Embrace online ordering in your restaurant

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Customers have long been attracted to models that allow them to order food and pick it up or have it delivered. Whether picking it up on the way home from work or having it brought from their favorite establishment, ordering food is a convenient option for many families who don't have time to cook dinner but still want to eat at home. This model has expanded to encompass a wide array of restaurant types, including pizza, fast food, sandwiches, casual dining and many others. 

Recognizing this trend, many restaurants have worked at a corporate and individual store level to make adjustments to improve customer convenience through changes like dedicated parking spots near the door for quick pick-ups. One of the most recent changes to this model involves online ordering. Especially popular on mobile devices, online ordering allows customers to look at the menu, coupons and other options they may not know about before ordering. They're able to securely enter their payment method and place an order without ever having to wait on the phone. 

Businesses benefit from online ordering too 
Online ordering isn't just a great option for customers who want an easy way to get their food. It also carries a number of benefits for companies. Hospitality Technology magazine explained that online ordering has helped certain restaurants cut down on errors. The magazine pointed to a Canadian pizzeria that reduced the number of errors it made because customers were selecting their food directly through the online ordering system. This eliminated any chance of miscommunication between the employees and customers. 

Online ordering also gives restaurants the opportunity to build reward programs and communicate with customers in a way that wouldn't be permissible through the phone. The magazine pointed to an email one restaurant sent out during a rainstorm reminding customers of the ease of online delivery. It helped increase sales as a soft reminder. Online ordering systems also help your employees work on more important tasks. Rather than getting backed up on orders because all of your cooks and delivery personnel are fielding phone calls, online ordering systems allow orders to come in directly and get processed quickly, which is a win-win for the business and hungry consumers. 

Successfully manage the difficulties of an online ordering system 
Although online ordering systems carry a variety of potential benefits to your business and your customers, they can cause a lot of headaches when they're first installed. The restaurant experts at Fast Casual explained that with a few managerial changes, you can have your business running smoothly with online ordering systems. 

The first consideration that can help you make your online system work for you is to adjust your schedule. Just as you make schedule changes around lunch rushes, nearby concerts and other factors that can inflate business, you should have these factors built into your ability to field online orders. Fast Casual recommended that restaurant managers work with the corporate office and software experts to make the system send through orders with the perfect amount of time for preparation and cooking. 

"When setting up online ordering menus, restaurant chains should consider building in default values for how many 'make-time minutes' each product requires," Fast Causal explained. "Store managers then can make modifications that reflect the on-the-ground realities at their stores. This way, orders fire to the POS just in time, and the kitchen has the perfect amount of time to prepare the order for the customer's arrival."

It's also a good idea to adjust staffing and supplies based on analytics that the software can provide. An online system may add new peak hours to your kitchen that may need to be accounted for. Although this may make scheduling more complex, having more business isn't a bad problem to have.  

Brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear to food service employees for more than 30 years.

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