How to Find the Best Online Ordering System for Your Restaurant
If you haven’t started offering online ordering yet, you’re not alone. If you have online ordering at your restaurant but you’re still trying to figure out how to give your customers a superior experience without breaking the bank—well, you’re not alone there either.
That said, it’s time for you to catch up and find the best online ordering system for your restaurant. 74% of consumers order food from restaurants via websites or mobile apps, and 41% of them say that they’re more likely to choose a restaurant if it offers online ordering. That’s why more than half of all restaurateurs are devoting more resources to customer-facing technology like online ordering this year.
While there are seemingly countless online ordering providers—ranging from third-party delivery apps to commission-free systems—they’re not all created equal. In order to find the best online ordering system for you, you’ll need to make sure that it aligns with your restaurant’s core requirements.
Get a condensed list of what you need in an online ordering system in our guide, “4 Steps for Choosing an Online Ordering Partner.”
What does the best online ordering system look like for you and your restaurant?
Identify Your Restaurant’s Needs Today
Ask yourself the following list of questions about you and your restaurant in order to start thinking about what’s right for you.
- What does your takeout business look like? How many orders do you currently do per day? Is it an efficient process?
- What about pricing? Are you comfortable paying a commission to a third-party food delivery app on every order, or would you rather pay a low, flat rate?
- Do you market to your customers and value your restaurant’s brand?
- Do you want to be able to take your customers’ orders across the internet through platforms like Google, and custom mobile apps? Or would you be satisfied with only allowing them to order through one channel, like a third-party site?
- Do you value dedicated support and consulting? Are you fine with a self-service online ordering system, or would you prefer one-on-one guidance and training?
Then, follow five simple steps to find the best online ordering system.
Now that you’ve identified your unique needs and goals, take a look at these industry best practices for identifying the right online ordering partner.
1. Keep looking ahead.
Your online ordering provider should offer a diverse set of values that help you sustain your business in the long-term. Work with a company that helps you refine your online ordering marketing strategies and identify opportunities for growth. They should give you the customer data you need to make informed decisions about your restaurant’s strategy, menu, and promotions.
Find a vendor that invests in continual innovation. Look for a track record of enhancements and upgrades that benefit your customers and streamline your operations. Ask about what is in the pipeline for future upgrades as well. You’ll want to make sure you partner with a company that is going to stay ahead of the curve and bring new solutions to the table to keep you ahead of the competition.
Schedule a demo with a ChowNow online ordering specialist to talk about your options and find the right solution for your restaurant.
2. Go mobile.
Today’s consumer has a craving for convenience, so having mobile ordering for your restaurant is a must if you want to compete. In fact, according to Business Insider, mobile order-ahead is projected to be a $38 billion industry by 2020.
The best online ordering system will allow you to take orders from popular apps like Google, and can build you a great mobile ordering app. An app just for your restaurant will boost loyalty by giving your customers a convenient and fast way to order on the go.
3. Avoid paying commission on every order.
If you plan on being able to support the volume that online ordering brings, the math needs to make sense. Many third-party food delivery apps will charge 15-40% on every order you receive. Avoid signing with these marketplace online ordering platforms that charge a percentage per order, and instead choose one that charges a flat monthly rate for unlimited orders. If your phone company took 15%-40% every time you took an order over the phone, you would have stopped taking phone orders a long time ago.
4. Keep your customers.
The ability to collect restaurant customer data (e.g., names, email addresses, and order history) from orders placed online gives you the insights needed to run promotions and campaigns to get hard-earned customers ordering again and again. While it may seem like a no-brainer that your restaurant should have full access to information about your customers, many vendors withhold this information from their restaurant partners.
5. Own your brand and prioritize marketing.
Look for a vendor that focuses on elevating your restaurant and helps you develop deeper connections with your customers. Your online ordering technology should look and feel polished and well-designed while letting your food, logo, and brand step to the front. Choose a partner that will develop custom marketing materials and digital campaigns that drive customer retention.
Ready to get started?
Schedule a demo with an online ordering specialist to discover why ChowNow is the best online ordering system on the market. You’ll see how our innovative platform and award-winning team offer the tools and know-how needed to grow your takeout business.