One of the most in-demand tech solutions for restaurants is online ordering. NPD reports that digital orders have grown at an average rate of 23 percent since 2013, and there are no signs that consumers will abandon this trend any time soon. They’ve grown accustomed to placing orders on their PCs, tablets or smartphones and scheduling them for delivery or pickup when it’s convenient.
To meet these customer expectations, restaurants are implementing their first online ordering solutions — and some are planning upgrades to make their current processes more efficient and customer-friendly. To help you with your search for the right online ordering solution, we put together a checklist of features that can help you find the best fit for your customer.
Must-Have Online Ordering Features:
- POS integration–Integration with the restaurant’s point of sale (POS) system can make in-house operations much more efficient. It eliminates the need to take orders on a separate PC or tablet and then transfer them into the system.
- Integration with business applications and tools–Your client may also benefit from additional integrations, such as accounting software, delivery tracking tools like Tookan or OrderLord, CRM and marketing applications, and kitchen printers.
- Menu management–Research the functionality the solution will give your restaurant client for managing and modifying the online menu and establishing menus for specific times of day. Also, assess how easy it will be for customers to modify orders.
- Delivery–A full-featured online ordering solution will support a restaurant’s delivery operation by enabling minimum orders and charge fees based on zones. It can also manage tips for delivery personnel that customers add to their payments online.
- Full range of payment options–Restaurants offering online ordering almost exclusively want customers to pay online in advance, but some may want to allow their customers to pay at the counter when they pick up their orders. Make sure the solution facilitates all payment types including mobile wallets and gift cards.
- Mobile-friendly design–Some online ordering solutions are apps designed for mobile devices, but if your client chooses a web-based solution, make sure it’s mobile-friendly so customers using their smartphones can place orders just as easily as those using a PC or tablet.
- Reporting–An online ordering solution can collect valuable data about customers and business performance. Choose a solution that easily connects business owners with this information, presented in an actionable way.
- Marketing and promotions–The ability to offer online customers special promotions can help your restaurant customers build this revenue stream. Investigate the marketing and promotions capabilities of online ordering solutions to give them the functionality they need.
- Integrated loyalty–Make sure your restaurant clients can reward its loyal customers, whether they’re dining in, scheduling delivery, or ordering for takeout. An integrated loyalty program will allow consumers to earn or redeem points on all types of orders.
- Social media integration–To give your customer options to market on different channels, choose an online ordering solution with social media integration. This will allow restaurant customers to order directly from a social media page or post.
- Language–If the restaurant is located in an area where people speak different languages, make sure the platform supports communicating with all potential customers.
Online ordering solutions that meet your client’s needs in each of these areas are good candidates to demo and evaluate further. For information from vendors on specific online ordering solutions, see our Online Ordering System Product Comparison.