The Top 5 Things Restaurants Should Look for in an Online Ordering System

Today’s customers want great food with excellent service that’s just a tap or click away. Of course, brick-and-mortar restaurants are still in demand — but by adding a new online ordering system, or replacing an older one, restaurants can effectively expand their customer base and increase revenue. 

The proof is in the data. Food Delivery News recently compiled online ordering stats that can’t be ignored: 

  • Online food ordering is expected to be a $200 billion industry by 2025
  • 42% of food purchases are done online
  • 56% of traffic to U.S. food-brand websites is generated by search engines 

With digital ordering growing 300% more than dine-in traffic since 2014 and takeout increasing by 286% in 2020, what could a great online ordering system mean for revenue opportunities at your restaurant?

With many online ordering platform options available, we spoke to two restaurant industry experts inside the Onosys team to gain insight on the top five things to consider when investing in a new online ordering system. 

1) Seamless Brand Experience

While browsing a restaurant’s website, it’s frustrating for customers to jump to a completely different site when it’s time to place an order and pay. Many times, moving from a corporate, branded site, to a templated ordering site that doesn’t look like the restaurant brand they want to order from, can be a jarring customer experience. In fact, some customers are likely to abandon the website at this point, and the sale is lost. It’s important to look for a platform that has the ability to carry the restaurant’s branding across all devices.

“A branded system like Onosys is flexible and configurable to allow almost anything the brand wants. The look, feel, order process, language, presentation of menu and modifiers are all configurable,” says Terry Matthews, Head of Product Management at Onosys. “Whereas the templated approach some of our competitors offer is very rigid. Most of their customer sites look the same while ours carry the restaurant’s brand and vision to their storefront and through the order flow.” 

2) Intuitive User Experience

The simpler the ordering process, the better. Having a clean, modern ordering system means it’s very clear and consistent in how to navigate the menu, select items, make modifications, and then checkout. If the app or website is clunky or it’s not crystal clear where the user needs to go next, it can result in a frustrating ordering experience and even a loss of a sale. 

“An intuitive user experience also leads to better operations at the restaurant,” said Scott Fagan, Senior Account Executive at Onosys. When it comes to loyalty programs, gift cards, payment processors, POS systems, and more, it is essential that each component is seamlessly integrated into the user flow which inevitably leads to a better user experience. It also means one less thing that restaurant operators need to worry about. 

Which leads us into our number 3 thing to look for. 

3) Integration into the POS System and Beyond

Just as the online ordering system should be easy and intuitive for customers, the best system also integrates seamlessly with the restaurant’s other management systems. The online ordering system should integrate existing systems such as the back office, the point of sale (POS), and the kitchen. 

When looking for an online ordering system for your restaurant, it is key to find a solution that is flexible and can integrate seamlessly with any of the major POS, loyalty, payment providers, gift cards, CRM, and delivery service providers that you want to use. 

“Every online ordering system provider has their list of integrations,” said Matthews. “We (Onosys) have been around for a while, so we've developed quite a collection of them. When customers approach us, we typically offer a more capable and seamless integration. But I think the key differentiator with us is that we're willing to jump on integrations and make them happen for our clients. If we don't have something, then we'll add it to our library of partner integrations.”

4) Delivery Service Capabilities 

Food delivery marketplaces and services such as DoorDash, Uber Eats, and GrubHub offer viable options for restaurants looking to launch online ordering operations. Getting started is usually fairly quick and easy.

Some restaurant operators want to be a part of this ecosystem despite the hefty price tag that it brings. These food delivery marketplaces usually charge a commission of 15%-30% on every order. Additionally, restaurant operators need to be aware that these services effectively eliminate the connection between the restaurant and their online guests.

The Onosys platform offers integration with these food delivery marketplaces. The benefits include:

  • Eliminating the need to monitor a counter full of tablets
  • Automating the order flow into operational systems
  • Increased order accuracy and happier guests

For restaurant operators that want to take delivery to the next level, choosing a system that can support the varied needs of guests and the capabilities of the resources available is a must. Onosys first-party online ordering provides powerful in-house delivery and third party delivery service options:

  • Mobilizing an in-house delivery fleet supported by last mile delivery features to manage drivers, dispatch orders, and provide guests with delivery tracking capabilities. An in-house fleet offers the most control over the guest experience.

  • Integrating with delivery service providers (example: DoorDash Drive) to offload the complexity of managing driver fleets and plug into an extensive array of national, regional, and specialized delivery services.

  • Activating a hybrid approach - combining the two methods, restaurants can define rules like delivery zones, distance from restaurant, order value, days/times of the week, staffing levels, and more, to automatically determine the best delivery option for each order.

5) Scalability

Whether a restaurant has one, five, 100, or 1,000 locations, the scalability component of an online ordering system is definitely something to consider. 

“Onosys is truly an enterprise-ready platform,” says Matthews. “There are a number of platforms out there that don't provide scaling capabilities from both a performance and operational efficiency perspective. This means growing restaurant brands have to migrate to a more capable platform later down the track when they should instead be focused on accelerating their growth.”

Find a system that works with your branded restaurant to ensure that as you scale up and as your systems grow, you can take on a new loyalty system or additional franchisees with other payment gateways. Your online ordering system should have the capability to configure it and to deal with all of the various complexities that are out there. 

It’s time to offer a better online ordering experience. Onosys can help.

Onosys is the leading enterprise ready web, mobile app, and call center ordering platform for multi-unit restaurants purpose built by digital transaction experts. Our restaurant clients enjoy building dynamic, user-friendly sites and systems that both customers and operators will love. Complex menus are welcome and are presented in an enticing but simplified way. 

Onosys can build a solution that integrates with the POS, payment, loyalty, gift card, and delivery systems that you love and make it feel like an extension of the restaurant website. Best of all, when support is needed, it’s just a phone call away.

Learn more about Onosys and set up a demo today.

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