Restaurants that delivered food thrived when the world was locked down for two years! If a restaurant didn't have an online ordering system, they had no way of doing business. Partnerships with third-party food delivery services were formed, and small restaurants that were once technological dinosaurs had to learn how to put their services online fast or risk going out of business. If you're just opening a new restaurant you may be wondering if online ordering is still a necessity in today's world. Here are some commonly asked questions to help you decide.
The short answer is "yes." The ability to order online became standard during the pandemic. If your restaurant doesn't have some type of online presence you're likely losing customers to your competitors. The good news is, adding online ordering options doesn't have to be time consuming or expensive.
Not necessarily. There are two ways to have an online presence for your restaurant. The first is to be listed on third party ordering or delivery apps such as DoorDash, UberEats, or GrubHub. While the downside to this arrangement is the fees charged by those platforms, the upside is they handle a lot of the logistics, and they can expose your restaurant to a large number of existing customers. The second way to enable online ordering is to use a product that allows direct ordering. Your POS may offer a free or low-cost version of online ordering that integrates directly to your restaurant. If you want additional features you can explore platforms like ChowNow, Olo, or ToGo.
There are a ton of options for third-party ordering ranging from major players like DoorDash, UberEats, and GrubHub to smaller, regional marketplace apps. If you operate outside the US there are other large, popular apps. When picking which apps you want to be listed on consider the following:
You can always list your restaurant on multiple third-party apps to see which ones work best for you.
Depending on which system you go with, an ordering ordering system for restaurants can pay for itself in increased revenue or you could be spending a lot of money on fees with a third party. Some third-party delivery companies will take 15-20% of every sale, which may mean you need to raise your prices on that platform to cover the costs. When calculating the costs make sure to account for both monthly fees and transaction fees - it may seem like a great deal to get "free" online ordering in exchange for processing payments, but the rate on that payment processing could be much higher than you could get elsewhere.
The double-edged sword of online ordering is that it can actually make you too busy. When you have customers walking in to your restaurant plus online orders coming from multiple sources all during the busiest time of the day it's easy for the kitchen to get overwhelmed. Many online ordering platforms offer some features to limit how many orders can be placed in a period of time, but the risk of this is losing sales and disappointing customers if online ordering is not available. A kitchen display system like Fresh KDS can help smooth the flow of orders into the kitchen and improve your throughput. This can help you manage the order volume from online ordering systems while meeting your guests' expectations.