Modern restaurateurs have experienced a significant problem—shifting consumer behaviors. In the contemporary, omnichannel-restaurant world, convenience is king. Failure to understand how customers’ preferences and actions affect ordering decisions will lead to lost opportunities and higher costs. However, the food industry is evolving to offer something more, including the rise of integrated, online catering ordering, to provide an added layer of service and capability. According to Restaurant Business, catering is a $58 billion industry, and as restaurateurs look for ways to overcome declining profits, catering is the natural solution. In fact, catering is expected to grow through 2021, leaving the catering standards of the past behind.
What’s Wrong With Traditional Catering Ordering Capabilities?
Traditional catering capabilities involve a lengthy, manual process. Orders are taken in person, on the phone, or even by email. It is a continuous stream of communications, and although everything may look correct, errors could still occur. The restaurant representative may make an error in entering the event and catering details in the computer or point of sale system. Meanwhile, costing out meals for catering represents another challenge, leading most caterers to focus on a single dish for the event. Yet, consumers want convenience. If they cannot get their favorite foods catered, even when those individual dishes differ, they will turn to a third-party platform or other third-party delivery options.
Online Catering Ordering Integration Is the Next Stage of the Omnichannel Restaurant
The real threat of traditional catering exists in the form of third-party aggregators. Since customers can order anything through third-party services, they’ve lost much of the incentive to cater their events with a single restaurant. Instead of hoping for the best, restaurateurs can take the upper hand in offering online catering ordering. Online catering eliminates the middleman in a sense, and it restores power to the hands of consumers. When an order is ready to be placed, consumers bear the responsibility of validating its details. Of course, confirmation calls and emails are friendly, but even these processes can be automated with advanced restaurant management platforms.
Benefits of Online Catering Integration in Omnichannel Operations
The benefits of online catering integration and implementation are significant. They include:
- Order catering in advance. Online catering ordering in an omnichannel restaurant environment is only as good as how quickly consumers can complete a catering request or order. For big events, waiting until the day of the event is downright impossible, not to mention costly. Online capabilities allow consumers to order catering well in advance of their events, refining the menu and ensuring the day of the event will proceed uninhibited.
- Fewer opportunities for errors in catering scheduling. Errors are another area that online catering ordering can address. Since consumers are in control of the order, the risk of errors during order entry or when completing the catering meal prep decreases.
- Less stress in customizing catering for customers. Since consumers can take their own time and review catering options around the clock through the Internet, it’s become a less stressful factor in handling any catering need. For example, businesses can cater corporate events or luncheons, and family gatherings can take on a new meaning with online catering ordering.
- More flexibility and menu options. Traditional catering is often limited to specific menu options and family-style meals. However, online capabilities allow for more flexibility and menu options in catering, including allowing guests to choose their meals in advance for individual preparation.
- Optimized catering payment processing. Streamlined payment processing is another key benefit of online catering ordering. Instead of waiting until the event to pay for service, guests could reserve the catering service and authorize payment at the time of the event. As a result, restaurateurs see less risk of cancellations or other adverse acts.
- Natural marketing opportunity. Since consumers are already using the website for catering ordering, it creates a natural opportunity to market additional products, services, or menu options to consumers as well.
Reap the Rewards of Integrated Catering Ordering Now
The rewards of integrated online catering ordering are too high to ignore. POS Integration eliminates the concerns and challenges of traditional catering and optimizes catering planning and delivery. Of course, online catering requires investment in modern capabilities and integration between systems and kitchens. Get your restaurant portfolio on the path to success by contacting Tacit online now.