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National Restaurant Association - Learn how online orders are placed and processed

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Learn how online orders are placed and processed

Before you decide to partner with an online ordering service, you should get familiar with how your customers would place an order and how that order would be processed.

Behind the scenes: Set-up and testing
First, the online ordering service will make sure your entire menu is accurately represented online. Some charge startup fees, while others do this for free. If you offer or plan to offer delivery, check whether the online ordering platform supports delivery-zone mapping. Many restaurants charge higher delivery prices for longer distances. An online ordering platform should be able to map different zones and charge different delivery prices for those zones. For takeout orders, the service should allow customers to specify a pickup time so the order can be prioritized in the kitchen and be ready to go when the customer arrives.

Ordering and reporting
As with any e-commerce site, customers will add items to their cart with a simple click. Ask about ways to build upselling into the online menu. Check whether toppings, sauces and sides can be added easily by selecting a box. When checking out, customers will have the option to pay by credit card or cash. Once the order is submitted, it is standard for the customer to receive a confirmation email summarizing the important order details.

Reporting is important for both the customer and the restaurant. A receipt and confirmation should reach the customer quickly and in the customer’s preferred medium of communication. Timely, easy-to-understand reports help restaurants reconcile financial statements and operate smoothly in general.

Order processing
Order processing speed has a direct impact on customer satisfaction and reuse of online ordering. Customers want to place an order as quickly as possible. They don’t want to wait for pages to load. Test the speed and user experience yourself. Quality can vary dramatically from one service to the next.

Platform stability and speed are among the most important features of an online ordering system. No one wants their system to go down because of technical issues. Ask the vendor for an SAS 70 certificate that shows they’ve been through a service audit. Ask for reports on their “up-time” record. Ask about redundancies in place in case the system fails.

Security is especially important. It takes just one breach to destroy customer confidence. Ask the online ordering service about their compliance with Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards. Check where vaulted records are held, whether they use “tokenization” to secure sensitive customer information, and how they protect against fraud.

Finally, ask how quickly restaurants receive payments for online orders, and by what method. Payment times can vary from days to weeks. Make sure the payment schedule works with your restaurant’s cash flow.

This content was provided by EatStreet.

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