Living in a digital world, people have become accustomed to the convenience of getting whatever they want or need with just a few clicks of a button. Customers now expect their favorite restaurant to offer online ordering.
Has your business implemented an online ordering system? If not, then it’s time to learn about the benefits of online ordering.
Benefits of online ordering for restaurants
- An improved customer experience
- Streamlined restaurant operations
- Increased transaction amounts
- Easier process for placing large orders
- More accurate orders
- Fewer abandoned orders
- The ability to collect customer data
- Mobile ordering for busy customers
- Catering request approval capabilities
- Expanded reach
What is online ordering for restaurants?
Online ordering is a process that allows customers to digitally submit orders to restaurants, usually for pickup. Customers can typically order through a restaurant’s website or through a third-party food delivery service like DoorDash, Grubhub, or Uber Eats.
It’s important to note that some third-party services charge usage fees, both to customers and business owners. If you’re a business owner looking to use something such as Toast or ChowNow for online orders, you might have to consider adjusting your prices to account for these types of fees.
Why is online ordering important for restaurants?
Giving your customers multiple options is always a good idea. With today’s digital landscape, customers expect restaurants to offer online ordering because it’s incredibly convenient — and it’s a sign your business is keeping up with trends.
Online ordering can also help you prepare orders more quickly and accurately, because customers can easily make their own selections rather than communicating them to someone over the phone.
What are the benefits of online ordering?
Offering online ordering on your website or app delivers several benefits for restaurants:
1. An improved customer experience
When the ordering process is easy, it increases the likelihood that the customer will complete their order. People want fast, immediate service — which is why the user experience is critical when someone is ready to make a purchase. Customers appreciate not having to sit in their car or in the restaurant to wait for their food.
Cook up your own online ordering system with Jotform! Create custom online forms for your restaurant that collect food orders and payments all at once.
2. Streamlined restaurant operations
Online ordering can streamline your systems in the kitchen. When customers send their orders online, it decreases the amount of time staff members need to spend on the phone. Instead, the team can complete the steps — such as cooking the food, packaging it, and delivering it — necessary to ensure that every meal is ready for your customers on time.
3. Increased transaction amounts
Since customers have more time to browse the menu online, there’s a greater chance they’ll add extra items to their order. An additional appetizer or dessert might seem insignificant, but the numbers can add up over time.
4. An easier process for placing large orders
The likelihood of miscommunication increases when a customer places a large order over the phone. When someone needs a large or complex food order, they’ll go with the easiest option. Often, people want to avoid ordering over the phone because sharing the full order verbally can be tedious. Online ordering is a simple solution for large orders, helping to decrease the possibility of miscommunication and increase customer satisfaction.
5. More accurate orders
If a customer calls your restaurant to place an order, your staff might have a hard time keeping track of special requests, or they might mishear the customer. If you accidentally get an order wrong, you risk an unhappy customer and a bad review.
With an online order, though, your staff can simply read a printed ticket, so your restaurant can ensure accuracy and keep customers coming back for more.
6. Fewer abandoned orders
How often do customers place phone orders and never pick up and pay for the food? When you have an online ordering system, your restaurant benefits from online payments. Customers pay for their food digitally when they submit their order, so you ensure that you receive payment even if they don’t pick up their food.
7. The ability to collect customer data
When you use an online ordering system, you’re also collecting data that you can use to identify trends, such as the most popular dishes. This can help you recommend dishes to new customers and maintain appropriate inventory. Of course, it also helps to use software dedicated to organizing data or building reports.
If you use an online form, customers can also opt in to join a newsletter email list, so you can entice diners to return and inform them of updates and promotions.
8. Mobile ordering for busy customers
Customers on the go are looking for an expedited experience. Take the customer who needs to pick up breakfast or lunch quickly during the workday. They’ll be more likely to order from a restaurant that offers online mobile ordering so they can avoid a wait.
That’s why online ordering forms that are compatible with mobile devices are so important. They expand your reach to those short on time.
9. Catering request approval capabilities
Large catering orders are often difficult and time-consuming to prepare, so you’ll usually need to get the order well in advance. Last-minute catering orders are hard for you and your staff to manage.
With an online ordering system, customers can easily submit catering orders in advance, and you can approve or deny them based on your restaurant’s capacity.
All you have to do is set up an approval flow for your order form so you can easily accept or deny a request from your inbox. After that, the workflow will automatically email the customer to inform them of your response.
10. Expanded reach
On top of helping you maintain an efficient kitchen, online ordering can expand your sales beyond dine-in customers and can even generate more consistent sales in the long run. After all, not every customer feels like dining in every time — eating takeout on a couch in front of the TV can be a great way to unwind.
How to integrate online ordering on your website
Having a website is the first step to offering customers a digital experience. Next, you need to integrate digital forms on the site to enable online ordering. If you provide a streamlined ordering system, your customers are more likely to order from you again in the future.
Jotform offers professional-looking online order forms and detailed information on how to use them. You can customize forms to match your branding and include a logo or background image to set the right tone. You can add these forms to your website or include them in other communications with your customers — such as emails or newsletters.
The advantage of using online forms is that you have a user-friendly system to create a personalized experience for your customers. For more information about successful online ordering, read these tips about how to sell food online using JotForm.
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