Restaurants are  bombarded with info and options for online food ordering. Papa Johns and Domino’s already do more than $1 Billion in online sales each year, and more and more independent restaurants are offering it. Just like there are pros and cons to most business decisions, there are pros and cons for online ordering. But as long as you think about these issues you should absolutely do it. The pros are too strong.

 

The pros of taking orders on your own website are:

1.     Customer contact. When customers order from your website they form a stronger relationship with you. You gave them a way to buy from you they like, and you get their email to market to them later.

2.     Make money. Online orders tend to be much higher than orders in your own restaurants. Some industry reports say 15-20% higher. That really adds up!

3.     Fewer mistakes. A noisy restaurant, distracted host, and occasional language barriers lead to mistakes with phone orders. An electronic order- arriving on a fax, email or direct to your POS is always perfectly clear.

4.     Customers want it. Last year 40% of diners ordered at least one meal online or from their phone. This is a 300% increase from 5 years ago. Customers want it and will increasingly order from places that offer an online option.

 

The Cons of taking orders from your own website are:

1.     You have to pay attention. Keep your menu up to date, respond quickly to orders when they come in and train your staff to handle pickup and delivery orders.

2.     Marketing. Having a “order now” button on your website is a good start but you should commit to promoting it. A table tent, email blast and a big (big) mention on your menus is a good start.

3.     Accounting. Most online ordering systems are not connected to your POS. You need to manage a second system for accounting and customer information management.

We’ll have another blog post soon about picking an online ordering company. And if you have other pros and cons, or if you have experience with online ordering please share in the comments. Thanks!