As digital experiences continue to replace the conventional diners, the trend of digital ordering has disrupted the restaurant industry, compelling entire food chains to adapt to this development.
The term ?digital ordering? has been around for a while ? it enables customers to order food online in just a few clicks, without having to leave the comfort of their homes or even talk to a representative.? Consequently, digital ordering has?grown 300% more rapidly?than dine-in traffic over the last decade. While global food chains jumped on board the trend quickly, small and medium-sized restaurants are still hesitant to offer this convenience. However, it is no longer a choice ? taking orders digitally has become a necessity to compete in this increasingly competitive market. That?s why, according to a survey of 1200 restaurants, 59% are already on the verge of implementing this technology to scale their business.?
Challenges In Setting Up Digital Ordering
You started a restaurant because you love food, cooking, drinking, and serving people. So it?s okay if you aren?t well-versed with these new technologies as long as you are willing to learn and work with them. There will be a few challenges on the way as you implement this system, including:
Although delivery itself is not a core aspect of digital ordering, customers expect this service, making implementation difficult for restaurants. You?ll have to decide whether to hire drivers or use existing services like DoorDash to take the order from your restaurant to the customer?s doorstep.
Furthermore, you need to order special packing materials to ensure that the quality of meals delivered is at par with the dine-in experience, drinks don?t get spilled and the food is still delicious. This also means that you would have to ensure fast deliveries so that it?s still fresh when it reaches the customer.?At Lunchbox, we work with companies like Relay to create an effortless experience for delivery orders.
Changing Kitchen Layouts
New startups have adapted to the digital model where they don?t even have a dine-in area, or it?s bare minimum with 3 or 4 tables at best. That?s because customers are increasingly ordering food online instead of dining out ? this mandates bigger kitchens to accommodate all the orders.
So while new eateries are already set up for this change, older restaurants are altering kitchen layouts to ensure seamless pickup and delivery. You?ll have to dedicate a particular area in the kitchen to online orders, where delivery guys or customers themselves can pick-up their meals without having to enter the restaurant.
Setting an Online Menu
You cannot put up your entire menu as it is online ? there are various considerations that go into designing an online menu which may lead to your online variant differing from the physical one. Besides, when on the premises, diners can communicate how they want their food to be served, or if they want a particular ingredient to be added or removed.
This can become a hassle in digital ordering, which is why you need to develop a robust web-ordering system that allows users to opt for additional toppings and leave notes to make alterations to the order. This is where Lunchbox can assist you in setting up your digital ordering platform.?
The Pros Of Successful Implementation
Regardless of the challenges, a well-implemented and integrated digital ordering platform can allow your restaurant to improve customer satisfaction. Here?s what you can expect with a digital ordering system:
Insightful Customer Data
Data insights can help you determine why people order, what they order most and what are the best times for you to run a promotion to increase the frequency of online orders. This data can be highly beneficial for your restaurant ? giving you the ability to track orders, predict sales and understand which localities are buying and which ones will need more incentive.
No Room For Error
An alternative to online ordering is receiving orders through phone. This opens room for human error that can cost your restaurant a potential long-term customer ? phone reps can get the order wrong, write down inaccurate delivery info or take too long to pick up the phone. It has the potential to damage your reputation and can lead to a negative review on Yelp, making things worse for your restaurant.
With an online ordering system in place, your staff can be more productive in food preparation and fulfilling customer service needs, instead of hanging around the phone and waiting for orders.
Improved Competitive Advantage
The chances are that you aren?t the only restaurant in the neighborhood and that your hyper-local competitors are also working on their online ordering system. Introducing this technology before they do will position your business better and even give it the ability to compete with more mainstream eateries in the area.
Is Your Restaurant Ready For Implementation?
A digital ordering platform is more than just a marketing gimmick ? this technology has the power to revolutionize the way customers engage with your restaurant. However, if you aren?t ready to deliver a stellar experience to ensure high-levels of customer satisfaction, then you aren?t ready for digital ordering.
Don?t offer this facility to your clientele just because others are doing it too. It has to be carefully planned and incorporated into every facet of your restaurant before it?s launched ? that?s the only way to ensure its success. Know that not committing to customer service will render your business redundant soon enough, anyway.
That?s because ordering via mobile phones is all set to be a $38 billion industry in 2020 ? and delivery sales will rise at an annual rate of 20%, to $365 billion by 2030. If you want to stake your claim in these numbers, the time to get started is now.
So, the question is not whether your restaurant is ready to go digital or not ? but can you deal with the consequences of not going digital faster?
How To Launch A Successful Digital Ordering Platform?
Implementing a digital ordering platform at your restaurant can be tricky as there are more than a few challenges to overcome. However, if you want to take immediate action, Lunchbox is here to help. Lunchbox allows you to set up a digital ordering platform with web ordering, social media ordering, text-message ordering, app-ordering, and other robust solutions.
Furthermore, by seamlessly integrating our app into your processes, you get to improve customer engagement, enjoy omnichannel loyalty, and even benefit from intelligent marketing campaigns to scale your business.
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