Although restaurant online ordering has only taken off recently, iMenu360 has offered these types of solutions for about 14 years. Owner and President Steve Krug says the company’s founders were in the restaurant business for 30 years, operating 15 locations in Chicago, which gave them unique insight into where the industry was heading. “We saw online ordering was going to be a must-have,” he says, and the iMenu360 team developed a solution with workflows and features that businesses would need, based on the restaurateur’s point of view.
True to his team’s predictions 14 years ago, Krug says restaurant online ordering has proven itself to offer clear benefits to the industry including increased efficiency, repeat business, and customer satisfaction. He adds that the average order size also typically increases with online orders — iMenu360 customers see an increase between 8 and 15 percent.
Not implementing online ordering correctly, however, can limit the benefits your restaurant customers receive. Krug offers his advice about how POS VARs, MSPs and other IT solution providers can maximize their client’s ROI by avoiding these five mistakes:
1. Not putting the restaurant’s brand — and the order button — front and center.
Some online ordering solution vendors highlight their own brands on the user interface. Instead, Krug says to choose solutions that promote the restaurant’s brand. He reminds VARs and MSPs to look beyond the logo and make sure the platform will match the look and user experience of the restaurant’s website.
“Placement of the order link is also extremely important,” says Krug, “If customers can’t find it, they can’t order.” He advises placing the order link at the top of the webpage behind a large “Order Online” button. Don’t hide it within the page content or lower on the page requiring the customer to scroll.
2. Online ordering that’s not mobile-friendly
“Not having a mobile-friendly website is a major negative in today’s online ordering world,” says Krug. He says iMobile360 estimates that 67 percent of all online orders are now coming from mobile devices. “This number will only continue to increase,” he says. Krug points out that not only do mobile-friendly websites make ordering easier for customers using their smartphones, they also help the restaurant rank higher in organic search results.
3. Forgetting to appeal to customers with images and social media ads
Krug says how each restaurant uses an online ordering system will differ, but there are some best practices that any of them can follow. “Customers are visual creatures, so we strongly encourage the use of photos,” says Krug. “When a business presents itself in a professional manner, prospects and customers will respond,” he says. His team also encourages restaurants to incorporate online ordering into their marketing and social media activity. He also stresses that promoting the availability of online ordering is a must, for example, utilizing features like iMenu360’s First Time Order Discount.
4. Not training restaurant staff
Although online ordering can make restaurant operations more streamlined and efficient, they still require that staff members learn new processes. Training is imperative for smooth implementation and effective use. “We suggest and offer training webinars on using our system,” says Krug. “In addition, training staff to react to order tickets or tablet notifications immediately will enhance the user’s experience and encourage reordering.”
5. Settling for a solution that’s not a good fit
Your restaurant clients have a wide range of online ordering solution options. Krug says to look for a robust solution with a secure infrastructure and multiple redundancies that prevent technical failure. Also look for a turn-key solution for your clients that provides them with all the features they need, a commitment to keep innovating and improving the product.
He adds that it’s also wise for VARs and MSPs to look for strategic partnerships with restaurant online ordering system vendors that will benefit your business as well.