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National Restaurant Association - Jump-start your restaurant with online ordering

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Jump-start your restaurant with online ordering

Online ordering technology is changing the way restaurants interact with their customers. Enhanced convenience enables hungry customers to order the way they want, using the device they prefer. Online ordering is relatively new, but spreading quickly. The NRA’s latest research shows that 43 percent of consumers have placed a takeout or delivery order online. Restaurants that offer online ordering benefit from having customers satisfied by the convenience. But how else does online ordering affect a restaurant business?

Improved efficiency
Receiving orders from the web results in more efficient day-to-day operations. How much staff time is now spent taking orders over the phone? How many errors occur because of miscommunication? For many restaurants, taking orders over the phone takes five to eight minutes per order. Language barriers, bad reception and human error contribute to incorrect orders, expensive redeliveries and dissatisfied customers. In contrast, online orders are received in less than 30 seconds. Customers can spend more time on your menu and deliberately click the items they want. The order comes to you electronically, exactly as the customer specified. Plus, you automatically get a copy of the order for your records. This frees your staff to focus on filling orders and improving the dine-in experience.

Larger orders
Not only do online orders come in more accurately, on average; they frequently come in with bigger ticket prices. Customers often spend more time browsing a menu online. Upselling is built into the online ordering experience because of how the menu is structured. Customers love ordering take-out online because they can specify a pick-up time and know the prepaid food will be waiting for them – just a quick, painless stop at the restaurant during a hectic day. Even formal sit-down restaurants can benefit because online ordering provides another revenue stream when table turns have been maximized or when customers prefer to dine at home.

Demonstrated response to customer demand
While greater efficiency and larger order sizes are beneficial, the real power of online ordering rests in its ability to bring restaurants new customers. Ecommerce is a $200 billion industry in the United States, and projected to grow 15 percent a year. The expanding market offers new opportunities. For example, more than half of all restaurants with delivery offer some form of online ordering, but only 5 percent currently offer online ordering for mobile devices, according to recent data from Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. With an astonishing 90 percent of mobile app users saying they are interested in using apps to make purchases, are you losing money by not providing a mobile-optimized online ordering experience for your customers?

Cost effective
Online ordering is beneficial for the small independent restaurant. You generally pay only a small commission for orders that are actually received, and websites are often provided for free. This can give an independent restaurant access to the same technology as a large chain, for pennies on the dollar. In addition, the Internet allows a small independent restaurant to be found easily by new customers swimming in a sea of choices.

Considering the benefits, online ordering can be a great option. With so many solutions to choose from, it’s important to learn the differences between services. Start your search with this information: Learn how online orders are placed and processed; From fax to tablet, there’s no wrong way to receive online orders; 5 ways online ordering connects you to customers; and How online ordering drives new business.

This content was provided by EatStreet.

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