online ordering

Can you improve your restaurant’s online ordering system?

As off-premise dining stays popular among consumers, operators can differentiate themselves and raise the bar on the customer experience with a better online ordering system. According to TouchBistro’s 2024 Diner Trends Report, 31 per cent of Canadians are ordering delivery and takeout every week, and that’s up from 25 per cent in 2022.

Today, online ordering represents about 23 per cent of all orders, and customers who order online are 67 per cent more likely to visit that restaurant. With 42 per cent of Canadian consumers using only first-party delivery, operators need to offer a superior online ordering experience as a way to get ahead and build the business.

Keep it simple

With online ordering, often guests cannot ask questions, so be as clear as possible. Make your menu easy to find, and simple to navigate – frustrated customers will give up and go elsewhere. Creating a smaller menu dedicated to takeout and delivery can ease some of the pressure on the kitchen for faster, more efficient service. If your dishes cater to food sensitivities, or contain common allergy ingredients, ensure that this is clearly marked on each dish, so customers know exactly what they are ordering.

Use AI

There are tons of tech tools to make your life easier, from POS systems to loyalty apps, but AI can help you improve the online guest ordering experience. Features like chatbots can take over order-taking, answer questions, and dispatch drivers to make the online ordering process simple and seamless for you and your guests.

AI can also help you collect information that will make the next customer experience even better. Data collection gives you the opportunity to add suggestive selling to your online customers, adding a personal touch and increasing guest cheques.

RELATED: AI is poised to transform the restaurant industry in 2024

Focus on customer service

When there are so many options available to guests, you want to stand out by providing an exceptional experience that customers will remember. Consider adding elements to your service to up the perceived value and leave a lasting impression. Adding an estimated delivery time is something that guests appreciate, eliminating the guessing that often comes with takeout.  Allowing customers to re-order quickly is another way to entice guests to revisit with an easy process and the knowledge that your business is interested and invested in their dining preferences. Think up creative ways to add value to your online ordering system and encourage guests to return.

Online ordering is here to stay, and restaurants offering an elevated experience will stand out in the marketplace and capture those orders.