Online Takeout Ordering: 5 Things Your Restaurant Needs to Know

*This Is A Repost Of An Original Article Posted Here

While 70% of all restaurant takeout orders today still come in over the phone, adding an online and mobile menu ordering solution is important as technology adoption rates, especially among the younger generations, rise over time. So before you embark implementing online and mobile ordering technology, here are a few quick tips to consider:

1) Perform Due Diligence on Available Technologies and Limitations

Before you simply sign on with any ordering technology, know what is in store for your restaurant as not all apps and solutions are created equal. Some are built for the independent owner in mind for cost-effectiveness and could come with a variety of limitations. Others are built for chains and integrate with your existing POS and other platforms including marketing solutions like Fishbowl for a more robust infrastructure but require lead time. It’s important to understand all of the options available and what internal challenges your restaurant brings to the table (financial, personnel, etc.) before you make your decision.

2) Think Big and Promote Big

Let’s be honest – if you go into this with a bad attitude or with the wrong mindset you will potentially leave an enormous amount of money on the table. So think big with the technology ordering solution that fits your business model. Think of ways you can leverage your newly implemented solution to promote new business, to reward your most devoted fans, and to augment your visibility within your community. Celebrate your accessibility, enhance your menu and continue to push innovation by enlisting the latest ordering features.

3) Know Your POS

For those that have already invested into a POS system, adding new online and mobile ordering technology NEEDS to integrate with that system for several reasons. First, your POS is already center stage regarding the processing of orders to your kitchen from your dine-in guests so a separate system to handle the order processing and tracking without a complete integration creates a slew of logistical challenges from food and order auditing to kitchen and operational processes. Secondly, by understanding the nuances and limitations of your POS, you expedite the initial implementation of your new online and mobile platforms more quickly and both systems will operate at a more efficient level. Third, the better relationship you have with your POS vendor and with your online ordering solution provider, the greater the support your restaurant will have with new updates and upgrades when available.

4) Devote the Necessary Internal Resources

It’s understandable that your business stretches its human capital for efficiency purposes. But unless you devote your internal IT people to the implementation as well as the ongoing maintenance, you risk having your online and mobile solutions underserving your restaurant and reducing or eliminating its ROI. Takeout via online and mobile ordering is usually highly profitable, so fully invest the time of you and your IT team upfront to make it a worthwhile business apparatus right out of the gate.

5) Measure and Analyze Results

Speaking of ROI, unless you are sensitive to the order and details originated from your online and mobile technology how will you know if the business generated is additive or not? It’s important to measure your results and analyze key metrics to not only arrive at a ROI number, but also understand how your restaurant (and in particular, your takeout operation) pivots based on the data and trends to maximize your revenue streams.

Also, be aware of any qualitative impact that may arise. For example, a slew of new orders all during peak dining hours slamming your kitchen doesn’t necessarily lead to a quality experience, efficient operation or a sustainable business model. Some, but not all, of the technologies available have metering options and other features to manage this more appropriately and not create more headaches than its solving. After all, you want your new online and mobile solutions to provide what your takeout customers want but not at the expense of a lesser experience or additional operational problems. And as you analyze your results and make adjustments, you create a larger stable of happier customers. And when they are happier, your business thrives.

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