Signs You’ve Outgrown Your Restaurant Online Ordering System
Don’t let your technology hinder you. Learn the signs that you have outgrown your restaurant ordering system.
You need a thick skin to work in the restaurant business. The industry was complex and competitive enough before the global pandemic and the numerous changes to restaurant technology. When you throw those into the ring with shifting customer expectations, it’s bound to be a wild ride.
Your ordering system can help you navigate these challenges. However, it also has the potential to harm your business, and you want it to be an asset instead of an enemy.
With that in mind, let’s look at the signs you’ve outgrown your restaurant’s online ordering system and learn how to upgrade for success.
Restaurant operations complexity
Today’s restaurant technologies give you endless options. Although having these options is beneficial, it can also be the biggest downfall. Think about all the technologies at your disposal for your restaurant’s online ordering system:
Third-party ordering tools
Third parties such as GrubHub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash provide visibility for your restaurant to customers who already use those tools. The problem? Not only are you giving away your customer data to the platform, you're directly competing for digital real estate with every other restaurant listing in your region.
From the shared platform real estate to steep third-party prices (for you and your customer), you are limited in how much these tools can do to elevate your brand. Additionally, you don’t control your customer data and lack a connection with your restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system or operations tech stack.
Your restaurant’s POS system
Your restaurant’s POS system is the central hub of all your restaurant technologies, enabling you to operate effectively. And you have plenty of options! Aloha used to be the gold standard for large chains. But as technology grows, Aloha has fallen behind competitors such as Square, TouchBistro, Upserve, Lightspeed, Clover, and Toast.
But don’t forget about your restaurant operations. Just because this aspect of the business isn’t strictly tied to your tech tools doesn’t mean it shouldn’t matter. In fact, it matters quite a lot.
Restaurant operations at the core
Your restaurant technology should complement your daily operations. Ninety-five percent of restaurant owners say technology improves their efficiency. If technology isn’t working for you, it’s working against you.
“Did you see what she ordered?” “Look at the size of that check.” Just kidding, but ideally, your restaurant’s online ordering system and POS system should “talk” to each other. They should also give you the data you need to manage various aspects of your business, including:
- Order-to-plate operations
- Supply chain management
- Inventory management
- Vendor management
Every one of these pieces is vital to your day-to-day activities, and your restaurant ordering system can account for them if it has the right features or integrations.
Signs you’ve outgrown your restaurant’s online ordering system
Occasional hiccups are par for the course, but there are several glaring signs that your restaurant’s online ordering system just doesn’t cut it anymore. If you trust third-party tools, the stakes are even higher because your restaurant loses quality control when it passes orders to others.
When something doesn’t go right for your customers, you never really know who the customer blames—you or the third party. In any case, your restaurant shouldn’t ignore these red flags. If any of these apply to you, it might be time for an upgrade:
If your restaurant’s online ordering system moves at a snail’s pace or frequently crashes, it frustrates employees and your customers. That frustration has a domino effect, impacting your brand and customer loyalty. After all, customers will blame you for the lackluster experience—not your technology. They will choose to order somewhere else and potentially write negative reviews.
High ticket times
“But I ordered an hour and a half ago!” High ticket times could be caused by worker shortages, system lags, or downtime. A steady stream of orders is a good problem to have, but customers live in an on-demand world and don’t want to wait after quickly ordering online.
Long delivery wait times
Whether it’s because of existing manual processes or system crashes, it can be chaotic if your restaurant’s online ordering system doesn’t talk to your POS system. This chaos includes high ticket times and delivery delays. Talk about unhappy customers.
Poor data visibility
You can’t fix what you don’t know, so your restaurant technology should provide data visibility. If it doesn’t, you have probably outgrown your online ordering system and need an upgrade. Your new solution should give you the data you need to make everyday decisions.
When you look at your back-of-house operations, one employee shouldn’t own orders on three different tablets from GrubHub, UberEats, and DoorDash. That’s a lot to handle, and orders could fall through the cracks. This could lead to more employee and customer frustration: the gift that keeps giving.
Lack of customization
"I said no cilantro!” Your customers want what they want. The ability to customize or modify their order is a significant aspect of an exceptional online ordering experience. (It also feels way less intimidating to make requests in an app.)
Putting order modifications in the comments or notes section feels sloppy, isn’t user-friendly, and increases the odds of missing the request. If your customers can’t customize what they’re ordering, you’ve outgrown your system.
Frequent order refunds
Are you issuing too many order refunds? Think about why customers want their money back:
- Was their order incorrect?
- Did they face a long delivery or ticket time?
- Did they order from GrubHub just as your tablet froze?
When push comes to shove, perhaps you’ve simply outgrown your system.
When customers complain publicly, people listen. They share their negative experiences with the masses, knowing others will read their reviews and avoid your restaurant. Food quality and service are one thing—and you can easily fix both—but poor reviews based on their ordering experience? Those reviews mean it’s time to rethink your restaurant technology.
At the end of 2021, there were 14.5 million restaurant employees in the U.S.—down 1 million from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Hiring and retaining employees is hard enough without subpar technology making their jobs harder. If high turnover is hurting your restaurant, take the extra step and provide technology solutions to make things easier for your team.
Out with the old, in with the new restaurant ordering system
Are you tired of technology that doesn’t do what you want it to—frustrating your restaurant and its customers? Your restaurant’s online ordering system may need a facelift. Break away from third-party apps and build your own restaurant app with Octocart. Want to see Octocart in action?