For foodservice companies, ordering food online is becoming more significant, especially among the generations that have grown around smartphones’ rise. QSR Magazine reported, “digital natives are, overall, more likely than older consumers to order meals using self-serve kiosks within quick-service restaurants, and 56% said they placed a food delivery or takeout order using a restaurant app or website at some point in the past year. Six out of 10 millennials in the NRA’s study also reported that they’d like restaurants to use technology to provide more detailed information about food, such as nutrition, allergens, and sourcing. And they want it to be easier to pay; some 60% of millennials want it to be easier to both order and give payment via technology.” Unfortunately, restaurants still face challenges in creating a profitable digital strategy. These companies need to stay in business, and one of the ways to do that is by offering the option of ordering food online. Digital take-out orders and technology-immersive dine-in options could be what saves them.
What’s Wrong With Traditional Ordering
Traditional ordering had its strengths—particularly the ability to interact with customers in real-time and in person. Unfortunately, that model is rapidly dwindling as customers express a flat-out need for digital food ordering. According to QSR Magazine, the digital ordering industry is on track to surpass $38 billion in 2020. Clearly, customers need digital options for food ordering, so they can continue to get the food they love and patronize their favorite businesses. But there can be some severe issues with the wrong kinds of digital ordering options.
Problems can include slow speeds, a lack of data, limited predictability, the inability to automate reporting, running online options based on the demand in the physical store, and a failure to accommodate contactless ordering. Worse still, siloes of restaurant technology, like an analog cash register or a terminal-based point-of-sale (POS), even if that POS works on a computer, can lead to problems. If the systems are disparate, meaning they cannot share data and communicate, inefficiencies will arise.
For example, some digital ordering systems may not integrate with the existing digital POS. Or the payment processing system may not integrate with one or the other. Of course, additional challenges arise, such as a missing white-label capability, detracting from your brand. And other systems may be incapable of connecting to your loyalty program.
While these problems may seem minor, they eat away at the profitability and efficiency that true digital ordering offers. Without integration, the business is faced with an exhaustive process of coding menus two or more times, setting up additional accounts with another payment processing company, which adds another fee, and more.
Even assuming the business can achieve an integrated digital ordering status, the powerful third-party delivery aggregators may still charge exuberant commissions that render digital ordering and third-party delivery profitless. That’s a lot of problems. Those issues are not going to go away without the right type of quality services for ordering food online or understanding how digital ordering can create new value opportunities. Remember that digital ordering is supposed to streamline operations, not add extra costs and become nightmarish server maintenance scenarios.
Digital Services and Ordering Food Online Create New Opportunities
Foodservice companies that set their customers up for ordering food online help those customers get what they need. Customer loyalty is increased that way, and digital services can also pave the way for things like faster food prep and delivery. With delivery becoming the norm instead of an added feature or benefit, foodservice companies have to change the way they do things in order to continue to remain strong and financially healthy in a world that’s been forever adjusted.
According to an article in Restaurant Business, “Delivery apps remain popular. The top three or four food and drink apps for Apple and Android users, for instance, are all delivery apps, besting the popular Starbucks and McDonald’s apps.” With the strength and growth of delivery apps, your foodservice company has the ability to continue to develop its presence through digital options for ordering food online.
As further explained by a past Tacit client, “creating new value to our guests means looking beyond the traditions of ordering and evolving into a digital, contactless experience. Customers and employees both benefit from contactless digital ordering. And the advances in digital ordering are allowing our company to test new menu items, tap new markets, and much more.”
How Foodservice Companies Should Leverage Digital Ordering Online
When foodservice companies want to leverage the power of ordering food online, there are some specific things they can do to increase their success. Among these changes include the following tips:
- Create a branded website or app that works across all devices. Customers must know where to go when they want to order, and that they can easily place their order no matter what device they’re using.
- Integrate the POS with the digital ordering platform. It’s not just about ordering food digitally, because payment should be easy, fast, and seamless. The integration of everything in one place is the key to that. That integration between existing POS platforms and new technologies, including digital ordering resources, allows for faster management and less time spent learning the nuances of an individual system.
- Give guests the option to order with dine-in, self-serve digital kiosks. Having options really matters, and people want and need to feel like their favorite foodservice places are concerned about their wellbeing and ability to order what they need. At the same time, kiosks save time and seamlessly share orders with the kitchen.
- Think about the need to process payments with contactless options. Especially with the pandemic, more and more foodservice businesses are moving to contactless possibilities for payment. If a company can process payments that way, customers are more likely to stay happy. And, eliminating the need to work with yet another payment provider keeps overhead expenses in check, as well as streamlines reporting and accounting processes.
- Let analytics and reporting functions manage foodservice back-office processes. The back-office processes can take a lot of time, and that time can be better spent doing other essential things that are more customer-facing.
- Consider creating ghost kitchens. By having a ghost kitchen, the customer-facing side of the dining experience is eliminated and food can be made and set up for delivery much faster to keep the process flowing and orders going out to customers.
Create Profitable Operations With Digital Food Ordering
The right solutions for ordering food online matter. If your foodservice business wants to be profitable and keep customers happy, digital food ordering solutions are the way to go. Explore the integrated platform solutions for ordering and payment Tacit can provide to your company. Contact Tacit online to get started on the path toward a better-quality relationship with your staff, your customers, and your stakeholders.