5 reasons you need an online food ordering system for your restaurant

Give them more to love

According to Toast’s Restaurant Technology Report, 56 percent of consumers order directly from a restaurant’s website at least once a month. This is why it’s more important than ever that restaurants have an online food ordering system.

If your restaurant staff is bogged down taking phone orders now, the problem is only going to get worse as the demand for takeout continues to rise. Providing an online ordering option is an absolute must for meeting the demand of today’s on-the-go customer. Thanks to GoDaddy GoCentral Website Builder’s integration with ChowNow, adding online ordering to your restaurant’s GoCentral website has never been easier.

5 reasons you should offer online ordering

Millennials, a.k.a. the largest generation in American history, eat out five times a week. Here are some other good reasons to offer online ordering.

  1. To compete with the big brands.

  2. Because customers crave convenience.

  3. To grow your bottom line.

  4. To improve restaurant operations.

  5. To collect valuable customer data.

Still not convinced that online ordering is critical to your restaurant’s success? Read on.

Benefits of an online food ordering system

Your customers are spending more and more time online — especially on their smartphones. Take advantage of the trend to see these benefits.

1. To compete with the big brands

With the growing consumer demand for faster, more convenient ways to order, independent restaurants are feeling pressure to compete with big brands that can afford to invest millions in takeout technology.

Domino’s Pizza introduced their online ordering system in 2010. At the time their stock price was $8 and the company was struggling to grow. In the last seven years, Domino’s has grown to the second-largest pizza chain in the world with a stock price at over $200 per share — that’s 25x growth!

Online Food Ordering System Dominos
Since introducing online ordering, Domino’s has grown into the second-largest pizza chain in the world.
Photo: ChowNow

Domino’s has invested millions in building its own online ordering offering. Don’t have millions? Independent restaurants can compete by partnering with specialists like ChowNow which offers branded smartphone apps and website ordering for as little as $4 per day.

2. Because customers crave convenience

These days it seems like everyone is talking about the coveted millennial. Why should restaurant owners care about millennials? Because there are 50 million of them in the U.S., the largest generation in history. By next year, their collective purchasing power will exceed $3.39 trillion. Pleasing this demographic is a path to profits.

Last year, the percentage of restaurant orders placed online exceeded the quantity placed verbally over the phone.

My little sister interned in New York this summer, and I was shocked to learn that her morning routine consisted of a Starbucks run.

When I asked her “Why Starbucks? You live in Manhattan and work in Brooklyn, there is an incredible local coffee shop on every corner.” She explained she had the Starbucks app; she orders and pays for her coffee while getting on the subway, and it is waiting for her on the other side.

Online Food Ordering System Starbucks
Millennials love convenience almost as much as they love their phones.
Photo: madison bilsborough on Unsplash

She saves 10 to 15 minutes every morning — and her favorite coffee shop, Brooklyn Roasting Company, doesn’t offer the same convenience. Quality is paramount when consumers choose where to eat, but if you are close in quality AND offer an easier way to order than your competition, then you are going to win with millennials.

3. To grow your bottom line

Put yourself in your restaurant customer’s shoes for a minute. Imagine you are getting home on Friday night after a stressful week of work. You want nothing more than to catch up on the latest Netflix series in your PJs while enjoying your favorite ramen from down the street.

Online Food Ordering System Noodles
Adding an online ordering system can increase order size by as much as 20 percent.
Photo: ChowNow

Scenario 1: You give them a call

You look up the restaurant’s phone number and give them a call. On the other end is a hurried voice that asks “please hold.” The restaurant is obviously busy — it’s a Friday and what can you expect? Their ramen is worth the wait.

After a few minutes you wonder, “Did they forget about me? Maybe I should call back.” Just before you decide to hang up and redial, the same voice hops back on. It’s difficult to hear them.

Restaurant: “Pickup or delivery?”
You: “Pickup.”
Restaurant: “What do you want?”
You: “Slurpin’ ramen with chicken, spicy, no seaweed.”
Restaurant: “Anything else?”
You: “No.”
Restaurant: “30 minutes”… click.

Thirty minutes later you get to the restaurant, wait in line to pay and bring your food home.

When you begin plating your food, you are disappointed to discover seaweed in your ramen. Not the end of the world, but you will think twice the next time you are deciding where to order next time.

Scenario 2: You order online

You go to the restaurant’s website to find their phone number and see that you can now Order Online. You click “Order Online,” and are walked step by step through your order.

Online Food Ordering System Slurpin Ramen Bar
“Order Online” are two of the most glorious words in a hangry millennial’s vocabulary.

You add your ramen order and peruse the rest of the menu. You never realized they had dessert. You’re ready to treat yourself and decide to try the Macaron Ice Cream.

You review your order, add a tip and pay with your credit card. Within 60 seconds you get an email that your food will be ready in 30 minutes.

You arrive at the restaurant, and there is a long line. Luckily for you, your food is already paid for and waiting for you behind the counter — you tell them it’s yours, grab your bag and go. Everyone in line looks at you with amazement; you feel like a genius. Better yet, the order is accurate and the macaron ice cream is delicious.

Online Food Ordering System Menu

Why does this matter?

The experience patrons have ordering at your restaurant matters. An inconvenience or mistake with an order can influence future purchasing behavior.

Orders that are placed online are 20 percent larger on average, which means more money in your pocket.

On a busy night, even the best-trained employees are under stress and go into survival mode. Instead of upselling, and providing a top-notch customer experience, their No. 1 goal is to take the order, and move on to the next customer as fast as possible. This means more mistakes, and lost profits.

Online Food Ordering System Ordering
An online food ordering system is never in a rush and is always upselling.
Photo: Adobe Stock

4. To improve restaurant operations

Implementing an online food ordering system will create operational efficiencies in your restaurant in three ways.

Improved order accuracy

The responsibility is on the customer to get their order right, and there is no opportunity to misunderstand them on the phone.

Freed-up staff

Your staff isn’t a slave to the telephone with online orders — they can process the order when they have a free moment.

Decreased processing time

Orders are already decided upon and paid for. Pre-payment removes an entire step in your process — and you won’t be stuck on the phone with an indecisive customer who wants you to read your entire menu to them.

5. To collect valuable customer data

A restaurant’s lifeblood is their loyal customer base. However, many restaurants know only their most loyal customers by face and name, and not much beyond that. Online food ordering systems like ChowNow capture your customers’ emails, purchase history and ordering preferences.

This data is invaluable, since you can use it to send targeted promotions to your most valuable customers and get them coming back for more.

Email marketing is a powerful and inexpensive marketing tool for restaurants. You can use ChowNow to collect email addresses, then design beautiful emails and send them out through the email marketing tool that comes built into GoCentral Website Builder.

Online Food Ordering System Laptop
Online ordering systems can collect info you can use to bring customers back.
Photo: ChowNow

Online ordering is not for everyone. If you don’t receive many phone calls for takeout, I would recommend getting your to-go numbers up before implementing an online food ordering system.

If you receive seven+ calls a day for takeout on average, an online food ordering system will give you a competitive edge.

You don’t need to be tech savvy to pull this off. Don’t be intimidated! Do your research and partner with GoDaddy and ChowNow — let GoCentral Website Builder do the heavy lifting for you.

Image by: Davidson Luna on Unsplash

Leah Debes
Leah leads partnerships at ChowNow, where she is passionate about helping local restaurants succeed with the help of technology. On the weekends you can find Leah exploring LA’s west side by bike or hosting bbqs for friends. You can connect with Leah on LinkedIn.