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If your restaurant has multiple locations, finding the right online ordering system can be a challenge. You need a solution that packs all of the standard features AND can handle the complexities involved in multi-location operations. Intrinsically, you need solutions you can leverage to drive sales without sacrificing centralization of data and analytics. Below, we reveal the most critical features in an effective multi-restaurant online ordering system.

Why You Need a Multi-Restaurant Online Ordering System

In today’s restaurant ecosystem, ignoring the popularity of online ordering can be disastrous. 79% of Millennials order online, and 60% of U.S. consumers order food online once a week! That’s a massive chunk of the population. All things considered, online ordering can increase your restaurant’s profits by 30% across-the-board.

So, you NEED an online ordering system. Now, for the reasons why.

Presently, GrubHub, UberEats, and other 3rd party ordering systems can tackle online ordering for you, and quite efficiently, too. However, they charge you up to 30% of the ticket price for every order for their trouble.

Having your own online ordering portal can help you hold on to your hard-earned revenues. Plus, 70% of your customers would rather order from your restaurant anyway! It’s a win-win scenario.

That said, not every restaurant ordering portal is prepared to handle multiple locations. You need a multi-restaurant online ordering system that can support your portfolio of restaurants and enable you to create more happy diners.

These are the features you should be looking for.

The Best Features of An Effective Multi-Restaurant Online Ordering System

1. Ability to Fit Within Existing Restaurant Infrastructure

For those with multiple restaurants, keeping stock of inventory, orders, sales, and trends across all of your locations is a critical part of your success.

A good multi-restaurant online ordering system should fit seamlessly into your existing tech stack. This means being able to integrate with your POS or at very least properly alongside your POS (more on that later). You also want the option to integrate all of your printers and tech into the system to avoid costly tech revamps. Try to avoid any online ordering systems that lock you into vendor-specific printers and tablets. These costs add up fast. You want seamless integration into your existing IT ecosystem — not a costly network of vendor-locked features.

2. Customizable Promotions

Food promotions are a great way to move product, create interest, and introduce new diners to your brand. 80% of consumers say that promotions encourage them to make first-time purchases from new brands. Significantly, 67% of customers make unplanned purchases simply due to deals or promotions.

This incredible ability to draw in customers makes coupons and promotions significant traffic drivers for restaurants. However, promotions are often location-specific. You can align promotions with local sports team wins or base them on existing stock and consumption data.

Bottom line: Whatever your campaign, an effective multi-restaurant online ordering system should be capable of distinguishing and validating coupons and promotions based on location.

3. Coupon Tools

The ability to set up promotions across restaurants is great. However, the ability to set up multiple types of promotions/coupons at each restaurant is even better.

Look for a multi-restaurant online ordering system that lets you mix-and-match coupon types. You should be able to create various types of coupons/promotions and leverage them across all of your locations.

4. Centralized Reporting and Analytics

Managing reporting and analytics at one location is enough of a challenge. Handling it at multiple locations can quickly turn into a nightmare. Your multi-restaurant online ordering system should be able to feed all of the data from each location to a central location. Also, it should allow you to run that data through an analytics platform.

Here’s why: each location is going to have unique inventory and food consumption preferences. Customers at restaurant A may order lots of steak and potatoes online. However, customers at restaurant D may order more shrimp, chicken baskets, and fish chowder. All of that data should be fed into a central location so you can garner actionable insights from it.

5. Ability to Add 3rd Party Delivery Partners

Multi-restaurant online ordering system allows a seamless ordering experience.

Let’s be realistic — restaurants can pull a ton of value partnering with third-party delivery platforms. GrubHub, UberEats, and Postmates have legions of users, which can act as a significant source of business for your restaurants. GrubHub alone has around 20 million active users. Your goal should be to use these 3rd party platforms to attract new customers and then convert them to your in-house ordering system. This will save you money and provide more control over your restaurant data and marketing campaigns.

That said, combining 3rd party apps with your online ordering system shouldn’t be a complicated process. You want a system that allows you to track both 3rd party orders and in-house orders at the same time.  9Fold provides restaurants with flexibility to work with others and ensure a wholistic approach to the health of their online presence. What does this mean in real terms?

9Fold’s new partnership with Ordermark allows you to manage all of your 3rd party and in-house orders on one dashboard. The team at Ordermark works with restaurants across the U.S helping them streamline their menus, and perhaps most conveniently, manage changes across all platforms in one space to maintain consistency and increase access to additional revenue across channels.

9Fold also recently partnered with the Postmates DaaS team (Delivery as a Service). which allows restaurants to add a fleet of on-demand couriers to their fingertips and integrate them into their own 9Fold powered system. Being able to summon delivery drivers without paying for the commission-overhead is really the best of both worlds and provides the competitive advantage of being nationally applicable. Translation? A multi-unit restaurant can have one source of delivery drivers to handle all locations overnight!

6. Menu Management

Not only do multi-site restaurants need the ability to manage menus across locations, but they should also use menus that are image-centric and multi-device responsive.

Why?

Menus with crystal-clear HD images of your food can increase profits by as much as 30%. Generally, multiple menu layouts give you a clear advantage. So, if some of your restaurants offer specific regional food items or promotions, you can modify your displays accordingly. This is a big deal! 14% of your customers won’t order from you if they feel that all of your menu options aren’t displayed properly. Additionally, giving customers more menu options is a great way to encourage them to try new food combinations and simply order more food.

The average online food order is $50 across the industry. Part of this is due to a seamless online experience that allows customers to browse location-specific menus and select advanced options. In an interview with Fast Company over rising profits due to online ordering and touchscreen ordering, Sheetz CEO Joe Sheetz said that part of the reason customers purchase more food is that “We can offer condiment screens, vegetable screens, and a whole bunch of choices people can take their time going through.

This ability to choose unique combinations is a great way to upsell customers on food items.

7. PCI Compliance for Credit Card Payments

This one isn’t a feature that your multi-restaurant online ordering system “should have,” it’s one you need to have. PCI compliance for credit cards is a big deal. It keeps your restaurant compliant in the evolving regulatory framework. Additionally, it also keeps your diners safe. Remember that 69% of diners won’t do business with a restaurant that’s experienced a credit card breach.

9Fold restaurants do not have to worry about PCI compliance as it is inherent to the processing system built in and not the liability fo the restaurant.

Put this one on your must-have list.

8. User Ratings

Many online ordering systems don’t allow user ratings. The thought process here is that user ratings can negatively impact your business. Let’s counter that argument.

  • 57% of your customers expect to see online reviews for your restaurant.
  • 50% of ALL 18 – 34-year-old diners will only do business with a restaurant that has reviews.
  • 84% of diners trust online reviews AS MUCH as personal recommendations from family and friends.
  • 90% of your diners will want to read reviews for your restaurant before making a purchase

Basically, you need an online portal that has user ratings enabled. Worried about a negative review? Don’t be.

Only 5% of restaurants have less than 3 stars on Google My Business (GMB). Additionally, your in-house app will generally have more favorable reviews than GMB. Plus, you can always respond: 89% of diners will read your responses!

9. Optimum UX Design

User experience — or UX — is the bread-and-butter of your online ordering system. UX hinges on how easy it is for your customers to browse your portal. In other words, your UX is the DNA of your online ordering system. Poor UX can lead to eroding sales.

Don’t believe us?

Check this out!

  • 52% of diners say that poor mobile UX will cause them to leave a business.
  • Around 40% of people will stop engaging with your portal if images load slowly.
  • 97% of people think that “ease-of-use” is the most important quality for an app or portal.
  • It’s been shown that a restaurant’s UX can directly impact trust ratings for that restaurant!

Positive UX is even more crucial for multi-restaurant online ordering systems. You need the perfect blend of ease-of-use and customizability. Every portal should be independent, yet conjoined. Choose a seamless experience that allows you to customize options for each location.

10. Real-time Order Tracking

Some POS systems provide order tracking capabilities. However, is that order tracking tied into your online ordering feed and updated in real-time? If not, you may have a problem. You want a system that can curate customer orders in real-time and integrate critical kitchen data into the mix. Essentially, the right online ordering system should be able to track your kitchen processes and how efficiently they’re keeping up with orders.

Real-time order tracking allows customers to get accurate quotes on when they can expect delivery of their orders.

11. Individual Restaurant URLs

Individual restaurant URLs make it easier to keep track of your restaurant’s marketing analytics and sales data.

However, that’s not why they’re on this list.

If you want to rank well on search engines, you need a separate URL for each restaurant. With Google’s current local SEO rank structure, having a unique page for each restaurant is a necessity. You want each location to be able to rank for local searches. To do that, each needs to have a unique identifier or URL.

In other words, individual restaurant URLs help you rank better and make more profits. A home run all around!

12. Negative Review Feedback Tool

So, what happens if you get a negative review?

Ideally, your multi-restaurant online ordering system should give you the option of addressing it immediately. Here’s the trick — if you respond to negative feedback immediately, that review doesn’t wind up on Google My Business or social media.

With negative review feedback tools, you can ask customers for feedback immediately after they receive their order. That way, you can tackle any small issues before they become big problems.

13. Plays Well With Others (Integrations)

So this point has been talked about across the article at large, but wait, there is more! (start infomercial)

In order to operate a competitive multi-unit restaurant, you will need to have the ability to integrate with systems other than your POS. 9Fold is continuously adding integrations with third party tools to help in areas of tracking/reporting, marketing, and sales at large. One example at the time of writing this article, 9Fold enables restaurants to add their unique Facebook Pixel through their 9Fold dashboard in order to link their Facebook and Instagram advertising efforts with the simplicity of copy/paste and click. This allows a multi-unit restaurant to widen their marketing net or re-market to their already loyal customer base with target advertisements.

Ready to Have it All? Let 9Fold Help With a Multi-Restaurant Online Ordering System

Are you looking for a multi-restaurant online ordering system that has all of these features and more? Not only does 9Fold’s ordering system support multiple locations, it enables them. With easy integrations, review tools, coupon/ promotion creators, real-time order tracking, incredible UX, beautiful branding, and unique location URLs, 9Fold has the features you need at the price you want.

If you’d like to learn more, contact us or book a live demo to see it for yourself.

Having multiple restaurant locations doesn’t mean you have to invest in expensive vendor products that lock you into proprietary systems. With 9Fold, you get the freedom to explore all of your options. Welcome to the future of online ordering — simple, easy, and effective!