Person ordering food online using an online food ordering system set up by a restaurant

The Complete Guide to Setting Up Online Food Ordering at Your Restaurant

The reality is that your restaurant can't make money from the online food ordering boom without a customer-friendly online food ordering system in place. Here's what you need to know about online food ordering:

"Guests of the future will demand technology. If you’re not doing business through a phone or tablet — whether it’s delivery, online ordering or even your tableside POS — you could find your business struggling, our panel suggests."

What is an online food ordering system?

Online food ordering systems allow your customers to place their orders using an online system. Typically, customers access an interactive menu that’s published on your website, your social media, or an app that you’ve created. Then, they simply place their order before submitting it to your kitchen. Payment is processed online when the order is placed.

It’s contactless to this point, convenient, quick, and easy. And North Americans rely on it more heavily now than ever before!

Importantly, quality online food ordering systems allow your customers to place orders using their computers, tablets or their mobile phone. Convenience is the name of the game, so the experience needs to be seamless across all devices.

Online ordering illustration graphic of a hand holding a mobile phone using an online ordering system

The benefits of online food ordering

Increases in the number of restaurants offering online food ordering to their customers has led to a large increase in the number of people regularly eating take out orders. A 2017 American survey forecasted 12% annual growth (up to $76 billion in 2022) in the online food order market.

Beyond the incredible potential for growth, online food ordering also:

  • Opens your doors to more customers
  • Reduces the number of errors from out-of-house orders
  • Is more efficient
  • Offers a better customer experience
  • Gives you insights into your customers’ habits
  • Drives intelligent business decision making
  • Results in incremental revenue increases.

The 3 steps you need to take to set up online food ordering at your restaurant

The initial setup for online food ordering at your restaurant requires careful planning. But, by following this quick guide, your online ordering integration will be as seamless as your customer service. 

Here’s what you do:

Step 1: Prepare your front of house for online orders

If you aren’t integrating a completely contactless food pickup system, your front of house will need to be ready for online orders. You’ll need to:

  • Create a dedicated space for waiting (including signage);
  • Develop a system for keeping your front-of-house updated about order status; and
  • Ensure there are intelligent traffic flows (that your team know about) so online order pickups don’t impact the quality of the experience for other diners.

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Step 2: Prepare your kitchen for online ordering

Your kitchen will need to adopt processes so your team can keep up with online demand. That means ensuring your kitchen display system won’t result in missed out-of-house orders. And recognizing trends so you have enough inventory on hand, plus the staff to prepare the food.

That’s where technology-enabled kitchens have the upper hand. An intelligent POS system can schedule your staff, automate your inventory management, and ensure your orders are plated up correctly and on time.

Step 3: Create a marketing plan to promote online ordering

Marketing is complex – and what works for one restaurant might not work for yours. But, knowledge is power. And, with the right POS (and a loyalty program), you can intelligently collect data from your customers to offer them personalized service and highly-tailored promotions that will keep them coming back.

Be sure to let your customers know that your restaurant offers all the latest and greatest tech – from online ordering to tracked food delivery services to completely contactless food pickup.

Marketing strategy infographic

What is the best online food ordering system?

The best online food ordering system for your restaurant is the one that keeps your kitchen organized and your customers happy.

It should do this by ensuring the ordering process is quick, easy, and clear for potential customers. Rewards for customer loyalty are also important, since people are 75% more likely to make another purchase after receiving a loyalty incentive.

Truffle POS: The All-In-One POS for Online Food Ordering

Truffle POS is the all-in-one POS system your restaurant needs. Your customers will love the simple, streamlined online ordering system for its convenience and for how easy it is to use. Your staff will love the time it saves and how easy it makes managing orders.

You’ll love the extra visibility, increase in ordering, new customers, and better profits that come with having an online food ordering system.

Book a free demo to see our complete POS for online ordering in action!

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