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The Importance of Offering Online Ordering

by | Jun 13, 2016

Online ordering isn’t some fad that restaurants can ignore. It’s the next logical step to replace phone ordering in regard to your customer’s convenience. If you haven’t embraced online ordering yet, then now’s the time to at least consider it if you want to keep Millennials coming to your restaurant.

In the aggregate

There are two ways to consider the growth of online ordering. One is to look at the overall trend in the aggregate and the other is to read about the personal experiences of restaurant owners.

Statistics say that online ordering isn’t on the horizon, but rather has already arrived. A recent Quartz article provides the following statistics regarding the growth of online ordering and the decline of phone ordering:


  • In 5 years, phone delivery orders dropped 27% from 1.39 bil to 1.02 bil
  • In 5 years, online orders increased 124% from 403 mil to 904 mil

The article contains a graphic in case you want to view the change visually. Each year, consumers place more orders online and less by phone in the aggregate. This trend will only gain momentum now that virtually everyone has a smartphone and restaurants have the means and technology to make online ordering possible.

An anecdotal history 

Since statistics in the aggregate don’t always tell the whole story, we’ll look at a restaurant’s experience with online ordering.

Stacy Peterson, chief information owner of a Dallas-based restaurant that specializes in flavored chicken wings, noted that online ordering now makes up 16% of sales at her store in a recent Nation’s Restaurant News article. In addition, she explained why she decided to favor a mobile website platform as opposed to an app:

“I think people think that apps are more used than they are. Apps are supremely important because your most loyal guests typically will download your app. But a customer can’t have an app for every place they eat. They just can’t. So mobile web is important to the restaurant space.”

16% of sales is a massive metric with respect to restaurant’s finances. It can make the difference between breaking even and cutting a profit within a given quarter. It’s also important to note that this particular restaurant may benefit more from online ordering than others. Because there are so many options when it comes to wings, it’s easy to see why consumers want to take their time and casually scroll through the menu.

The other crucial point here is that the restaurant decided to focus on its mobile site as opposed to creating an app. Unless you own a national chain, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get people to download and keep your restaurant’s app. If ordering is possible on your website, however, then there are no barriers. Anyone with a desktop, smartphone, or tablet can browse your menu and place an order.


A few considerations before you start

A few considerations before you start

The aesthetics are key if you’re going to make online ordering available on your site. If your site looks like it was designed in 2008, then customers are going to hesitate before placing an order. What if 30 minutes go by and it turns out you never received a notification and their food isn’t ready? Just one experience like this will prevent a given customer from ordering on your website forever.

Customers want to be guided through the process. In this respect, it’s crucial to go with an official online ordering system for restaurants. This provides a completely different user experience than if you just added a menu on your website.

Not all online ordering systems for restaurants are based on commission. If you’re looking to make this feature available and really embrace it, then you should consider locking in at a flat rate. This lets businesses prioritize online ordering without worrying about increasing commission rates.

Consumers have chosen online ordering to be the future. It’s important for restaurants to accommodate that wish and provide a smooth user experience.

To talk more about online ordering systems for restaurants, or anything else, contact us today.

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