A Comprehensive Guide to Implementing Online Ordering for Your Restaurant

July 31, 2023

National chains that are widely recognized and beloved played a pioneering role in promoting online and mobile ordering. Initially introduced as a convenient option for customers, this service has now become an integral part of the food industry.

From 2021 to 2022, the time spent on food and drink apps increased by 65%, indicating the growing popularity of online ordering. In addition, customers' preference for cashless transactions has been on the rise, making online ordering a necessity for restaurants seeking long-term growth. Looking to launch a successful online ordering system for your restaurant? Follow these seven steps to ensure you make the right choice.

1. Weigh the pros and cons of the three main categories of online ordering:

  • First-party online ordering allows brands to eliminate commission fees (15-30%) by keeping online ordering in-house. This approach provides direct access to customers, which significantly enhances the quality of the customer experience. Research shows that 43% of restaurant professionals believe that third-party apps hinder the ability to build strong customer relationships. By utilizing first-party systems, businesses can enjoy key benefits such as menu management, real-time price updates, and targeted marketing campaigns. The ability to customize, grow, and scale is virtually unlimited when building your own exclusive online ordering platform. With the ever-increasing importance of online ordering in the restaurant industry, leveraging first-party solutions can be a game-changer for brands seeking to maximize profitability and customer satisfaction.
  • Third-Party Online Ordering: In the event that POS systems do not come with built-in native online ordering software, these platforms can be synchronized with an app for an added fee. It's important to note that this option often involves a yearly subscription or a percentage-based fee per sale and third-party online ordering results in the missed opportunity to collect customer information for targeted marketing campaigns and optimized loyalty programs. 
  • Third-Part Delivery: Using a third-party delivery service requires business owners to pay the provider a delivery fee, usually a fixed amount. The downside of outsourcing delivery is that you can't track the whole process from start to finish. And should there be an error the customer will likely blame the restaurant for the issue, resulting in potential loss of revenue that could have been avoided. 

2. Enhance Customer Experience:  Ensure you are using a user-friendly online ordering platform that provides robust support. Consider implementing a platform that will provide a no-code mobile app solution. With Appfront, restaurants can easily design, create, and publish apps in no time. Using an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that allows even those with no coding experience to create customized, feature-rich apps. With a wide range of pre-built templates and design elements, restaurant owners can easily tailor their digital appearance to match their brand identity. Appfront's solution also integrates seamlessly with existing POS systems, online ordering platforms, and loyalty programs, ensuring a cohesive and streamlined experience for both restaurant owners and patrons

3. Embrace a Loyalty-first Marketing Platform: The online ordering platform should integrate seamlessly with a comprehensive customer relationship management (CRM) system. A strong CRM enables you to track customer preferences, order history, and contact information, allowing you to engage with customers through personalized communications and targeted promotions. By implementing a retention platform, you can retarget your customers and keep them engaged, thereby increasing customer loyalty and repeat business.

4. Prioritize Secure Transactions: Skyrocketing levels of fraud, enabled by the accelerated adoption of digital commerce and the ever-increasing sophistication of scammers, have overwhelmed traditional controls in recent years. Protect your customers' sensitive information by ensuring that your online ordering system follows strict data security protocols and compliance standards.

Online ordering fuels business growth and the proof is in the data: Starbucks’ mobile ordering and payment platform generated over 26 percent of orders. By implementing these curated recommendations, restaurant owners can leverage a robust online ordering system that significantly contributes to an enhanced customer experience.

At Appfront, we make the online ordering experience simple, seamless, and rewarding while providing robust intelligence to personalize interactions, automate campaigns, and drive loyalty. Ready to go digital and unlock the benefits of online ordering today? Speak with one of our specialists. 

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