Gone are the days of ordering food online with the traditional method of calling the local restaurant and placing the order. However, the new-age online food ordering systems have brought about a drastic shift in the F&B industry for restaurants and cloud kitchens. The system is offering scalable solutions to businesses of all sizes to not only accept digital orders but also serve a huge customer base and broaden their delivery radius.
In this extensive guide by uEngage, you will have an understanding of Online Food Ordering Systems for Restaurants and Cloud Kitchens, their different available forms, and how they can be leveraged effectively.
What is an Online Food Ordering System?
An Online Food Ordering System refers to a digital ecosystem that connects restaurants, customers, and delivery riders in real-time for a seamless ordering and delivery process. The system works by speeding up the process that enables customers to browse restaurant’s menus, customize orders, and even pay online. This automated functionality of online ordering allows restaurants and cloud kitchens to efficiently manage a higher volume of orders in less time which leads to reduced errors.
There are now multiple new and already existing options for Online Food Ordering Systems that make it easier than ever to deliver orders successfully.
Available Options for Online Food Ordering System
Understand the basic comparison of different online food ordering systems:
|Online Food Ordering System
- Enables direct orders through browsers.
- Makes the ordering process easier and more convenient.
- Lower maintenance and development costs.
- Encourages repeat orders through push notifications and promotions.
- Establishes a direct relationship with customers through own branded app.
- Serves a more personalized experience to customers and boosts loyalty.
- Reduces wait times and queues during rush hours.
- Supports in-person ordering and eliminates the need for huge staff.
- Encourages customers to opt for large orders.
- Streamlines quick integration with the restaurant’s existing systems.
- Complete menu visibility to customers within WhatsApp.
- Supports easy management of the whole ordering process through automated bot responses.
Let’s have a detailed overview of the popularly available options of Online Food Ordering Systems and how they can help you scale your F&B business.
A Web Ordering system is one of the earliest and universal types of online ordering which allows customers to place orders on a website of a restaurant or cloud kitchen via their preferred browser. When restaurant owners invest in a reliable web ordering system, they invest in their own 24/7 online storefront that flawlessly receives online orders from new and existing customers.
Restaurants or Cloud Kitchen owners can replicate their dine-in menu, item details & descriptions, prices, availability, and a variety of customizations on their website in real-time. They can also showcase their new offerings or tailor existing ones to keep their customers well-updated with their business.
An app-based online ordering system refers to food ordering via dedicated Android and iOS mobile apps with just a few taps on a smartphone. These ordering apps serve a tailored ordering process that allows restaurants and cloud kitchens to keep hold of 100% of their revenue without splitting it with third-party aggregators.
App Ordering platforms enable restaurants to have complete control over their branding combined with valuable customer data, increased reach, customer retention, and amplified sales. Moreover, they also facilitate tailored push notifications sent to customers which leads to increased app usage and higher order volume.
Kiosk Ordering or Self-Ordering Kiosk is an intelligent dine-in solution designed for restaurants. It refers to largely automated touchscreens where visually appealing menus are displayed so that customers can self-navigate, customize orders, and make payments directly at the kiosk. A self-ordering kiosk works by reducing the waiting lines, eliminating the heavy dependency on staff, and integrating with the existing POS system for a smooth order flow.
Studies have shown that the average revenue generated by a restaurant using self-ordering kiosks can increase by up to 30% within a year. This upsurge in sales is acquired because customers are likely to place higher-value orders with more add-ons, sides, beverages, and other customizations when they self-order.
WhatsApp Ordering is a recent popular online food ordering platform that is already making waves in the F&B industry. This innovative ordering platform integrates everything from your restaurant’s menu to payment gateways into the WhatsApp messaging window. Customers can view your restaurant’s menu, choose from item categories, customize their orders, add items to their carts, do transactions, and finish the ordering process, and that too everything within WhatsApp.
With WhatsApp Ordering, customers do not visit a separate app or website to place orders which reduces the chances of abandoned orders, unwanted ordering errors, and more. Thus, restaurants of all sizes can efficiently boost growth and revenue by smoothly integrating WhatsApp Ordering with their restaurant or cloud kitchen.
How Can You Make Your Online Food Ordering System Efficient?
The efficiency of an online food ordering system largely depends on simplifying and optimizing every step of the order fulfillment cycle. This cycle can be broken into the following core parameters:
Order Placement & Preparation
The cycle starts by receiving a customer’s order on your restaurant’s online ordering platform. Customers have the flexibility to browse the whole menu, personalize their orders, select quantities, make payments, and complete the order. Upon the completion of the order, the order details are directly reflected on your restaurant’s POS system via smooth integrations.
All of the data is captured and billing is automatically generated by the integrated POS system without requiring any manual order punching. Here’s when you can begin the order preparation parallelly depending on the order details.
Order Status Updates to Customers
Upon order preparation, the customers are kept well-informed about the status of their orders in real-time at various stages via SMS, WhatsApp, Push Notifications, etc. The updates are sent to customers at different milestones, such as Order Confirmed, Order Preparation Started, Quality Check Done, Rider Assigned, Out for Delivery, Order Delivered, etc. Sending automated updates at important milestones facilitates transparency among customers around the progress of the order.
Rider Assignment & Tracking
Then comes one of the essential components of the Online Ordering ecosystem - assigning a rider to deliver the order. The restaurant’s delivery management system assigns a delivery rider to fulfill the order delivery. The algorithm analyses multiple crucial factors such as rider availability, foot traffic, distance, route to the customer’s address, and more.
The online ordering system cannot run smoothly without the robust delivery operations of a restaurant or cloud kitchen. Appropriate assignment of orders to riders is achieved by having a reliable delivery fleet, readily available even during peak hours. Thus, you must have on-demand access to enough reliable delivery partners to fulfill the rising number of orders without any logistical hassles.
To achieve this, you should look for a platform that offers seamless integrations with third-party logistics partners, real-time rider tracking, POS integrations, and more.
Order Fulfillment & Delivery Authentication
The last and most important step in the online ordering cycle is order fulfillment, which involves delivering the food securely and swiftly to the right customer. Restaurant owners must prioritize the following to ensure accurate order deliveries:
- Keeping track of the rider’s live location to ensure there are no errors.
- Adding layers of verification with OTPs or ID checks before the final handover of the order.
- Guaranteeing the proper packaging of food with leak-proof and secured packaging material.
- Validating the customer address details when handing it over to the rider to ensure accurate deliveries.
In unison with this whole ecosystem, effective marketing is equally crucial to power online food ordering successfully. Delivering successful campaigns via SMS, WhatsApp, or Push Notifications increases customer loyalty and promotes repeat business as it keeps encouraging customers to place more frequent orders. Restaurants may fail to leverage the maximum potential of online ordering platforms without a dedicated focus on marketing.
There are endless platforms in the market that offer different functionalities to restaurants and cloud kitchens. While some platforms specialize in ensuring top-notch deliveries, some offer exceptional marketing automation tools, and some excel in serving well-functioned food ordering systems. However, using multiple systems - one for online ordering, one for deliveries, one for marketing, etc., may lead to complexity and fragmented customer data.
This is where an all-in-one, integrated solution like uEngage helps restaurants and cloud kitchens. It offers all these vital functions, including all types of online food ordering, delivery management, third-party integrations, and multi-channel marketing automation in one place. With uEngage, businesses can achieve streamlined operations, improve customer experience, and increase profitable revenues from online ordering systems.