According to the 2024 Restaurant Technology Landscape Report, 84 percent of adults from different generations (Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers) are comfortable ordering food deliveries using restaurant websites.

Meanwhile, 80 percent are comfortable ordering through smartphone apps, and 71 percent are comfortable ordering through third-party services like Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats, or Postmates.

These findings highlight the growing preference for online ordering systems in restaurants.

However, 76 percent of restauranteurs believe they could do more to keep up with the tech front despite gaining a competitive edge from using restaurant tech.

So, how can you revamp your restaurant tech with online ordering systems? What are their benefits, and how do you set them up efficiently?

Read on to learn more.

Advantages of Online Ordering Systems for Restaurants

Online ordering systems let diners place food delivery orders online. They enable customers to browse menus, place orders, and make contactless payments at their convenience.

For restaurant owners like you, these mechanisms help you process online food orders, track sales, and manage inventory more efficiently.

Here are the advantages of employing an online ordering system for your restaurant:

Straightforward ordering process

Traditionally, diners make calls to place orders or go to drive-throughs for takeouts. However, these methods can sometimes incur errors, making them a challenging option for people with busy lifestyles.

With an online ordering system, you can ensure customers place their orders accurately because they have time to review them before checkout. They can also add special instructions, such as requests for specific toppings or ingredient removal.

This straightforward ordering process helps your staff process orders quickly and efficiently. As a result, you can keep up with the demand and minimize long wait times, particularly during peak hours.

Enhanced order management efficiency

An online ordering platform can help you take and process more online orders with less staff.

This efficiency helps free up employees for other tasks, such as customer service, food preparation, table cleaning, and wholesale orders from suppliers.

Thus, you won’t have to worry about overstaffing or understaffing, ensuring your restaurant operates smoothly at all times.

Data collection

An online ordering system lets you collect valuable data about your customers’ ordering habits and preferences. You can use this information to make informed decisions that enhance customer service and drive repeat business.

For example, you can use the data to see and analyze frequently ordered items. This assessment helps ensure you always have stock for the products. You can even assess the busiest times to optimize staffing and resource allocation.

Additionally, the data can help you develop personalized marketing campaigns. These campaigns include targeted promotions or discounts based on spending preferences.

Flexible menu changes

Online ordering offers flexible menu changes. You can easily add, remove, or update items without reprinting new menus.

This benefit can help you save time, money, and resources. It also helps keep customers interested and entice prospects by offering new and enticing products.

You can experiment with new dishes to see what customers like best. Moreover, you can introduce limited-time offers or special promotions to create a sense of urgency and encourage repeat visits.

This way, you can boost your restaurant’s adaptability and responsiveness to trends.

Real-time order tracking

An online ordering platform lets customers and restaurants track all orders in real time.

Because of the transparency, it’s a win-win situation for both parties. Diners can view the status of their orders, and if there are delays, you can notify them immediately. This can easily set customer expectations.

At the same time, you can ensure that everything is running smoothly, preventing delays and miscommunication and keeping the kitchen organized.

Direct customer service

Online ordering systems help enhance customer service by providing customers with a direct contact point for concerns or questions.

These contact points include live chat and frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Live chat lets customers receive immediate assistance with issues, ensuring they feel supported throughout their ordering experience.

Meanwhile, FAQs provide quick answers to common questions. This readily available information allows customers to navigate the ordering system more efficiently.

Integration and scalability

You can integrate an online ordering system into your existing restaurant tech. This integration helps establish a more seamless ordering experience.

It can also expand your restaurant’s reach without increasing labor costs, which means more orders but less work for the staff.

Moreover, many online ordering platforms are scalable, letting you customize the system to meet the needs of your growing business and the evolving industry.

This scalability ensures the system can handle the influx of order volumes without compromising performance and customer experience.

How To Set Up an Online Ordering System for Restaurants

Here’s how to set up an online ordering system for your restaurant:

Use your restaurant website and mobile app

Accepting orders through your restaurant website or mobile app lets customers place orders directly from you, maintaining an in-house process. You maintain direct contact with customers and get all the profits because you’re in control.

How to build a restaurant website and mobile app

If you don’t have a website and mobile app yet, here’s how to create them:

  • You can use a website builder or an open-source web content management system (WCMS) like WordPress to create a website. These platforms don’t require advanced tech skills, letting you quickly build a website through pre-built templates and widgets.
  • For your mobile app, you can use a restaurant app builder. App builders have a complete set of ready-to-use templates that don’t require advanced tech skills to customize.

Remember that you need to sign up for these services. Also, although many templates are free, others are paid.

Sign up on a third-party online ordering app

A third-party online ordering service is an option if you can’t afford in-house management.

Third-party online ordering services include DoorDash, GrubHub, and Uber Eats.

To get started, choose the service that aligns with your goals. Then, go to their website and fill out the sign-up form with details about your restaurant.

Afterward, the information will be passed on to the app team for approval. Once approved, you can start receiving orders through the app.

You can use multiple third-party online ordering services, but be mindful of managing the orders across platforms. Also, these services take a cut of your earnings, e.g., service fee as a percentage of your orders.

Use a first-party online ordering system with POS functions

Another option is a first-party online ordering takeaway with point-of-sale (POS) functions like SpotOn. You can manage your menu, orders, and payments without the high percentage-based commissions of third-party services.

Other benefits of first-party online ordering systems with POS include:

  • Online ordering page setup and 24/7 customer support
  • Menu integration with Google Business Profile
  • Ability to control the pace of your ordering process
  • Orders are transmitted directly to your kitchen display system (KDS)
  • Ownership of customer information and ordering data
  • Real-time menu updates

Other Essential Aspects To Remember

When choosing an online ordering system, remember the following tips:

Perform local research

An online ordering system with a significant local presence will help you increase customers and community visibility. For example, if you know your local customers mostly use a third-party service, there is value in getting listed on that platform because that’s where potential guests can find you.

This is why it’s imperative to perform local research. It can help you choose the system that matches your restaurant’s needs.

Local research also helps you tailor your offers to meet the specific preferences of your local customer base. Moreover, you can design promotions that resonate with the local culture.

With these informed decisions, you can keep your restaurant adaptable and competitive.

Sign up for free trials or request demos

After researching, request demos or sign up for free trials on your chosen platforms. These assessments will help you understand the following features:

  • Commission fees
  • Monthly rates
  • Customization
  • Data collection
  • Delivery options
  • Ordering experience

These factors can impact customers’ purchasing decisions. At the same time, they will help you determine if they can encourage repeat business.

Ensure the system integrates with your existing tech seamlessly

Integration with your existing restaurant tech is crucial in running a smooth online ordering process

You must ensure seamless integration to enhance accuracy, reduce downtimes, and increase efficiency. This unified process will allow your team to focus on order execution rather than manual management.

At the same time, you can maintain accurate inventory levels, sales records, and customer data, reducing the likelihood of miscommunication and operational hiccups.

Future-Proof Your Restaurant With an Online Ordering System

Implementing an online ordering system is a strategic move that can help position your restaurant for long-term and sustainable success.

Revamp your restaurant tech with an online ordering system today to streamline operations, enhance customer experience, and boost your revenue potential.

This way, you can ensure your restaurant adapts and thrives in the digital marketplace.