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The Importance of Native Online Ordering Solutions

Online Odering
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When restaurant dining rooms closed to help slow the spread of COVID-19, many businesses quickly shifted their focus to enabling their customers to order and pay online for takeout or delivery. Restaurants without native online ordering solutions turned to third-party ordering apps, such as DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub, to get their brands – and menus – online and engage customers digitally.

There were advantages to this strategy. Popular third-party online ordering apps have established users, so posting a menu there automatically made it accessible to many consumers in the restaurant’s market. Some third-party apps also included delivery in the restaurant’s area, so the business didn’t have to provide that service themselves.

The Downside of Third-Party Ordering Apps

Although third-party restaurant ordering apps gave businesses a way to continue to operate, expand their reach, and offer delivery, those advantages came at a price.

In addition to the fees and tips that customers paid to third-party apps, restaurants also paid for this service – and in some cases, paid a lot. A CNET article from May 2020 even detailed one example of a restaurant that earned more than $1,000 from 46 orders but only kept about $400 of it. Whether requiring customers to pay more for the restaurant’s fare or taking a chunk of the business’ profits, the financial aspect of using them creates challenges.

Third-party online ordering apps also cost businesses more than the fees they pay outright. In many cases, these apps don’t integrate with the point of sale (POS) system, so it means the restaurant has to set up separate tablets or laptops for each platform to accept orders. Then an employee has to rekey orders into the POS system to transmit them to the kitchen. The process is labor-intensive and error-prone, which can lead to mistakes, food waste, and dissatisfied customers.

Furthermore, working with the wrong app could harm a restaurant’s reputation. When customers engage through a third-party app, the ordering experience and the menu options they see are dictated by their app, and delivery experiences depend on their drivers. If the online user experience or service is poor, it will reflect negatively on the restaurant’s brand, not only on the third-party ordering app and delivery service.

The Benefits of Native Online Ordering Solutions

An alternative to third-party ordering apps is implementing native online ordering solutions, such as FOLOS and Real Time Ordering (RTO), that allow restaurants to accept orders directly. When an online ordering solution integrates with the restaurant’s payment platform, the result is streamlined processes. The customer places an order online, the solution automatically shares that data with your POS system, saving employees the time it takes to rekey orders – or to fix mistakes. The staff can be more productive and focus on providing exceptional customer experiences that will help build loyalty and build their takeout or delivery revenue stream.

And, besides the monthly fee to use the software, the restaurant pays nothing more to take orders online, and the markup to customers can be minimal.

How to Convert Restaurants from a Third-Party Ordering app to a Native Online Ordering Application

As a trusted advisor, it’s vital to not only provide restaurants with an online ordering solution but also value-adds and complementary solutions that will enable them to use it successfully. Your clients transitioning to omnichannel restaurants may benefit from customer relationship management, marketing automation or a promotions engine to engage customers online. They may also find value in an integrated loyalty solution so customers can easily earn and redeem rewards with online orders, integrated labeling solutions, so pickup orders are accurately and professionally labeled, and delivery management solutions.

Additionally, an integrated omnichannel payments platform will provide restaurants with the ability to accept the full spectrum of payment types either online or curbside when their customers pick up their orders. It can also enable customers to use gift cards or even place orders and pay on a kiosk. One payments solution that supports all payment types will provide those customer conveniences as well as an efficient way to manage payments on all channels and make end-of-the-day processes easier.

Position Your Restaurant Clients for Success

Online ordering was a growing trend before the coronavirus pandemic, with the market growing at a CAGR of 12.3 percent on a path to $37.7 billion by 2024. The trend picked up steam throughout 2020, but a Sense 360 survey found that 63 percent of diners prefer to order directly from the restaurant.

Restaurants have an opportunity to capture some of the market that’s dominated by third-party online ordering platforms by implementing native online ordering solutions. Integrating your restaurant POS solution with online ordering functionality gives your clients options that can help them meet customers’ needs and expectations affordably and effectively.

Help your Merchants implement Native Online Ordering Solutions!