A benefit frequently spoken of in relation to the adoption of an online ordering is the impact it has on operations and staff productivity. With shortened queues to manage, a reduction in orders taken by phone and tickets automatically sent to the kitchen, order ahead services save businesses valuable time. That time can be reinvested in other areas of the business, boosting business profitability. Similarly, when online ordering is used on-site, it frees up waiting staff, reduces order errors and streamlines payments.
But as great as these benefits are, you can reduce friction and enhance business productivity even further with just a few small changes.
Thousands of restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels, cafes and takeaways have adopted technologies to help them through a difficult 2020. New ordering systems, reservation platforms and loyalty solutions have all been brought in to meet the need for social distancing and to reduce business operating costs. Without these, many more businesses would have gone under during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While responding speedily and launching digitally driven services was absolutely the right thing to do this year, it has meant that the usual planning and due diligence processes has frequently been pushed to the side. Platforms haven’t been fully integrated and therefore performance hasn’t been optimised. To ensure that the technology suite is performing to the best of its abilities, an audit of the ecosystem is recommended. This will expose holes and opportunities for tools to provide greater value.
Reduce friction points
Using an order-to-table technology customers can choose their meal and pay for it without interacting with waiting staff. Undoubtedly this saves significant time for the customer and the business – but it’s always worth reviewing the friction points within the solution and investigating whether they can be reduced. No two platforms are the same. To ensure a streamlined guest experience, for example, look for platforms requiring very few screens to take the guest from the opening page through to final payment.
Further, consider how regularly customers eating on-site place an initial order, and then a second or even third later in their meal. It’s common for guests to hold back on ordering desserts and second rounds of drinks until they’re done with their initial dishes. If this happens regularly, it might be better to use an ordering solution that opens a digital tab for the guest – asking them to pay just once, at the end of their experience, rather than with every fresh round of orders. Offering this option can also result in a higher spend per customer as, psychologically, they feel more able to order that dessert, bottle of wine or coffee they’ve been umming about.
Clear marketing and signage
A simple way to reduce friction that is so easily overlooked is having clear marketing and signage. Frequently, a guest walks into a venue and has no idea that an ordering technology is available. Why? Because there’s nothing visual to make them aware. Additionally, while many of the younger generations are digitally native, businesses must not forget that a significant portion of the population isn’t so comfortable with mobile technologies and may need support the first time they use the service.
It can be time consuming sending staff across to every table to introduce the service, and then again to answer questions about how the platform works. Doing so also negates the social distancing that the platform currently supports. A table talker that includes clear instructions on accessing the service and step-by-step instructions on the ordering process will reduce questions, streamlining and enhancing the guest experience for everyone.
QikServe’s technology, marketing and support teams are ready to support customers as they adopt and implement an ordering service in their business. Talk to our experts about optimising the online ordering experience for guests today.