How to Set Up an Online Ordering System That Works for You


Revel Blog | Sydney Kida | March 4, 2022 |

online ordering Featured

Fast-tracked by the pandemic, online ordering and takeout became the two leading revenue drivers for restaurants that could not welcome seated patrons. Managing a restaurant with online orders is profoundly different from running a standard sit-down-and-eat establishment.


Developing a strategy to build a new mobile ordering system and creating a workflow that maximizes efficiency and revenue requires a detailed approach.


Let’s go through how to set up an online ordering system and construct a profitable income stream for your business.

What is online ordering?

The global food delivery market is estimated at $150 billion, representing a growth rate of 300% since 2017. Online ordering is fast becoming a strategic priority for restaurants across the country.

The online ordering process is simple enough to understand. on-premises dining involves patrons eating within the four walls of your restaurant. off-premises means someone will deliver a meal, or the customer will pick up and take it away.

Lockdown regulations meant many restaurants were forced to develop an online ordering process for the first time.
The experiences of the pandemic have demonstrated to the food industry that online ordering is a massive revenue driver. Its convenience and affordability have convinced many patrons to continue ordering their food online, even with restaurants opening their doors again.

Online ordering allows customers to order directly from your website and opt to either pick it up or have it delivered. You can also feature your restaurant on third-party apps like Uber Eats or DoorDash to increase your orders.

Online order terminology

There are several pieces of terminology it’s good to bear in mind when reading a restaurant online order guide. Familiarize yourself with the technical language to ensure you understand all the bases you need to cover.

Popular pieces of terminology include:

  • Restaurant Online Ordering – The process of ordering food directly from a restaurant’s website or a third-party app.
  • Mobile Ordering – Order food via a particular mobile app.
  • Takeout – Food orders taken outside of a restaurant and eaten elsewhere.
  • Third-Party Delivery – Your food delivery happens not through the business but by a dedicated firm like GrubHub. The delivery company receives a commission for each order.
  • First-Party Delivery – The restaurant itself delivers online orders via its own delivery team. This strategy negates the high fees of third-party delivery organizations.
  • Curbside Pickup – Curbside pickup has become a phenomenon throughout COVID-19 and refers to the process of collecting food orders without getting out of the car.
  • Contactless Delivery – Delivering food to a customer without coming into physical contact. Typically, payment will have been taken online and the food order left by the customer’s door.

The importance of an effective online ordering process

An effective online ordering process allows your ordering system to become an asset to your business. Managing a restaurant with online orders is not just a matter of flipping a switch.

You need a comprehensive system for managing orders, taking payment, submitting those orders to the kitchen, and transferring the necessary information to your delivery team.

The Revel Systems® revolutionary point of sale (POS) platform streamlines your restaurant operations and makes it easy to figure out how to take online orders.

Improve the customer experience

Customers want total control when ordering their food. Not everyone wants to travel to a restaurant, figure out what they want to order, and then wait for the kitchen to make their order.

They want fast, immediate, and hassle-free service. Contribute to an improved customer experience by working out how to set up online ordering for a restaurant.

More time to browse the menu

Walking into any food establishment immediately puts a new customer under pressure. Whether with table service or ordering at the counter, there’s an expectation of expedience for guests to place their order. It doesn’t give your patrons enough time to browse and digest every aspect of the menu.

An online ordering platform gives them all the time in the world. Whether they want to read the whole thing or point and click, they have that power.

Increased transaction amounts

Did you know that online ordering typically has a higher average transaction amount?

It’s the same reason people who shop on Amazon tend to spend more money than those who visit brick-and-mortar stores. Restaurants position themselves to take advantage of impulse buys because adding an item to your cart and confirming your order is so easy.

Simpler to place large orders

Confusion and chaos reign when customers want to place larger orders. Walking into a restaurant and asking for twenty hamburgers could cause problems, which is frustrating for you and your customers.

Order guides for restaurants praise the ease of which it’s simpler for both sides to process larger orders.

Take advantage of current trends

Society is changing, and the average person's always-connected lifestyle means that modern restaurants must have online ordering available. You’re leaving vast amounts of money on the table by failing to take advantage of the online ordering trend.

Online food delivery has existed for years, but the COVID-19 pandemic has forced change at an unprecedented rate. The horse has already bolted, and there’s no way to turn back the clock.

Adopting online ordering really is a case of adapt or perish.

Fewer abandoned orders

How many times have you experienced a situation where you finished a food order, and the customer never came to collect?

You wasted good time and good money, with no recourse for getting paid. Phone orders are a risk for restaurants because there’s no way to prevent customers from simply changing their minds and not showing up.

Online ordering reduces the number of abandoned orders because you take payment when the customer places the order.

If the customer never collects, you and your team still get paid. Revel’s native cloud technology makes it easy to take payments online before the order becomes active, thus protecting your business.

How to set up an online ordering system

Figuring out how to set up online food ordering doesn’t require you to have any technical expertise. It’s never been simpler to create an effective online ordering process.

Follow this online order guide for how to set up online food ordering fast.

Choose an online ordering solution

Third-party apps can charge commissions of up to 30%. Developing an online ordering system is far cheaper in the long run. Revel Systems allows you to handle everything in one place, including outfitting your website for taking online orders.

You want a full-service online ordering solution that allows you to operate from a state-of-the-art POS platform. The goal is to reduce friction and make managing a restaurant with online orders seamless.

Do your research and choose the solution that best suits your business model.

Build a minimum viable menu (MVM)

Your MVM is a small, condensed version of your full on-premises dining menu. It will include the menu items that cover the overheads of your business while ensuring customers have a selection of excellent dining options.

Find the balance between giving customers the value they seek while testing what works and what doesn’t. Generally, it’s best to start with the most popular and most profitable items to simplify the transition to online ordering.

One option for keeping the kitchen efficient is reimagining your top 10 or top 15 menu items. It’s also handy for limiting inventory spread.

Let’s look at the core aspects of judging whether a dish should appear on your MVM:

  • Profitability – Calculate the cost of making an item compared to the price. What is your margin? Obviously, the more profitable the ingredients, the better.
  • Popularity – Dig into your sales data and identify the most popular items. Don’t go too far back, as customer needs change over time. Get some feedback from your customers on the items they enjoyed the most.
  • Deliverability – Some items are suited to delivery, and others aren’t. For example, a pizza is a far more deliverable item than a bowl of soup. Exclude the things that are unlikely to survive the trip.
  • Research – Explore what people are ordering from other restaurants in your town. Remember, it’s not just about the food. It’s about the experience. Create an experience that stands above all others. You could even get creative with a DIY pizza kit, for example.

Go through this process every few months. Times change, and with the world’s global supply issues, you may find that your MVM features are unsuitable later. Your Revel POS system can help you keep tabs on your sales data and costs.

Create a unique online ordering experience

You are not just service orientated. You are socially orientated. Maintaining an incredible experience is easy with on-premises diners, but what do you do when you have no physical interaction with your customers?

You still need a way to build a relationship with your clientele when managing a restaurant with online orders. It’s the number one way of securing repeat business.

There are several ways to add the human touch to the digital relationship. Some ideas could include:

  • Add a personal thank you note.
  • Invest in branded takeout containers.
  • Create a physical loyalty card.
  • Include some stickers and decals.
  • Leave a postcard with an image of your restaurant.

So many restaurants miss out on these little extras because they are so focused on the food. Yet going the extra mile can help your guests feel more connected to your restaurant. After all, how do you differentiate between a list of restaurants found on Uber Eats?

Start marketing

Off-premises sales occur in the digital space, so you need an additional marketing strategy for your off-premises revenue stream. Think about how you’re going to boost your social media activity, get your business onto Google My Business, and link to your online menu.

You’re going to need to push your online ordering system, in the beginning, to make people aware that you have started to allow online food delivery.

Tracking your online metrics, such as web visits, clicks, conversions, abandoned carts, and average order value, will tell you whether your online ordering system has been successful.

Make sure to comb through online review sites, like Yelp, to get feedback from your customers.

Gather online restaurant reporting insights

Without detailed insights into your online ordering system from the restaurant side, you’re flying blind. Revel lets you harvest all the data you need from a single, easy-to-use dashboard. These metrics will help you make strategic growth decisions as the months and years pass.

Profitable restaurant items, popularity, staff scheduling, and average delivery times are just some of the numbers you’ll need to monitor.

Set a time at least once per month to go through the data, discuss with your stakeholders, and decide whether you need to make any changes.

Train your staff to handle off-premises orders

Adding anything new to your business requires some additional training. Contrary to popular belief, online ordering isn’t the same as taking an order from a customer in front of you.

How will a customer’s online order reach your staff, the kitchen, and (as needed) the delivery driver? Who’s managing the tickets, and who’s scheduling to ensure you always have enough manpower to deal with surge periods?

Make sure you train your staff to use your online systems and integrate them into your restaurant processes.

Revel’s intuitive, iPad-based platform makes it east to train everyone from management to floor staff to deal with all the nuts and bolts of your restaurant’s new POS.

Conclusion

Managing a restaurant with online orders is not a bonus revenue stream. It’s essential for moving your restaurant into the 2020s and fulfilling the demands of your customers. Make it easy to establish your online platform with Revel’s Restaurant POS.

Our native cloud platform is a full-service solution that allows you to take contactless payments, record valuable data, and manage your online operations all from one place.

Get an edge on the competition and boost your business with Revel Systems. Get in touch with us to learn more about Revel POS today.