Online Ordering System | 5 mins read

How to Start a Restaurant Online Ordering System

how to start a restaurant online ordering system
Chloe Henderson

By Chloe Henderson

An online ordering system can promote a restaurant's scalability by driving their sales, profits, and traffic through digital exposure.

Virtual shopping has gained immense popularity among modern consumers, making online payment processing vital for a business's profitability, and the restaurant industry is no exception.

A food and beverage business can reach out to new customers and gain visibility in the industry by utilizing an online ordering system that accepts and completes credit card payments.

In addition to convenience, restaurant online ordering also allows the buyer to save time by avoiding the line. Therefore, restaurants that implement an online ordering website can maximize customer satisfaction and revenue.

Restaurant Online Ordering Systems

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A study conducted by the Nation's Restaurant News shows that online ordering and delivery have grown 300% faster than dining-in since 2014. For the customer, ordering food online is a quick and easy alternative to dining-in. And for businesses, this process can be just as simple by utilizing the proper software.

A restaurant that already has a point-of-sale (POS) solution that includes online ordering just needs to activate the feature. Although some systems require an additional monthly and setup fee to integrate an ordering platform with the established software. Once the processes are integrated, all online food orders are sent to the kitchen staff through the POS system. The alert will show the time of the request, along with the delivery instructions, depending on if the order was placed in-house or through a third-party app.

If the POS software does not offer an ordering system, management should check with the provider about its integration capabilities. In most cases, an app or software can be downloaded into the system and will be available immediately.

Restaurants that do not utilize software and want to implement online food ordering need to verify that their websites can handle high volumes of traffic. Businesses should have a robust e-commerce site that can integrate with POS software in case of high volumes of customers.

Pros and Cons of Online Ordering Methods

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There are several options for restaurants wanting to expand their food ordering options. Depending on the company's wants and needs, they can manage digital order placement via-

POS Add-ons

These features are prebuilt into the software but typically cost more per month to activate. Add-ons have several advantages, including-

  • Seamless Integration - As the add-ons are already part of the system, there is no wait time or technical issues when implemented. This allows management to immediately promote their online menu and ordering without fear of malfunctions.
  • Affordability - While these POS features require an additional expense, the fees are fixed. Therefore, restaurants do not have to worry about cost fluctuation.
  • Customer Data Storage - By using the same centralized software, management can see whether their consumers prefer dining in or ordering virtually.
Some disadvantages include-

  • Availability - Few POS systems do not offer add-ons, requiring businesses to look elsewhere for an ordering platform.
  • Customer Reach - In order for a customer to submit a request, they will have to be already familiar with the brand and manually go to the website. This requires the marketing team to reach out to potential customers and direct them to their online menu.

Third-Party Systems

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These applications are designed to enhance the efficiency of a restaurant online ordering system. They can be easily downloaded from an app store or integrated with a website. Third-party ordering platforms benefit establishments because they-

  • Optimize Restaurant Order Efficiency - These applications are specifically created to help online orders. Therefore, they offer all of the necessary features to streamline the ordering process.
  • Help Restaurants Build Their Websites - Third-party systems make a business's website look polished and ensures the ordering procedure is user-friendly.
However, these solutions do have some disadvantages, such as-

  • High Cost - These solutions typically come at a high monthly or yearly expense that exceeds the cost of a general software add-on.
  • Incompatibility - There is a chance that the platform the third-party uses does not integrate with the restaurant's website or software.

Delivery Apps

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Most commonly used through mobile apps, these solutions rely on external workers to pick up and deliver customer orders. Some of their advantages include-

  • No Limit - There are several apps on the market, and restaurants can use as many as they would like in addition to their established POS software. The more applications are utilized, the more exposure a brand receives.
  • Customer Reach - These services are extremely popular and can help a restaurant reach customers who otherwise would not have been aware of them.
Again, these systems are not all-in-one solutions and have a few disadvantages, such as-

  • High Cost - As they have gained more users, delivery apps have increased their restaurant fees, some as high as 30% per order. These expenses can sometimes wholly eliminate the restaurant's profit margin, requiring them to take a loss or increase their prices.
  • Counteracts Loyalty - Studies show that 43% of restaurant owners believe these apps disrupt their relationship with customers. While they may increase order volume, management cannot track the customer's information, making the transaction impersonal.

Benefits of Using an Online Ordering System

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Implementing an online ordering website ensures a restaurant is extending its services to all potential customers. A report by PMQ Pizza Magazine disclosed that consumers who place a digital order visit the restaurant 67% more than those who do not use online solutions. Restaurant ordering systems have many other benefits, such as-

  • Immediate Drive in Sales - Studies show that restaurants that use online ordering see a 32% increase in sales.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience and Satisfaction - Efficient systems decrease customer wait time by placing and fulfilling their order promptly.
  • Increased Ordering Accuracy - Systems integrated with POS software gives insights on orders, payment methods, menu item sales, and demand.
  • Kitchen Operational Efficiency - Integrated systems also track inventory levels with real-time quantities, allowing kitchen staff to place re-orders when stock is depleted.
  • Access to Data - Cloud-based software allows management to access all data from anywhere, ensuring operations are running smoothly at all times.
  • Savings on Order Fees - While third-party fees can quickly add up, POS services provide excellent customer service while saving the restaurant time and capital.

Regardless of restaurant type, using online ordering can maximize customer reach and increase traffic. Ordering can be optimized with POS systems, which allows management to have access to all customer insights.