The future of the restaurant industry involves online orders, not call-in orders. For most of a decade, the numbers have spoken and the findings are conclusive.
As recently as 2010, there were 1.39 billion phone-delivery orders placed in the U.S., based on market research by the firm NPD. By 2015, the total had dropped to about 1.02 billion. However, in the same five-year period, online orders more than doubled from 403 million to nearly 904 million.
It's likely that the number of online food delivery orders will surpass & even dwarf telephone orders in the near future. Why? For starters, your customer base is increasingly more and more comfortable with their desktops, laptops, cell phones, and tablets. They expect convenience and value it.
That creates serious room for growth for restaurants that have never offered online ordering or have yet to integrate that software with their POS system. Recent data has shown that restaurants can save an average of 13% commission on every order when they switch from services like GrubHub and Foodler to their own delivery system. For a restaurant with $100,000 annual sales, that's $13,000 a year.
The pizza industry is already catching on. Sam Sebastian, director of local and B2B markets at Google, reports that Domino's, Pizza Hut, and Papa John's have shifted spending from traditional media to banner ads and search engine optimization faster than their fast-food competitors. That decision has resulted in 40% of Domino's domestic sales coming from orders through desktop computers, smartphones, and tablets.
Here are some reasons why your restaurant needs to shift to online ordering software to keep your business growing:
Restaurants need their employees cleaning, cooking, and taking in-house orders rather than spending time on the phone. With online ordering built into your restaurant POS, your employees will be more efficiency. Toast, for example, has a built-in notification system whenever an online order is placed that automatically routes it to the correct recipient.
With online ordering, payment is upfront for the restaurant owner. Payment is collected when guests give their credit card information and press submit. The best online ordering software systems save that information, as well as previous orders, for guests' convenience & for later use by the restaurant in direct marketing campaigns.
By focusing on online ordering, you no longer have incorrect orders created by miscommunication with callers. Whether it's caused by a poor phone connection or a slip of the pen, incorrect orders are costly for restaurant owners. Save yourself the headache of he said/she said miscommunications with an online ordering system. The customer fills in the order and checks its accuracy before submitting, creating a data trail behind it. No one can argue with data.
A top-notch Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) is essential for building relationships with regular customers. These online ordering software systems capture data that can be used in future direct marketing campaigns.
When customers pay with a credit card or provide their email address, phone number, and additional data, the system stores that information in a common place and organizes guests by their most recent visits, food and drink preferences, and even average tip spend.
For the guests' benefit, this data provides a digital paper trail that shows exactly what they ordered.
People like options. By placing your full menu online, including add-ons, a customer can explore all possibilities online before making a decision. When that sale converts, it will go through without a 10-minute phone conversation with one of your primary food-makers to discuss potential options that slow the process. Keeping order takers off the phone and involved with food making will mean faster transactions and more efficiency throughout your restaurant.
In an interview with Fast Company's Co.Lab's, Domino's spokesperson Chris Brandon identified the primary benefit of the company's online ordering platform is that it increases sales for add-ons. That, in turn, boosts corporate profits.
"Customers love it because they can experience more of the menu," Brandon said. "With Domino's before, you only needed to know a phone number and to think of your regular order or pizza order. Now that we have sandwiches, specialty pizzas, chicken, all these additional products and desserts, it increases sales."
That premise applies to other restaurants, too. A 2015 study examined tens of thousands of orders over a multi-year period from a single pizza chain location and found that people spent more and got higher calorie meals when they ordered online compared to when they ordered by phone. Online orders included 14% more special instructions and 3.5% more calories.
Without question, online ordering software increases convenience for restaurant operators and guests. Its presence will only grow as the future of the restaurant industry unfolds.
Even with the sleekest menu, you still need a way to triage online orders as efficiently as possible. There must be systems in place for the food to be prepared, then delivered to a guest's door ASAP. It should be easy to place an order and for the owner to update the menu to reflect daily specials.
You should be able to customize your online ordering workflow and see delivery tracking as well as detailed online ordering reports right in your restaurant POS system.