Technology has played a major role in how the restaurant industry is evolving. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Restaurant Technology Study, restaurant technology spend is the litmus test for tech innovation in the industry — and HT’s research showed restaurants increased tech spend by 58% last year. A majority of restaurants, 61%, increased their tech spending with the primary goal of improving digital customer engagement and a significant fraction, 23%, had the specific goal of enabling restaurant online ordering and seamless customer experiences across all channels.
Redefining “Eating Out”
As restaurant online ordering evolved to become easier for consumers, its popularity has skyrocketed. Just as consumers demand the convenience of anytime, anywhere, omnichannel shopping from retailers, they have grown to expect the same convenience from their favorite restaurants. Dining in may not be practical for all of your customers. With the fast pace of consumers’ busy lives, the ability to order ahead and arrange for delivery or pickup when it’s convenient is something they value.
Restaurants Reinvent to Compete
Restaurants are finding ways to accommodate customers that prefer to order for takeout or delivery. They are also working to win their loyalty by meeting demands for great service from the time their customers place their orders online and complete payment transactions until they receive their orders, warm, appetizing.
To accomplish seamless operations across channels, restaurants are turning to technology. The right digital ordering platform will ensure information online aligns with in-store operations and orders are properly prepared and delivered to the right customer at the right time. Restaurant online ordering integrated with the restaurant’s point of sale (POS) system can also help restaurants operate faster and more efficiently, receiving accurate orders directly from the customer, transmitting them to the kitchen, and scheduling meal preparation so it perfectly timed.
The New Way to Order by Phone
Businesses focusing on restaurant online ordering must also take into account consumers’ increasing use of smartphones when engaging with their favorite brands. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2017 State of the Industry Report, 46% of smartphone users make a mobile order for restaurant takeout or delivery at least once per month. It’s imperative to have a mobile-friendly website with easy ways for your customers to engage with your business, place orders and make payments when using their smartphones.
Take Advantage of the Data You Collect
Your enhanced online presence means you will be collecting more data — you will build a database of names, addresses and phone numbers of people who you formerly may have known only as cash customers in the dining room. You will also have insights into what your customers usually order, the promotions that they are most likely to respond to, and how they interact with your loyalty rewards program. This data can help you make smarter business decisions and target promotions and loyalty rewards to drive more traffic — and more sales— for your restaurant.
Restaurant online ordering may be driving change in the industry, but its benefits extend beyond convenience-craving customer to the restaurants themselves in the form of new a revenue stream, greater efficiency, and higher average orders. Embrace this change in the industry and incorporate into your strategy for success.