In today’s digital age, many F&B businesses are tapping into the online ordering trend. In the Europe market alone, the online sales of F&B businesses saw an 18.4 billion dollar growth from 2010 to 2015! However, unlike most online retail stores, the F&B industry has unique challenges when it comes to taking the business online. With the right technology, operational issues can be a thing of the past. To seamlessly integrate existing restaurant operations with online ordering, here are 8 features that F&B operators should look out for.
1. Immediate alerts
When a customer places an order for food on your website, you’d want to be the first to know! Instant notification coming from a mobile device, such as a phone or a tablet, is the most efficient. That way, you get convenient access to your online orders. Also, instant notification is important to ensure your kitchen operations are able to run smoothly. When you receive an order, you can respond by preparing your food order immediately. This reduces your customer’s waiting time, potentially granting you more satisfied than frustrated customers.
2. Sufficient lead time
An online ordering system that enables you to incorporate comfortable lead time for food preparation gives you control over your kitchen’s operations. During peak hours in your restaurant, being able to set a longer lead time for online orders will prevent you from neglecting your dine-in customers. You would also need to set different lead times for different food orders as some food may require longer preparation time. Integrating your preferences for lead time will ensure smooth online operations with your kitchen’s capacity. It will also give your customers a heads-up on how long they would’ve to wait, reducing any potential dissatisfaction.
3. Customizable delivery zones
Being able to use your online ordering system to customise your delivery zones ensures the delivery process is a breeze. Depending on your resources for delivery, you can decide which specific areas you’d want to deliver to. Alternatively, you can also split your delivery zones into several areas and set different lead times and delivery fee for each. Being able to set these preferences makes for a seamless ordering process for your customers too! Just by keying in their postal code, they will be able to know whether delivery is available in their area; the delivery cost; and the expected waiting time. When the system does these for you, it will spare you from excessive paperwork and coordination!
4. Online menu flexibility
The flexibility to edit and have control of your online menu is essential to your online ordering system. It grants you the liberty and accessibility to easily switch between various menu ideas, so you can sell a diverse range of dishes! For example, you may want to set a different menu for lunch and dinner. You may also run various promotions or have special additions to your menu during festive periods. A flexible menu system will allow you to skip the technicalities and get straight to making your menu work. Bonus points if you are able to bring out the look and feel of your restaurant through the menu as well.
5. Sales information
With more information about your customers, you’d know the steps to take to improve restaurant operations. Wouldn’t you love for your online ordering system to capture your customer’s data for you automatically? Such information serves as good feedback on which food items are commonly ordered. It is a good guide on how to further improve what your menu offers. Having a customer database will also tell you who your repeated customers are. Use this information to build better relationships with your customers, as well as persuade them to order from you again. Read how you can use your customer database to your advantage here.
6. Convenience for you and your customers
A good online ordering system will be able to seamlessly assimilate into your existing restaurant operations. Forget all the paperwork, rushing to answer phone calls during peak hours or miscommunication between your customers and staff. An online ordering system saves you the trouble of having to go through all that, easing your staff’s workload. Through a good online ordering system, they will be able to tabulate all the orders for the day; be notified of advance orders placed; and other pending orders all at a glance.
As for your customers, an online ordering system that’s easy-to-use is important for them to complete their orders. Having a system that's accessible on-the-go will help you reach out to more customers, even the busy ones!
7. Multi-store support
With more than one restaurant location, you would want your online ordering system to work well with your store locations. Naturally, orders would be processed by the nearest store to the order location so that you reduce delivery time. Wouldn’t it be a great pain if you were to allocate these orders you receive, manually to each store? Having an online ordering system that automatically assigns your orders for you prevents these hassles.
8. Intuitive interface
A good interface helps customers place orders quickly and easily. Your customer’s online experience begins the moment they land on your page. Making a good first impression improves the entire experience for them! We all know a hungry man is an angry man. A hungry customer wouldn’t want to be spending more time figuring out how your system works. They want their food, and they want it quick! An online ordering system that has the ability to provide easy navigation for your customers is thus, extremely crucial. With a pleasant experience, who knows? They might just come back and order from you again.
We don’t mean to blow our own horns, but these features do exist in an all-in-one online ordering system! We started off as restaurateurs who couldn’t find an online ordering system targeted to the needs of F&B operators. With an online ordering system like Oddle, F&B businesses can focus on growing their business, while leaving the boring stuff to us. Learn more on how Oddle can work for your restaurant here.
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