Restaurant Online Ordering: 6 Steps to Choosing the Right Provider!

Ready to push your restaurant into the world of online ordering? Overwhelmed by the choices of online ordering providers?   Here's a step-by-step guide to picking the solution that's perfect for your restaurant!    Need more info?   There's a link on my profile (scroll down to whitepapers) to download the Granbury Restaurant Solutions "Online Ordering Launch Guide", a great resource of ideas for promoting your online ordering site.

Step 1:  Your Website or A General Provider or Both? 

The first question to consider is whether you want to control the customer experience or let someone else do it.   You can select an online ordering solution that will integrate into your website, so you'll be promoting your brand alone, but you'll be responsible for managing and promoting the service.  Or, you can participate in one of the many general restaurant online ordering sites which will feature your restaurant in their search results and send customers your way for a fee per order.    While these services may expose you to new customers, you run the danger of passing a growing portion of your profit margin to them as the popularity of online ordering grows.  Many restaurants prefer to maintain a more direct customer relationship by providing online ordering directly on their own website.   Some restaurants do both. 

Step 2. Consider Your Online Form & Function

Having a cutting edge online order site that dazzles your customers may not fit in your restaurant's budget, but as you look at the offerings available keep in mind a few important points about how the system works.

Pictures will increase ticket averages!  Choose an online ordering solution that lets you present as many pictures as possible of your food, and invest the time and effort to get some good pictures taken.  One of our clients, for example, saw a 9% ticket average jump the month after he added pictures to his site.

Make registration easy!    Don't make it difficult for customers to start browsing your menu and choosing their dinner.   Don't go with a site that requires registration at the beginning of the process - studies show that 23% of shoppers will abandon if required to register initially.  Look for a system that allows customers to use Facebook or other accounts to register easily and quickly. 

Consider Security - real and perceived.    Many online ordering solutions will link away from your website to their own.  It's better to find one that allows the entire transaction to take place within your own website, as consumers will feel more confident that this is a secure location.  If you will be processing credit cards online, be sure that the software solution is certified as PCI Compliant.  And don't hesitate to allow orders to be paid with cash at pickup - considering that 29% of Americans don't have a credit card, you could be cutting off a big part of your business if you don't.

Step 3. Fitting into your current operation

When you receive online orders at the store, you've got several options.  Most providers will fax, e-mail or directly print in the kitchen.  The ideal option is a POS-integrated solution which will insert orders directly into the POS system and print them on the makeline automatically, just like any other order.  Reporting, inventory deductions, cash management will flow smoothly. 

Because this is so critical, your POS company probably offers an online ordering solution or recommends partners that they can work with.  Ask your POS company first.  Trying to integrate a new online company with your existing POS system is likely to be an expensive, challenging and frustrating process that will not pay off for you in the end.

Step 4:  Consider Your Special Needs 

Don't assume that all online ordering providers or off-the-shelf 'shopping carts' are going to work for your restaurant.   Restaurants have unique needs that are different from ordering shoes or books online.  Ask your solution provider about: 

  • How do you define which store a customer should be ordering from, for delivery orders?

  • How do you define the area that I deliver to? 

  • How do you define different delivery charges for different areas?

  • What happens if I run out of an item?

  • Do you support "delayed" orders, if a customer wants to place an order today to be delivered next week, for instance?

  • For pizzas, do you support fractions?  Sizes? Crust types?

  • How about coupons that apply to specific items?

  • How will I add specific weekly or daily specials to the system? 

  • What happens if my store closes early, or internet goes down? 

Step 5:  Helping to Expand Your Business

You've probably heard that online ordering will increase your ticket average and boost customer frequency.  That's true in many cases, but it's not an accident.  Top online ordering systems actively support these goals.  For example, look at how the system allows for intelligent, interactive suggestive selling to boost ticket averages.  

Google recently reported that 62% of restaurant searches happened on a mobile phone.  Be sure that your online ordering software has a mobile-optimized version or, even better, look for one with an integrated mobile app that customers can download to their phones for quick and easy access.

Step 6. Cost

Like any major purchase, cost has to be a factor in your decision.   You'll find a wide range of options, with some providers charging you a flat monthly fee, and some charging per order.  While a per order rate may sound attractive at first, you'll be surprised how quickly those fees add up.   You want to drive as much traffic as possible to your site, making a flat fee a more affordable and predicatable way to go.   Overall, you'll find great solutions at an affordable monthly cost, making the ROI of online ordering easy to see.

Granbury Restaurant Solutions is a leading provider of online ordering, mobile ordering and point-of-sale solutions, please click here to learn more!

Views: 238

Tags: online, ordering, restaurant, software, technology


You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Comment by Steve Tamer on May 20, 2012 at 2:15pm

Thanks for this very important information, Nice article




Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries


Kids LiveWell atwitter over Twitter party

In its continuing effort to promote more nutritious and flavorful children's menu options, the NRA will hold a Twitter party  -More

Starbucks could become top on-premise wine seller in U.S.

Starbucks is planning to slowly expand its evening sales of wine, beer and small plates to thousands of selected stores throu -More

The evolving nature of snacks

Snacks have shifted from an after-school treat to a meal alternative as meal times become more fragmented.  -More


Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $25 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Wahlburgers Announces Expansion Plans Including Franchise Agreement in Philadelphia

Wahlburgers has signed a franchise agreement with Hingham Associates, LLC that will bring five Wahlburgers to the metropolitan Philadelphia area over the next several years. The franchise group is actively looking at sites and is targeting a late 2014-early 2015 opening for its first restaurant.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. First Quarter 2014 Revenue Up 24.4%

Comparable restaurant sales increased 13.4% - Restaurant level operating margin was 25.9%, a decrease of 40 basis points

Jamba Juice Announces Grand Opening of New St. Louis, MO Location

Jamba Juice Company announced the brand’s continued expansion in the St. Louis market with the opening of a Jamba Juice® store at 11477 Olive Blvd. on April 16, 2014.

Expert in Real Estate Analytics Joins Luna Grill

Luna Grill, the San Diego-based Mediterranean restaurant chain, is welcoming retail real estate industry veteran Greg Thorburn to its leadership team. Thorburn has been brought on board to fill the newly created position of Vice-President of Real Estate.

Rita's Italian Ice Awards Area Development Agreement for Kansas

Rita's Italian Ice has awarded franchise and area development agreements for Kansas and the Kansas City area, which extends to the Missouri side of the city, to franchisees and local residents Jay Miller, Jeff Miller and Pat Reilly.


If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.


TED: Matthew Carter: My life in typefaces - Matthew Carter (2014)

Pick up a book, magazine or screen, and more than likely you'll come across some typography designed by Matthew Carter. In this charming talk, the man behind typefaces such as Verdana, Georgia and Bell Centennial (designed just for phone books -- remember them?), takes us on a spin through a career focused on the very last pixel of each letter of a font.

TED: Jeremy Kasdin: The flower-shaped starshade that might help us detect Earth-like planets - Jeremy Kasdin (2014)

Astronomers believe that every star in the galaxy has a planet, one fifth of which might harbor life. Only we haven't seen any of them -- yet. Jeremy Kasdin and his team are looking to change that with the design and engineering of an extraordinary piece of equipment: a flower petal-shaped "starshade" that allows a telescope to photograph planets from 50,000 kilometers away. It is, he says, the "coolest possible science."

TED: Norman Spack: How I help transgender teens become who they want to be - Norman Spack (2013)

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, endocrinologist Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need. (Filmed at TEDxBeaconStreet.)

TED: Jennifer Senior: For parents, happiness is a very high bar - Jennifer Senior (2014)

The parenting section of the bookstore is overwhelming—it's "a giant, candy-colored monument to our collective panic," as writer Jennifer Senior puts it. Why is parenthood filled with so much anxiety? Because the goal of modern, middle-class parents—to raise happy children—is so elusive. In this honest talk, she offers some kinder and more achievable aims.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service