While some people prepare their meals others prefer to order online, and this is where an online ordering platform comes into play. Research shows that around 30% of consumers in the UK spend at least 35 pounds per order when ordering online.
Online ordering platform is the only way many restaurants can still serve their hungry customers today. Are you looking to maintain, or even grow, your company’s income? At the end of this article, you will gather all the information you need to know about online ordering.
What is an online ordering platform?
An online ordering platform can be defined as system software that allows catering companies or restaurants to take and manage orders over the Internet and enabled by the internet. If you run a catering company or restaurant and haven’t joined the online ordering platform, you are already missing out on some great opportunities to grow your business. By adopting new technologies, you not only make your customers’ lives easier, but you also ensure that your company can compete. When it comes to an online platform, choosing technology isn’t about being able to order online, it’s about reaching the right people in the right place at the right time.
It usually consists of 2 main components. The first is a website or mobile app for hungry customers where they can view restaurant meals and order online. And the second is an administrative management interface that restaurants can use to receive and manage customer orders.
The two sides of an online ordering platform:
The customer’s side of the website or app usually has several important requirements to function properly. These requirements are usually:
- Access to all devices, from tablets to PCs.
- Easily browse the restaurant menu and see what’s available
- Configure the order type such as delivery or collection
- Choose when you would like to receive the order
- Online payments by credit card, bank transfer, etc.
- Stay up to date on the status of your orders
- See all previous orders and quickly rearrange your favourite items
2. Administrative management interface
The administrative management interface of the platform is an essential part of an ordering system. It is responsible for notifying restaurants of new orders and helping them manage the order fulfilment process. The main requirements are as follows:
- Access to all devices for easy use in companies and on the go
- Real-time interface for order management, through which restaurants can see which orders need to be prepared
- The ability to have personal accounts to limit access to use by employees
- Easy to understand settings and configuration options to optimize the system
- A variety of notification methods to keep the restaurant informed of new orders
Types of online ordering platforms:
Choosing an online ordering system for your restaurant can be daunting with all of the options available. As a restaurateur, you’ve likely come across two different types. They are marketplace systems and self-service systems.
While they both do the same thing, the business model behind these services has a different impact on your platform’s performance. The following types of systems are available:
1. Marketplace online ordering platform
The majority of restaurant owners start here. Usually, these companies will contact you first. They upload your menu online and allow you to take orders instantly. They also do huge amounts of advertising and marketing to drive traffic to your website and generate sales for your business.
The way these systems make money is by taking a percentage of every order through their system. This is usually the easiest, but it is also the most expensive.
Most restaurant owners start with a market platform because of the marketing they do. A marketplace system can generate new customers for you that you might not otherwise have had.
The reverse situation can also apply if your regular customers order through these websites. In this case, you will lose a large part of your regular sales. For this reason, you must use market ordering systems in conjunction with self-service online ordering systems.
2. Self-service online ordering platform
Having your own system usually comes at a lower price than market systems. As a rule, these systems charge fixed monthly costs and/or installation fees. Although this is much cheaper than paying a percentage of each order, you will need to find your own customers.
With these systems, you can create your online ordering system yourself, and works like most e-commerce solutions. Aside from being lower in cost, the other benefit of these systems is that they generally allow a higher degree of customization and many additional functions.
If you are planning to move to online ordering, it is imperative that you first use a self-service online ordering and then move to marketplace systems.
What kind of online ordering platform should you use?
The ideal solution is to use both types of platforms. Marketplace platforms cost you nothing and they get a tremendous amount of advertising and promotions. Being part of it with no upfront cost is a huge plus. You need to see Marketplace systems as a way for new customers to find and experience your business
However, once you turn a customer into a loyal client, the best thing to do is to get them to use your own system, not a marketing one. This is because you can save a significant amount of money and manage the order details accordingly.