This week we are sharing two more lessons that we learned while the restaurant industry as a whole was trying to figure out operations, customer service, and customer experience during a pandemic.
2020 and into 2021 has pushed QSR and restaurants to really take a deep look at their online ordering solutions and how they impact not only revenue but also customer experience and loyalty. Both the mobile experience as well as guest trust became crucial deciding factors for customers looking to purchase their next meal.
Dedicated online ordering solutions are worth the investment
First-party solutions work better than third-party options
Here are two more observations to consider as you assess your current online ordering platform and plan for 2022.
Not all online ordering solutions are equal.
The best online ordering solutions keep up with the challenges of constantly changing restaurant environments. Quality online ordering solutions can accommodate many use cases:
Multiple locations with different pricing needs
Rotating and seasonal menus
Catering and large order features
Frequent updates based on product availability throughout the day
When evaluating online ordering solutions, consider these questions:
Can the solution integrate with existing technology, like POS systems, loyalty, giftcards, payment processors, etc.?
Can the customer easily customize entrees and other items?
Do orders arrive in the kitchen in a way that makes sense and doesn’t interrupt flow?
Does mobile ordering work well?
Great online ordering solutions focus on the user experience. Customers who can’t figure out a mobile online ordering interface will simply turn to the 3rd party marketplace app or consider another restaurant. The same is true for customers with specific dietary needs and preferences. If they can’t select toppings or make adjustments, they’ll find a restaurant that allows for these options.
As your restaurant operation changes, so do your requirements. That’s why it’s critical to pick a partner that can grow with you and adapt to your specific business needs.
Guest trust and comfort matters.
Have you found it challenging to maintain guest trust and comfort during the massive switch to curbside pickup?
During the pandemic, many diners were hesitant to go inside to pick up orders, even briefly. Restaurants began offering curbside pickup as a safer alternative. Larger chains like Chili’s and Applebee’s had been offering curbside well before the pandemic, but by and large, it wasn’t something customers expected. It was certainly not something that most restaurants offered as a matter of course.
Enterprising restaurants came up with creative ideas to bring the restaurant experience to the customer when they couldn’t dine inside, and to drive check size for would-be diners:
Bundled menu options geared toward families or multi-meal pickups
Heat-and-eat options — restaurants helping stressed out customers get a special, “normal” meal on the table
Social media campaigns where restaurants promoted curbside and online ordering options
No matter which approach restaurants decided to take to shift their business models, one factor has been crucial: online ordering. Industry watchers anticipate customers will continue expecting quality online ordering experiences across nearly every category, including fast casual and QSR.
Many of these customers hadn’t used online ordering to a significant degree before the pandemic but are now hooked on the convenience and comfort of ordering their favorite restaurants from their home.
It’s critical that the onsite and online expectations of the customer journey are consistent. From the order flow to checkout, customers should trust both experiences. Look for an online ordering solution that:
Provides accurate and current menu prices
Has an intuitive interface that easily leads the customer through the ordering process
Offers online account where guest can login and look at prior orders and check the status of loyalty rewards
Supports online payment and gift card options
Reflects an accurate product menu at all times
Allows for customization and customer notes
It’s time to offer a better online ordering experience. Onosys can help.
Our team will get to know you and your menu, building a dynamic, user-friendly solution your customers and staff will love. Not only do we welcome complex menus, we help our clients present them in the best ways.
Forget about third-party partners that aren’t interested in true partnerships. Onosys can build a solution that integrates with your existing POS and make it feel like an extension of your website. Best of all, when you need support, we’re a phone call away.