Nowadays, in-house food ordering is a crucial element in restaurants, and it is difficult to deny the advantages of having an in-house ordering system.
Even before the pandemic, guests had a growing preference for online ordering. So much so that the National Restaurant Association found that 60% of all food service and restaurant sales were through delivery, drive-through, or take-out since 2019.
An Opportunity for Restaurants
In 2020, since most states had forced restaurants to shift to off-premise dining, the revenue share of dine-in had decreased by 68% all over the country.
Now that we’ve come so far off since the beginning of the pandemic, many restaurants can be seen wholeheartedly embracing online ordering. What’s more, experts believe that they are here to stay, even if on-premise dining returns to normal levels.
Over the course of the previous year, even when restaurants were faced with these hurdles, owners and their staff had adapted. They easily pivoted towards the curbside pick-up and delivery model and even made their menus and promotions more flexible.
After this challenging year, restaurants are now seeing some signs of relief. President Biden had recently accepted the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill (named the American Rescue Plan of 2021 or the ARPA) in 2021. This bill also has a provision for a $28.6 billion fund that was intended to help small- to mid-sized restaurants and food and beverage companies.
For independent restaurants, this was the silver lining at the end of a long and dark tunnel. Restaurants can now be seen opting for in-house ordering systems for various advantages as compared to their traditional third-party systems or delivery apps.
These advantages include the chance to gather insights on target customers or to customize their interface for customizable user experiences. More importantly, however, they can now secure all the proceeds from delivery meals without promising 15% to 30% commissions for third parties.
The Benefits of In-House Food Ordering Systems
There’s no doubt about the fact that people are going to keep preferring online ordering for restaurants. This is why we have rounded 7 benefits of shifting to them from third-party apps, especially if they integrate it with their POS.
1. Online Ordering Systems Increase Revenue
This is why most guests love ordering through apps or websites. For instance, without facing the pressure of wrapping up their order quickly, customers will be more inclined to take their time to explore all the options on the menu. They may perhaps even spend more money than they normally would in-person or over the phone.
Nowadays, most guests even have the ability to linger over your menu for a couple of minutes or even a couple of hours beforehand to plan an order. Since there is no line between your customers and the POS, guests wouldn’t have to worry about the pressure of speeding up their order and may be inclined to even buy an additional menu item.
2. More Opportunity For Extending Hospitality
Restaurateurs may feel like their online ordering systems deprive restaurants of person-to-person communication, but you can just as easily add personal thank you messages and customize receipts.
Especially during modern times, such little touches could really show your customers that you appreciate doing business with them. In doing so, you can show them that you care about having them back in your dining room when things get back to normal again.
3. Orders Are Placed More Accurately
Misunderstandings are a common occurrence in restaurants, be it in orders taken in-person or over the phone. These honest mistakes lead to food being wasted and, more importantly, customers getting so frustrated that they never come back.
Among the many benefits of online ordering systems is that customers have much more control. By delegating this control, they will have more clarity and understanding of their actions. Since the entire order is right in front of them, there is virtually no way mistakes can be made.
For guests that may have dietary restrictions or allergies, this particular benefit is rather important. You see, most online ordering systems have checkboxes for allergies and kitchen staff, therefore, easily adjust their ingredients according to their customers’ selections.
Not only will this result in a great experience for customers, but it will also have a positive impact on the operations of the restaurant. They will make fewer mistakes, so there will also be fewer replacement items to cover for all the misunderstandings. Naturally, this will save your restaurant from a lot of stress and wasted resources.
4. In-House Ordering Systems Are More Customizable
With your own dedicated in-house food ordering system, you can lay down real-time and instant changes to your restaurant design or menu. In other words, you will have a lot more control over how your brand is perceived. Whenever your customers place an order, they will expect to do so from your website instead of a third-party application.
You can also try and publish some high-quality photos of your menu items or anything else that will make your brand seem more appealing. You could just as easily adjust the offerings in your menu and the waiting times for accurate prices and expectations.
Here’s something you should keep in mind: your customers don’t buy menu items solely because of their perceived taste but how they seem in the picture.
Another huge benefit of in-house food ordering is that you have the ability to remove menu items whenever you like. If you ever run out of a particular ingredient, you could just as easily remove these items from your menu and avoid disappointing your customers.
5. In-House Ordering Systems Let You Keep Profits
Unlike third-party ordering apps like Grubhub and UberEats, hosting your own online ordering app for restaurants by integrating them with your restaurant’s POS helps you keep a close eye on all the transactions. There will be no more losing out on large percentages of profits to middlemen. Instead of paying a flat fee to third parties, you can plan and vary your expenses based on current needs.
6. They Can Be Run In Tandem With Third-Party Apps
Opting for an external source of online ordering may have some clear benefits. In some cities with saturated markets, these third-party apps can really expose your restaurant to new customers. However, this also unfortunately means that you will have to continue to pay the cost of customer acquisition for each order they place through their website, even if it is not a first-time order.
To encourage customers to find your restaurant through these aggregators and then order from your business website next time around, you can try adding promotions to print receipts or perhaps give a 10% discount on menu items. This can save you and your customers some money for future orders.
In-house food ordering systems are a win-win scenario, and the only reason you should use third-party apps is if you are just starting to get your name out to your customers.
7. You Can Gather Crucial Data
In an industry where knowing your customers gives you a huge advantage, in-house ordering systems are a splendid way of gathering insights. You see, unlike third-party vendors, these systems allow you to store customer information and have a closer look at order patterns.
Without access to such data, you cannot tell which customers are regular, what they order the most, and when they prefer to order the most. Collecting this data allows restaurateurs to create a more customized experience for guests online and market to specific customers more effectively.
In-house food ordering systems are here to stay and there’s no doubt about it. Nowadays, these online ordering systems and online ordering apps for restaurants are perhaps the safest means of offering a quality food and hospitality experience and getting the most out of every order.
Make sure that this system is set up as soon as possible to turn your first-time customers into regulars, especially once the pandemic is over.
A Holistic Restaurant Web Application That Benefits Both Customers and Restaurateurs
“Customer experience isn’t an expense. Managing customer experience bolsters your brand.” – Stan Phelps
Customer loyalty makes a huge difference and loyal customers are bound to spread positive words about your brand. MenuCRM offers a full-features web application that simplifies customer loyalty programs for small businesses and independent restaurant owners.
MenuCRM can be your restaurant’s website, online ordering system, 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 the need for internal restaurant maintenance.