For the entrepreneurs looking to grow their off-premise operations; online-ordering business from catering, takeout, and delivery is a smart choice.
But, catering operation is a high-stress job with demanding clients. To run a catering business successfully, you need to put in very long hours. And on top of that, you also need the flexibility to work at different locations. Catering will demand you to put more than 10-15 hour days, starting from the preparation to completing the job.
Due to the unique nature of catering many business owners face problems.
When it comes to online ordering for restaurants there are many software providers in the market who can take care of the job. A good online-ordering software will easily integrate with your POS and also manage your deliveries.
Sadly, there are very few options when it comes to online-ordering software for a catering business.
Online-ordering for catering is a hugely neglected domain because the software requires a lot of customizations and a generic online-ordering software that works superbly for a restaurant will not work for a catering business.
First of all, let us understand how an online ordering system works for a catering business.
It is a lot different when it comes to catering management. The software books orders after checking the calendar of the caterer. If an order has been placed on a particular date then the software will redirect the user to place the order on a different date. In this way, the software makes sure that you aren’t overbooked and ensures that you are booked for only 1 event for a particular day.
But in the case of the restaurants online there can be a lot of online orders for a day. This is the reason for a lot of confusion. And it is due to this reason there is a lack of online ordering softwares for catering businesses.
A good online ordering software, with the backing of a robust customer care, will easily provide customizations required for your catering business. It will easily integrate your menu with your website and also provide features like advance ordering, cost analytics and active coupons promotion campaign for your business.
Your catering business would tackle very different projects. These orders would be different in terms of volume. This leads us to a very crucial aspect of the catering business - Measuring the ingredients required for every received order.
With data and experience, one can develop the sense to measure the ingredients for each order appropriately.
But with so many orders every month it becomes an arduous task and we wish there could be an easy way to prepare such vast quantities of food without any wastage/shortage.
An online ordering software can take care of this problem by applying technology to provide an analysis of the ingredients for every order.
The software works in a fascinating way. Upon receiving the order from the customer, it determines the size of the order and calculates the ingredients that would be required for preparing the order. And with this analysis, you will also be able to see the cost involved.
The software will calculate the amount of raw materials (ingredients) required for the order and simultaneously display the price for procuring the materials.
The system will also account for the labor and other utilities that would be required to prepare the order.
And all of this would be achieved from the dashboard of the software. You will have access to all the information that is required to “run your business from your fingertips ”. A robust ingredient-cost analysis will provide a clear view of your margins.
A good online ordering software for catering will make business and life a lot easier.
A lot of potential customers are put off by additional costs that come with catering orders. When people see extra costs at the checkout stage they are annoyed and usually abandon the cart.
Since we are talking about larger quantities of food, there is a minimum ticket per order that needs to be realized to make the order viable for the business. And there are other factors like delivery/equipment charges that need to be borne by the customer.
The best way to tackle this issue is to be upfront about the charges. Do not hide the charges and add them at the checkout stage. A good online ordering software would take care of these issues for you. It will ensure that the customer is informed about the minimum ticket value and any other service charges that need to be born by the customer.
Online ordering platforms are built optimally for up/cross selling your products. You can easily use the software to increase your profit margins.
You can increase the maximum order ticket by providing extra services upon certain quantities of orders. For e.g. you can provide a waiter for a minimum order for 50 plates. You can also use the software to cross-sell different items on your menu. For e.g. you can provide side dishes at a lower price if the order exceeds a certain value.
When it comes to catering we also need to account for logistics of packaging, cooling/heating equipment, and transportation. These are the vital parts that support a catering business.
An online ordering software for catering also helps you to account for all the logistics involved right from preparing the order to delivering it to the customer. For a catering business owner, an online ordering software provides great value. It takes care of all the other things so you can cook the best food.
Let us quickly review the solutions we discussed in the article, earlier.
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