With the backdrop of COVID, it’s more important than ever operators can rely on an online ordering solution that suits their needs both now and into the future. From switching on and off different types of customer journeys such as to-go and curbside collection, to having the right pricing model, many operators are finding that not all online ordering solutions are created equal.
We lift the lid on some of the most important aspects of today’s digital ordering tech that operators should be looking for to operate effectively in the new normal.
Many brands are under immense pressure to explore and capitalize on new revenue channels and are looking at customer journeys they hadn’t previously considered. Traditional dine-in operators are suddenly looking for digital ordering systems that allows their guests to buy online to-go or for delivery. When restaurants started reopening, brands had to assess instore operations to ensure the safety of their staff and guests. Consequently, demand for order to table using the guest’s own mobile increased; its use means reduced contact with staff and potentially contaminated objects such as menus, payment devices and money.
Curbside collection is another journey that has gained popularity under new operating restrictions. Brands have experienced an increase in demand for new ways to order and pick-up food that require minimum contact with staff and other guests. By adjusting current drive-thru layouts or making use of existing parking lots, brands have been able to drive significant revenues through this journey. But more on that later…
When exploring digital ordering market, operators should bear in mind a technology’s ability to support these different journeys. A delivery option may be all that is needed for now, but should market conditions change – as they have done repeatedly this year – the option to use the same platform to power curbside, to-go and to-table, for example, will be invaluable.
Not only should an online ordering platform support multiple journeys, you should be able to toggle these journeys on and off, as and when your situation changes. Consider local lockdowns. Operators have had to flip between instore digital solutions, such as order to table and pay at table, when their dining rooms are open, and then to-go, delivery and curbside collection when forced to close them again.
The New York Times has published a map showing which states are open, pausing their re-opening or reimposing restrictions. Any large brand with stores across the nation needs an online ordering solution flexible enough to turn journeys on and off by individual store, according to the status of restrictions stores in that State are under.
We mentioned curbside collection earlier and it’s a journey worth exploring a little more now. It’s a feature of QikServe’s online ordering platform that has proved invaluable to many operators since launch in April this year. It allows customers that have bought food to go, to stay in their car while operators can easily locate them for on-site/near-site delivery.
Guests just select ‘curbside collection’ when ordering. They then choose a collection time, provide their licence plate and vehicle color. These details are then sent with their order straight to the operator’s ordering screen and will appear on printed receipts. The feature allows operators to quickly identify the vehicle they need to deliver items to. In 3 months, one of our customers achieved almost $6m in curbside collection orders When changing online ordering supplier or if you’re a first-time buyer, we recommend choosing a platform that offers curbside collection if you have the operational means to offer this journey (e.g. parking spaces outside premises etc).
Ensuring a platform is optimized to ‘make people spend more’ is crucial to maximizing revenue. Features a brand needs to be on the lookout for include:
- Modifiers. Offering customers different size options for an item.
- Promotions. Set-up individual or group promotion codes to encourage spend or entice unengaged customers back.
- Push notifications. Alert customers to special offers or filter out customers who have spent the most with you, offering them a reward for their loyalty.
- Scheduled menus. Display certain menus at specific times of the day, for example, breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.
From live revenue metrics, customer data, history and spending habits, to customizable reports and stock management, having the ability to quickly see the performance of an online ordering solution is vital for optimizing operations and revenue. It allows brands to minimize the time between an incident and action.
For example, insights on stock control allows the operator to update menu options in real-time. With menus that changes regularly and the potential for items to run out during peak times, they can update menus as required. Additionally, data gathered by more sophisticated online ordering platforms allows operators to gauge the popularity of new, limited edition or seasonal items. This means brands can try out new products before committing them to menus permanently.
These are just a few of the things an operator needs to consider when looking at an online ordering solution. One major factor we’ve not covered here is pricing. Check out this recent article outlining different ways suppliers price their solutions as it will likely be key in any purchasing decision.
If you’re an operator looking to either start your digital ordering journey or considering moving supplier, come and talk to us. We can get you set-up quickly and our simple, transparent pricing means we’re a much more affordable than some of the other players currently in the market.