What Features Should I Look for in an Online Ordering Platform for my Restaurant?

What Features Should I Look for in an Online Ordering Platform for my Restaurant?

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Online Food Ordering Platform
EatStax – Online Food Ordering Platform

As Online Ordering of food becomes main-stream, there are a lot of  platforms to choose from.  Some are focused on take-out, other on delivery. Some use a commission-based revenue model and others charge a flat monthly fee, and possibly a setup fee to get you started. In this blog post, we discuss some key features you should pay attention to when choosing an Online Ordering Platform for your restaurant or cafe. By any means, this is not a comprehensive and all-encompassing list. However, if should give a jump-start to your search for ideal platform.

Key considerations in choosing an Online Ordering Platform are:

      1. Ease of use for your end-users.

At the end of the day – your patrons are going to use this platform. If they find it hard to navigate on any device of their choice, you have already lost half the battle of getting them online to order food from your restaurant. Keep the online ordering menu simple, and have good quality pictures of food items. Choose a good mix of profitable and popular items to display prominently in the online ordering menu.

      2. Is there a good Admin portal to let you occasionally change the menu items or prices?

While you are busy running the restaurant, it is rarely that you will get time and motivation to mess with the admin portal of your online ordering portal. But having access to it to occasionally tweak pricing, hours, pictures, etc. is a good thing.

      3. Can the food item pictures be uploaded and shown to the users (having pictures on the online ordering portal can easily enhance your sales)?

Although this seems very natural and logical thing for any online food ordering system to have, but ease of use for admin user depends a lot on how easy it is  for you to upload the new menu and most importantly, the pictures of food items. Make sure you can add picture of that new recipe easily!

      4. How good is the analytics and reporting?

The big guys – most national and international restaurant chains have large IT teams collecting all-sort of data about their customers and buying habits. They use analytics and insights to squeeze every last penny from the customer. While you may not be able to setup a sophisticated analytics team, your online ordering system (and to that effect, your PoS) should allow you to pull your data in form of some standard reports and basic analytics. These can help you tweak your online offering to improve customer satisfaction and profitability.

      5. Do you get access to your customer data so you can reach out to them directly using your marketing channels?

The data collected by the online ordering platform on your behalf should belong to you. Its use should be governed by the privacy and use policies that you decide. Your patron expect you to use their information, email ID, phone numbers, in a manner consistent with your declared policies. At the same time, this is the data you should be able to use to do some targeted marketing campaign. If you know that John Doe loves your chicken dish, you should be able send them an occasional coupon code for a free (chicken) dish!

      6. Is this integrated with your POS system?

Ideally, your online ordering platform should be integrated with your PoS system, however, the age of PoS system can be from brand-new to aging technology and your PoS may not have the modern architecture to allow API or Web-services based integration with third party software. One option is to upgrade your PoS system – but that can be a major project, requiring significant time and budget. So, one way is to use a non-PoS-integrated online order platform. In that case, you want to use a simple trick to balance your books! Setup an item “Online Orders” or “Web Orders” in your PoS system and enter the total nightly value of your web orders.

     7. How is the online order delivered? Are there multiple options to receive an order, e.g., email, fax, text alert or phone alert?

You are busy preparing food and serving to your guests and don’t usually have time to keep checking a dedicated Tablet or your e-mails to see if you received a new online order. Therefore, having a couple of supplementary alerting options – SMS, Phone Call to the Restaurant, can be very helpful in making sure that you can deliver food to your client on-time.

      8. How long it takes to get your money from Online Orders?

Several of the online ordering platforms force you to agree to let them collect payment on your behalf, then deduct their commission and mail a check or direct deposit using ACH to your account. ACH is clearly a better option, as you can get your money faster. However, it can be 2-to-4 weeks before you see the money hitting your account. Ideally, your Online Ordering platform should directly integrate with your existing (or a new) payment gateway, so you can get your $$ in your bank the next business day. Having the control over the payment gateway can also help you manage refund process better. Other day a restaurant staff made a mistake on a $100+ order and failed to include a $8 item in the takeout order. Customer pointed out the mistake, and the owner could simply log in to their payment gateway and promptly issue a refund. The restaurant also sent a 10% off coupon for their next online order, killing two birds with one stone! Customer was happy at the prompt action and resolution of the issue and at the 10% off  coupon for the next order.

      9. Can your Online Ordering System (OOS) print orders directly to your kitchen?

If your OOS is integrated with a PoS system, this may be a non-issue, but if not, then having a OOS that prints web orders directly to your kitchen (either through your existing kitchen printer or a special printer) can help improve efficiency of your kitchen.

      10. Does your OOS offer Delivery and Table Reservation options?

If you have in-house delivery capability, paying a hefty percentage of each order to third parties can be a big drain on your profitability. So, having an online ordering platform that allows not only takeout orders, but also has maps or geo-fencing capability to let you set pricing for different travel-tier or zones, e.g., $5 for 0-4.9 miles, and $7 for 5-7.9 miles, etc.

Of course, feel free to reach out to the EatStax team to see how our modern and responsive platform can seamlessly integrated with your website and help you increase sales and profits, improve customer loyalty, and efficiency of your kitchen.

Call Sam or Bob at +1-919-491-9796 or e-mail to info[at]eatstax.com


-EatStax Team


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