog collection.
Is Your Restaurant Ready for the Growing Online Ordering Trend?
Ben Harrison currently works at Addmi Inc, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was previously with Lavu POS from 2010-2015. Ben works directly with potential customers to help discover and solve their specific problems related mainly to the restaurant industries. With their QR code-based ordering system, plus their free point of sale software model, Addmi is helping businesses to stay open and plan for their futures taking orders.