Many restaurants have avoided implementing online ordering in an attempt to differentiate themselves from takeaway-style businesses. However over the past year, many hospitality businesses have reassessed their business model. Online ordering services are now seen as the best way for restaurants, cafes and takeaways to generate revenue while lockdown rules are in force. However, many smaller takeaways and cafes are struggling to implement online ordering effectively.
Often, they are left relying on outdated phone bookings or using the systems offered by apps like Deliveroo and JustEat, which charge expensive fees of up to 40%, but deploying online ordering doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. In this guide, we are going to look at the software, financial services and equipment you need to get started taking orders online through your website.
What Is An Online Ordering System?
To start taking orders online, you need two things; a website and an online ordering system. Everyone knows what a website is these days, but what is an online ordering system? Put simply, an online ordering system is a platform that connects your website, payment systems and back office. This allows your customers to place orders on their smartphone or computer directly with your restaurant or takeaway and pay online.
To place an order, the customer simply selects the items they want from your online menu. The system then handles order placement, upsells, payment and even delivery for you. That just leaves you with the bit you do best; cooking delicious food.
While online ordering was developed specifically for the hospitality industry, its benefits can be enjoyed by any type of business that delivers products to customers. Examples include craft businesses, pet food manufacturers and cake decorators.
How Online Ordering Services Can Benefit Your Business
Along with helping to generate revenue during periods of lockdown, online ordering has several other operational benefits that can improve your profitability, with improved customer experience being a key advantage. Customers love the flexibility of being able to order online. They can easily browse your menu and order food at their leisure. And if they have a big order, they can keep track of everything from their smartphone.
Online ordering services also allow for fewer mistakes during the ordering process, helping the flow of your business run much smoother, and also helping to improve profitability. Most independent restaurants and takeaways don’t have an active marketing strategy. An online ordering system allows you to collect email addresses which can then be used to highlight special offers and events to your best customers, allowing for better marketing ideas for small businesses.
Online ordering systems can help you to systemise your operation. They give you a structure to help you formulate workflows for order taking, cooking and delivery. This can help to reduce errors, improve efficiency and eliminate food waste. Most online ordering systems allow you to create upsells for orders. You can also create special offers such as free drinks when you spend £30. Together, these two strategies can significantly increase your average order value.
How Does Online Ordering Work?
A standalone online ordering system allows takeaways and restaurants to create and upload their own menus, take orders online, collect payment and manage delivery from a single console. While this way can be typically more expensive than marketplace systems, they are far more profitable in the long run. The process starts with the customer viewing your menu online. They then select the items they want to start building their order. Upsells can be recommended based on what they order and their total order value.
Once the order is complete, payment is taken through your own merchant account and the order is passed to you for processing. When the order is ready, you can integrate the system with either your own or third-party delivery service.
Transforming Your Business
If you like help to deploy online ordering services in your business, merchant services like Independent Merchant Services offer a range of solutions specifically tailored to the hospitality industry. With EPoS systems and more, you can develop an online ordering and easy to use management system for your entire business!
By helping your customers achieve an easier checkout as well as efficiently managing your customer orders, data and more, the benefits of setting up an online ordering service are outstanding. What’s more, is that these services can also allow you to take payment online through your website, so ultimately you can get everything you need to get started on taking online orders. See how you can transform your business today with an online ordering service!