Online food ordering is so common nowadays, that it is difficult to imagine the world when it didn’t exist. Everyone in this world knows, realize and recognize the importance of high-quality products and service. But it has been quite some time now that the technology has made its presence felt to even those businesses that require a lot of touch points with the customers. In today’s technology-driven world, it matters a lot – how technically sound your business processes are. Be it for automation of your operations or sales and customer-interaction, it is not just a matter of the ROI.
Technology is now becoming important for businesses to stay afloat. Food business was one which used to be less technology driven. With customer walking in, it was important that the food was fresh and tasty. With the advent of websites and technology, online ordering has seen a lot of growth. Restauranters do not want to be left out whether it is about giving customers the options of dine-in or delivery.
It is obvious that restaurants would no longer want static pages that are a mere extension of their printed menus and discount flyers. Starbucks has seen great success with its online food and beverage ordering mobile app seeing 19 million app users by the end of ’16.
Below is a list of a few features that are required for a restaurant website that are looking forward to incorporate online food ordering in their business.
Opening and closing hours – for online orders
Opening and closing hours apply to every brick and mortar business. Strangely albeit obviously, the online stores are agnostic to the hours of the day. The USP of eCommerce was the comfort that it offered its customers. While the businesses still operated in their regular hours, the storefronts were available across geographies, time-zones and hours of the day (and night).
Restaurants would want to have their online servicing tied to their operations. It is important that an online food ordering website has the ability to change and define the opening and closing, that is, online ordering hours.
Pickup is as important as delivery in online food ordering
Even if a restaurant displays its opening and closing hours and restricts orders from being placed in certain hours, it is important that they provide the flexibility to a customer to choose delivery or pickup.
Even if the customers may expect the fulfillment to be done at their appropriate timings, they would expect to be given an ability to place advance orders which are fulfilled later. Starbucks mobile app, which has one of the biggest usage volumes in the US for proximity-based m-payment apps launched their order-ahead feature in 2016. Just a year later, they saw around “8 million mobile order-ahead transactions per month“. The usage has constantly been on the growth path and saw “12% of company-operated transactions in the U.S. in Q2 2018“.
Order Pickup facility comes with a dual-advantage – it helps the business cut its delivery costs and helps the customer by not adjusting their (travel) plans while waiting for the delivery to happen.
Multiple locations support
It is not unusual for a restaurant to have multiple locations even if they are a small company. Either in the franchisee model or a partnership model, it makes a lot of business sense for owners to invest in brand-building from scratch. A lot of people understand this and open their businesses at more than one locations. While this is done to avoid incurring heavy investments in branding exercises, it is therefore not necessary to divert all the savings into technology.
Multiple locations support in an online food ordering system could mean to be sending order notifications to the respective location managers while giving the owners an ability to see business with a consolidated view. Automatic Printing of an order at the respective location is another feature of an online food ordering system that facilitates quick turnarounds.
There are other features that could be beneficial for a restaurant’s website such as availability of certain dishes or combos on certain days or offering last minute deals and discount coupons to the customers.
Either you are a seasoned restaurant-er or one trying to carve out a niche, it is important that you have a strategy in place that recognizes the value that technology can bring to your business in short, medium and long term.