In 2020, through the COVID-19 virus pandemic, we had to respond to emerging difficulties and adapt to new operating conditions. Many industries suffered serviceability issues. For several months, customers were not able to go to restaurants - the only option for restaurants was to order a take-out meal and eat at home.
Sorry, the specialists were right - we lived to see the second wave of coronavirus. This is associated with renewed strict restrictions, also on the operation of stationary restaurants. The most important thing is, of course, our safety and health, but you have to adapt to the new realities and do your job in such a way that you continue to make a profit. Are online food ordering systems in the restaurant industry the remedy for restaurant problems during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Why do restaurant customers value online ordering systems?
During the long weeks when we couldn't go to a restaurant we would order food for home delivery or self-pick-up. Most of the time we searched for the restaurant's website on the Internet, looked at the menu, called the restaurant and the line was still busy. When we got through, it turned out that we had to wait 2 hours for delivery. We were told that the delivery man did not have a payment terminal, so we had to jump to an ATM to get cash. Delivered food was often inconsistent with the order. Probably each of us encountered a similar situation. It was caused by the fact that in the restaurant there were fewer employees, the phones were constantly ringing, the orders had to be written on pieces of paper and passed to the kitchen. Unfortunately, this gives the opportunity to make many mistakes.
The above described situations also occur in the normal operation of the restaurant. A method of eliminating the imperfect phone system with orders and the card system is online ordering. The online ordering system allows the customer to:
- visiting the restaurant's website, where he gets access to the full menu - prices, photos of dishes, ingredients,
- adding selected dishes to the basket together with the additives,
- informing the recipient about the menu.
- information of the recipient on important issues, for example an allergy to an ingredient,
- select delivery option (own collection or paid home delivery),
- select payment method
- choose payment method (cash, card payment or online payment),
The ordering process is thus easy, convenient and efficient. It should also be added that online ordering systems are a modern way of ordering food. A thriving restaurant wanting to stay on the market should meet customer expectations and also invest in independent online marketing.
What are the primary advantages of an online ordering system for restaurants?
- Save time - employees don't waste time answering phones and writing down information on pieces of paper. Additionally, talking to an indecisive or changing customer can take a lot of time.
- Saves time - employees don't waste time answering phones and writing down information.
- Increased convenience of order processing - new order reports come online along with all the details, so the risk of making a mistake or missing an important detail said over the phone is minimal.
- Presenting a wider range of offerings is an opportunity for greater profits - if a customer has a restaurant number saved and calls to order a brocolli pizza then the order will end there. But if he enters the online ordering system and sees a picture of an appetizing salad, crispy fries or a refreshing drink, maybe he will order more than just pizza?
- Independent restaurant marketing - Online ordering system will allow for better branding, more favorable search engine positioning and expanded marketing.
- Build your own customer base - Acquire a customer base to which you can send marketing content to encourage people to return to your restaurant.
- Order information database - the manager will have access to information about how many orders were placed on a given day or month, how many visits there were to the website, what customers are most likely to order.
What options does a restaurant have when choosing an online ordering system?
Depending on the type of restaurant, marketing strategy, and financial capabilities, a restaurant has several options for implementing an online ordering system:
- asking for preparation of an individual website, together with the possibility of implementing an online ordering system - this costs several thousand zlotys in a professional software company.
- investing in the website of the online ordering system - a few hundred to a few thousand zlotys without commission on profits gained,
- cooperating with a professional software company
- cooperation with portals mediating in ordering food - none or a small initial fee, but high monthly commissions on orders (10-30%).
The restaurant marketing specialist should familiarize himself with all three of these types of systems, learn about the offers (functionalities, costs) and also analyze his own financial possibilities. Also important is the length of the restaurant's operation and its position on the market. The manager should answer the following questions before deciding on an online ordering system:
- What functionalities of the system are crucial for the restaurant?
- Whether the restaurant is looking for new customers or wants to streamline ordering for regular customers who frequently return to the restaurant?
- Does the restaurant wish to build its own independent position on the local market or does it want to be 'cantilised' by large portals mediating in handling and obtaining online orders?
- Will the restaurant focus mainly on serving new customers or returning customers who know the restaurant's standards?