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Tips for implementing an online ordering system

3 min read

Restaurant and Foodservice

Online ordering can relieve strain from a restaurant’s in-house staff and provide customers with a service that they appreciate. SmartBrief reached out to Exit41, a company that helps restaurants set up online menus and asked them what some of the secrets are to syncing an online menu with a restaurant’s day-to-day operations.

What are features of a great online ordering system?

No. 1 is that the food ordering experience is easy for the consumer. The system should extend a restaurant’s brand and full guest experience right into the consumer’s lifestyle.

From the restaurant’s perspective, a great ordering system should contribute to a measurable sales lift. The system should attract new customers to the brand and encourage current customers to return by recognizing and rewarding them. A great site should also drive higher average check sizes through suggestive selling and the ability to place orders for large groups under a single check.

We have had clients tell us that online ordering brought the biggest changes to the atmosphere inside the restaurant. The phones weren’t ringing, employees weren’t stressed, in-store customers got the attention they deserved — yet, loads of orders were appearing like magic!

What changes should restaurants make to ensure online ordering goes smoothly?

Be sure that the online ordering system you choose integrates into the point-of-sale system. Not all POS integrations are created equal so we would advise doing some due diligence on the POS integration approach.

Also, the online ordering system should allow you to configure things like order quote times and delivery zones so you can incorporate it easier into your existing operations.

After a restaurant sets up an online ordering system, how much maintenance does it require? Do restaurant owners need to have technological expertise to fix problems that come up?

Introducing online ordering into a restaurant should make the operation run more smoothly, not stress or burden it. The key here is that the online ordering system should be a mirror image of the POS. With what we call two-way integration, orders are injected directly into the POS in real time; the system is continually pulling menu, pricing and tax information so your customers always see up-to-date info. This way if the apple pie is 86’d from the POS inside the store, the removal just takes place in one database and the online menu is served with correct information instantly.

Why is having an ordering system on Facebook important, even for restaurants that already have a website that customers can order through?

Ordering from Facebook is a natural fit, as studies have shown that social media savvy consumers are more active in the restaurant community. With the addition of our Facebook ordering application, we have seen restaurants across our client base increase their online ordering volume by 7% to 10%.

Photo credit: DaddyBit via iStock