Restolabs Guide: Growing your online food business with technology

What does it take to build a successful online food business? Ask restaurateurs and they would respond with something like, “a lot of time, planning, execution skills, and management”. While these skills can’t be obtained but learned, there are a few intangible suits when combined with prowess and proficiency can help make an online food business successful in a short span of time - and one of the most important ones is the “Technology”.

Restaurant technology has been in the limelight for some time now and creating perturbation amongst entrepreneurs who want to make it big in the restaurant industry. The technological advancements in the last decade have been nothing short of challenges that still need resolutions, but if you decide to delve deep, you’d realize that adopting even just basic technologies to gear up day to day operations can make your business profitable, in the early stage itself.

We live in an era where the appetence for technology is growing and will continue to grow regardless. Taking your business online is not an option anymore. It’s a necessity and something that needs to be done in the right way from the very beginning. So what is the right way? How do you ensure that your restaurant becomes profitable without spending a fortune on expensive set-ups, technologies, marketing, and promotions? The answer is simple - Online Ordering for Restaurants.

How online ordering became a necessary part of modern businesses' digital kit

The concept of the dark kitchen is spreading wings, not just in the developed countries, but worldwide. The idea is simple - to cook food purely for delivery, rather than eat-in customers. These delivery-only establishments have no physical restaurant. Their food can only be accessed from their website, mobile app or through third-party aggregators. The benefits of this business model are clear - low overhead costs, low operational costs, limited staff, quick delivery and the ability to set up the kitchen in more than one area without having to deal with the complexities of brick and mortar restaurants. All these benefits in tandem offer a much-needed efficiency boost to restaurant businesses. Reducing overheads whilst simultaneously catering to a wide audience appears to be a win-win for all concerned.

Dark Kitchens are designed to bring the supply closer to the consumers so that delivery is both economical and timely.

Now the most important consideration when setting up a delivery only kitchen is to make your business accessible to your customers. This can be easily done with a user-friendly website and a mobile application that your customers can use to place orders. The low operations costs and extensive marketing potential are two of the most important reasons why restaurants should invest in this technology.

Engaging customers with an efficient online ordering system

Online ordering systems help restaurants to manage their customers, staff and day-to-day operations in several ways. Customer data gathered data from each transaction provide valuable information to the restaurants and help them become more profitable, efficient, and successful in the long run. Which dishes are performing high, what is the busiest time of the day, which is a non-popular dish, what is attracting negative reviews and what is attracting positive – every detail of your business will be available at your fingertips. For instance, based on the data that captures insight on the most and least ordered dishes, a restaurant can plan the product supply as per the demands.

What kind of experience a customer has will likely determine whether or not they’ll order again. The basis for a user-friendly online ordering website and a mobile app is the list of dishes shown with prices and enticing pictures. Good experience equals repeat orders Period.

Customers can have non-interrupted browsing sessions on the website. They can take their time to decide what they want to eat, when they want it to be delivered and how they want to pay for it. A simple, user-friendly online ordering system can help the business to fulfill tech-savvy customer expectations as well as work towards attracting more by increasing the brand’s exposure on various marketing channels.

Many people spend all day on their smartphones. Providing them with the online ordering option puts your restaurant in their path.

Not just increased engagement, but sales too!

Online ordering systems for restaurants can augment your online sales in numerous ways. With a strong online presence, increased customer reviews, reward systems, and personalized approach, people looking to connect with new restaurants will be able to relate with yours with ease. The whole idea is to be proactive with your approach to customer engagement. They should be informed about new promotions, loyalty rewards and other assets that would make them feel welcomed and valued by your restaurant.

With a good online experience, people start relating to your food and brand all the more. Your loyal customers will feel obliged to speak about your food and service quality on their social media. For instance, if you have a referral program, they might also instigate friend and family to download the app so everyone can benefit while ordering food from your restaurant.

Feedback sharing on the website, app or even social media also plays magic in influencing people and has the potential to double the website visits within hours. If you are rated well on a review website, then there will be a chance that people can order from your restaurant at once!

Invest Wisely

For an online ordering system that works wonders for your restaurant – it should be a robust, feature-heavy platform that is also easy to adopt – it shouldn’t be a technological burden on you or your staff. The key to delivering a streamlined online ordering experience to your customers is to make sure that the online food ordering platform you choose aligns with your restaurant’s core needs.

Here’s our list of the top five things you should consider when choosing an online ordering partner:

1. Ability to customize

The goal of any online ordering system is to make the ordering and delivery process as seamless as possible. When you’re choosing a partner that provides you with online food ordering, make sure it allows you to customize your website and app to match the visual identification of your restaurant’s brand. This feature is also crucial to generate customer loyalty and increase sales.

2. Simple and quick ordering

Look for a software solution that provides ease of use in terms of sign-up, ordering, and payment. Having the ability to log in via Facebook or Google will help your restaurant capture more orders. Many online systems offer multiple ordering points, such as from your Facebook page. Such add-ons can make ordering easier for busy diners.

In addition, it is important to split it the ordering process into as few steps as possible - from the moment of browsing the menu to finalizing the order and making the final payment. Customers also expect the possibility of paying quickly online. Make sure the system seamlessly integrates with multiple payment options.

3. Ease of integration

Most online ordering systems provide ease of integration with POS (Point of Sale) systems, analytics tools, and social media. This will help you cut down a few complexities such order errors, inventory management, sales numbers, data analysis, marketing automation and so on. By having the order injected directly into your existing system, the online order can be handled just like any other order in your restaurant and the results will be more measurable.

4. Fees and costs

The only user interface, user-friendliness, and user experience are not the only factor to consider when choosing the online food ordering system. It is also important to measure the ROI of the system. Each solution requires some implementation, maintenance, and improvement costs.

Food ordering systems should make money for you and more than that should stay in sync with your budget. Subscription solution works best for restaurants running on a budget. After launching, you only have to pay a monthly fixed amount, independent of the value of orders.

5. Keep up with the innovation

It is important to partner with a solution provider that invests in continual innovation. Look for a track record of the past enhancements and upgrades and ask about the future upgrades. You’ll want to make sure you partner with a company that is going to bring new solutions that will make your restaurant stay ahead of the competition.

Remember these top tips

Looking at the pace, online ordering is growing. For a restaurant owner, incremental sales should be the focus of the year-over-year strategy and for this, it is a crucial decision to choose the right partner for implementing an online ordering system. Remember all these tips to make sure you choose only the best online food ordering app for your restaurant.

Wondering where can you find such a solution. Look no beyond.

Restolabs is an online food ordering platform that checks off all five of the boxes above - providing you a turnkey solution. If you want to launch your restaurant online, contact us now and we’ll be happy to help you sell food online.