In this era-defining moment that is the global COVID-19 pandemic, if you own a restaurant, take away, or food service of any type in Australia, you’ve already had to pivot how you run your business. When not in lockdown, in-house dining is restricted, and when we’re staying home for the safety of the broader community, take away and delivery orders are now the lifeblood of your service offering.
Online ordering maximises the ability to boost your bottom line in these tough times when so many long-running restaurants have had to shutter their doors for good. This means keeping people employed, and families stable and happy. If you think setting up a restaurant online ordering system is going to be a hassle, we’re proud to say you are wrong. This pandemic is about relentless optimism, and that means ‘making lemons out of lemonade’.
5 Simple Steps to Set-Up Restaurant Online Ordering
1. Optimise Your Menu:
- Create a menu catered especially for online orders. This can be completely different from your normal in-house menu.
- Upload high-resolution photos of all your mouth-watering meals and speciality drinks.
- Create clear, specific names and descriptions for each product offering. Show people exactly what they’ll receive, but don’t be afraid to make your meals sound unique, exciting, and fun!
- Provide a list of ingredients in your food descriptions to ensure all customers are made aware of what to expect regarding allergies and intolerances. Customers these days genuinely appreciate the additional effort made to make sure they eat safely.
- Separate your restaurant’s menu items into different categories so your customers can easily find what they’re looking for when scanning options.
- Designate specific categories focusing on revenue streams to help you track sales and to know which items are most popular. This is informative for setting up marketing campaigns and promotions based on results.
- Include ‘Most Popular’ or ‘Recommended’ categories to show hungry customers the dishes other customers are raving about, and for an effortless ordering process.
- Include paid extras and modifications for customised orders, and to improve tracking of both stock supplies and sales.
- Establish which dishes don’t travel well or are overly expensive to package as being, ‘Dine-in only’ (when it’s a viable option).
2. Prepare Front-of-House Staff:
- Make decisions on how you would like delivery drivers to interact with staff, always ensuring social distancing guidelines are adhered to.
- Train staff on how to manage and use the online ordering system.
- Allocate a designated area for delivery drivers, set apart from the main flow of customer foot traffic.
- Put up clear, visible signs to direct delivery drivers to the right location.
- Train a staff member to be the restaurant’s ‘take away’ specialist in charge of managing all third-party APPs like UberEATS, Deliveroo, and Door Dash.
- Teach a staff member to monitor and update orders (marking the order as Accepted, Preparing, and Ready for Pick Up), coordinate with delivery drivers, and communicate with the kitchen.
- Develop a ‘Declined order’ process to make sure customers are immediately notified if an item is no longer available on the day.
3. Prepare Back-of-House Staff:
- Fine-tune your kitchen’s layout and staff operating procedures with a hard focus on efficiency.
- Set a trial period of at least 1 month for the online ordering system before hiring more staff members.
- Observe the impact on kitchen staff workloads when additional sales come in during this trial period.
- Ascertain hiring requirements based on reported results from the trial.
4. Develop Your Online Ordering Marketing Strategy:
- Put up in-store signage like shopfront-facing posters and table menu cards displaying your new online ordering options.
- Add an advertising banner, CTA button, and blog post to your website telling the world of your online food ordering system.
- Ensure your business’s website has been optimised to be mobile-friendly.
- Tell everyone who might be interested in ordering online, showing the public on social media awesome pics of your scrumptious delicacies.
- Set-up paid social media ads to geo-target customers in your desired locations.
- Create promotional codes for first-time customers and other motivational initiatives.
- When working together with third-party APPs, pay a little extra to appear higher in their search results.
5. Be aware of the pros and cons when choosing an online food ordering system for your restaurant. Here are the differences between direct online ordering, a third-party APP, and an Online Ordering Aggregator:
Direct Online Ordering from Your Website:
- You get to retain almost all profits from your online orders.
- It’s easy to set up on your existing website, or even without a website.
- Allows you keep existing staff on board, albeit in a different occupational role.
- You have much more control over the customer’s experience – from start to finish.
- You’ll need to do marketing yourself, as there’s no access to the audiences that inherently come with third-party APPs.
- It will take some time and considerable expense to establish your own delivery team.
- You’ll achieve more marketing exposure via the APP’s large audiences.
- Delivery teams come included with your subscription.
- The online ordering experience is quite seamless for customers.
- High fees result in lower profit margins.
- These APPs cannot integrate directly into your POS system.
- As you’re placing orders in another company’s hands, there’s very little control over the customer experience once the meal has left the restaurant.
- There is a greater risk of error due to requisite manual entry from third- party tablets into your POS system.
- Special offers, discounts, and promotions need to be approved by the governing body.
Online Ordering Aggregators:
- Receive the large audiences and market exposure offered by third-party APPs.
- You get the same delivery teams as the third-party APPs,
- The POS system integration equates to a lower risk of errors when making orders.
- You can measure how each of the various third-party platforms are performing for you via a single report.
- You need to pay fees for the third-party APPs, as well as the Online Ordering Aggregator APP, which means even smaller profits.
- Once meals leave your restaurant, you have no idea how the customer’s experience will affect your brand’s reputation. It’s literally out of your hands.
- You have even less power when it comes to special offers and promotions because you’re dealing with the aggregator and its associated third-party APPs.
Why Choose an Abacus Online Ordering System for Your Restaurant?
An Abacus Online Ordering System:
- Can be directly integrated with your restaurant’s POS system.
- Is easy to set-up even when your business doesn’t have a website.
- Has the ability to run reports to differentiate between online orders and POS sales.
- Provides full control over all your related offers and promotions.
- Eliminates order errors due to its seamless POS integration.
- Is simple and easy to use, offerings customers an unparalleled user experience.
So, now you have it – this is not rocket science. If you haven’t done so already, maximise your chances to survive and thrive in the pandemic lockdown economy. Setting up an online food ordering system for restaurants is, ‘Easy-peasy, lemon squeasy!’ Let Abacus show you how online ordering when done well is the way of the future.