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10 Best Practices to Streamline Online Food Ordering Experience

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Restaurant owners and managers nowadays are faced with an increased pressure to impress customers with better online food ordering apps, and generally better food ordering experiences.

Tacit conducted a study that found that online food ordering has increased from 12% to 20% in the past decade. However, the biggest leaps in these trends were noticed only a couple of years ago.

Of course, besides these massive shifts in consumer preferences, the way consumers prefer to order their food is also slowly changing - which is bad news for most restaurants.

Currently, most restaurants seem to have trouble handling delivery and the increase in order volumes due to difficulties in managing flexible workflows and non-integrated restaurant solutions.

Most of these challenges are because these restaurants employ the wrong processes, technologies and partners. The inevitable result of all of the above is less than satisfactory online food ordering experiences for customers.

If you would like to learn about how to create positive customer experiences for customers on your online ordering system or online ordering platform, you’re in the right place. We’re about to introduce you to some best practices that will help you cater to the shifts in consumer behavior:

1. Integrate Online Channels With POS Systems

Every ordering channel needs to be integrated with the restaurant’s POS system, to make sure they do not overlook any particular order. Even though such a possibility may seem far fetched, this is a common occurrence among those restaurants that resort to third-party deliveries.

Third-party delivery services may be able to generate a lot of data, but the best way to gain a 360-degree view of your customers’ preferences is to analyze the data with respect to sales.

Instead of doing all of this manually, independent restaurants should look into integrating their delivery services with their POS system so that analysis and application of vital data are done automatically.

2. Use Customer-Centric Online Food Ordering Apps

“Marketers need to build digital relationships and reputation before closing a sale.” –Chris Brogan, Chief Executive Officer of Owner Media Group

The perception of convenience has also shifted in the restaurant industry. Nowadays, waiting in line at a drive-thru or driving up to a location to pick orders is considered too much effort on the customers’ part.

Based on the same research conducted by Tacit, it was found that restaurant consumers value convenience over everything nowadays. Due to their busy schedules and the risks of the ongoing pandemic, they are more inclined to have their favorite foods delivered right to their doorstep without any hurdles.

3. Don’t Forget Traditional Ordering Methods

“Stop selling. Start helping.” –Zig Ziglar, Author and Motivational Speaker

Let's get it straight once and for all: you will never run out of customers that prefer to make orders via the phone. Keeping this in mind, unmanaged phone lines are as good as not offering customers delivery at all.

Here's a cutting edge solution to your problem. How about you add cloud-based phone rerouting systems in your business to make sure each and every phone call from customers are addressed.

4. Renovate Your Restaurant to Streamline Delivery Pickup

A recurring problem in the demand for online delivery systems nowadays is the bottleneck in the store and kitchen at the brick and mortar restaurant. A restaurant’s traditional facilities are rarely equipped to manage the congestion of orders and the delivery drivers lining up to pickup orders.

For this reason, we recommend that restaurants install entry and exit points for drivers that would reduce the congestion. Other than this, restaurant processes and shelves need to be redesigned to eliminate any waiting time for delivery drivers.

Driver delays are the most common perpetrators of dissatisfied customers. The same can be said for the platforms that are used to managing online orders.

Restaurants need to look into omnichannel online food ordering systems which unify various channels including third-party delivery, aggregators or your own restaurant website or app. This unified approach will not only help to further streamline business processes but will also allow your restaurant to cater to a further increase in order volumes.

Put simply, you should try making adjustments in your restaurants’ infrastructure based on the data collected from your online ordering system, online ordering platform,  and POS system.

5. Establish All-Inclusive Ordering Options

An all-inclusive customer experience means that your target audience has the ability to order food via your website, online ordering system, online ordering platform, virtual phone lines, and even third-party services.

Other than this, your online menu should also offer customers the ability to customize their orders. Needless to say, this particular feature of your restaurant should remain consistent across all ordering channels.

6. Don’t Forget Food Safety for Deliveries

Did you know that keeping the temperature of food at constant levels can reduce its risk of baring foodborne illnesses? This is a particularly important consideration for restaurants that offer online ordering systems.

It's quite apparent that cold food is less than appealing for customers and they are bound to have a unique definition of what temperature they consider hot. For this reason, restaurants should try to make sure that their food is delivered at the proper temperature and delivery personnel are equipped with insulated carriers and bags.

7. Track the Performance of Delivery Personnel

Tracking the performance of drivers and their delivery times allows restaurants to keep their delivery personnel in shape or to manage their contract with a third-party delivery service. While this accountability may be invaluable for restaurant owners, it also benefits customers since they expect deliveries of their favorite foods within a reasonable timeframe.

8. Streamline Communication Between Delivery Personnel and Customers

Clear and consistent lines of communication are key to getting every online order right. Even though your online food ordering system may be programmed to automatically route orders to the kitchen, it is still your responsibility to check the accuracy of each order. The inevitable result of doing so is increased accuracy and swift deliveries as soon as they are prepared.

This effectiveness in communication needs to be established between customers and the kitchen. For instance, restaurants should be able to cater to tiny variations in the list of ingredients or the individual caloric counts of menu items.

9. Maintain the Brand Voice and Image Across All Ordering Channels

Maintaining the integrity of brand image and voice while establishing online food ordering apps is as good of a strategy as any other. Restaurant Drive published that many restaurants now don’t have a brick and mortar dining experience. These restaurants only offer their customers a chance to order digitally.

If you think about it , these businesses have advantages over their competitors, including the fact that the majority (if not all) of their resources are devoted to preparing food deliveries with virtually no cost of real estate.

Here’s the interesting part: since so many virtual kitchens exist in this day and age, the only visible difference they can create in the mind of the customers is their brand voice and image via the online ordering platform.

Therefore, restaurants that offer both services to delivery and in-store customers should make sure that their brand image remains consistent across all channels, including third-party apps.

10. Don’t Force Customers to Order Food Online

This is another very important part of the puzzle. It may be easier to only offer online deliveries but this will also increase the risk of your restaurant dramatically. We mentioned earlier that customers prefer convenience and not all of them like ordering through online ordering apps.

Before you can transition interested customers to your online ordering system, we recommend that you broaden your sales potential by adding at least one other platform that takes orders. For the best results, we recommend partnering with third-party restaurant delivery apps.

MenuCRM Can Take Your Restaurant Promotions to a Whole New Level

“Take a risk and keep testing, because what works today won’t work tomorrow, but what worked yesterday may work again.” – Amrita Sahasrabudhe, Vice President Marketing at FastMed

Online food ordering systems grant independent restaurants the much needed competitive advantage to boost conversions and repeat customers. MenuCRM offers a full-features web application that simplifies customer loyalty programs for small business and independent restaurant owners.

MenuCRM can be your restaurant’s website, online ordering system, online ordering platform, CRM, restaurant loyalty app, and customer communications toll—all packed into one. By adopting MenuCRM, you will not only be able to increase your foot traffic and orders in less than 45 days but also streamline meal purchase processes without a need for internal restaurant maintenance.

Has this post got you interested in trying out an online ordering system? Partner with MenuCRM and relish the opportunity to boost your restaurant’s success among the highly volatile customers of today.

Posted 5/17/2021 1:56:35 PM