There’s no denying that digital ordering – or order ahead, whether for collection or delivery, is on-trend. The technology has saved countless businesses over the past 18 months, but that doesn’t mean it should be adopted without thought, and it would be careless to not explore the benefits and challenges of digital ordering of such a service before diving headfirst and making an investment in a technology and its vendor.
Key Benefits of Digital Ordering
The benefits for offering a digital ordering service are many, both for the consumer and the operator. The top line is that it is a great way for companies to attract fresh and repeat business, accessing new revenue streams and ultimately improving profit levels. Certainly, a customer is more likely to place repeat orders for their favourite restaurant takeaway than they are to sit and dine at the same place again and again.
When it’s managed properly (something that is easy when the brand has complete control over the back end of the solution) digital ordering can be used to reduce wait-times, increasing the speed with which guests are able to order and receive their meal. The rate of human error is also reduced, leading to happier customers. And with more customers skipping the queue altogether, staff can work through and serve more on-premises customers too.
Data is king, and depending on the technology they use, a business can collect and access lots of it using their ordering solution. It’s an important point to note when selecting a technology, there’s little advantage are denied that opportunity. Data is a window to your customers. It tells a brand who their customers are, what they choose, when they choose it and how often. It allows for the forecasting of stock, the streamlining of menus and the optimisation of operations. It can then be used to create effective marketing and loyalty programmes and to make business decisions that lead to increased sales and efficiency.
Data is knowledge, and knowledge is power.
Core Challenges of Digital Ordering
When you take on a digital ordering service, you must commit to managing it and promoting it to customers. If a guest has a bad experience with the solution or the service that comes with it, they won’t give it a second chance. At the same time, if you don’t tell people about the platform, how will they know to use it at all? A considered marketing campaign is required to optimise use, especially in the first months after launch.
Assigning clear team roles is essential for the efficient and successful running of a digital ordering service. Kitchen managers must decide who will operate platform communications, accepting orders, letting customers know an order is on its way, is ready for collection or delayed for any reason. The tracking and managing of customer communication may require operational adjustment and will need thorough planning.
If a restaurant hasn’t offered delivery before, the whole idea might seem a challenge. That challenge can be overcome by rolling out the solution in small steps; offer order ahead for collection first, then delivery and other journeys such as kerbside collection. Get the basics right first. Most ordering technologies are not built to facilitate delivery as well, but they will integrate with delivery management solutions that make it easy for operators to manage the service.
Ultimately, a successful ordering service enhances the guest experience, deepens customer relationships, drives revenue, and increases profit margins. There are always challenges when launching a new technology and service, but these challenges are not insurmountable. With proper planning any challenges will easily be conquered and greater benefits realised.
Contact us to explore digital ordering for your business, and to get the expert support you need to realise all of its benefits.