Business and Operations
Making Dough with Diane: January-February 2015
Six reasons e-ordering is the way to go
In today’s fast-paced world, restaurant owners and operators, especially those in the pizza industry, need to get their customers in and out as quickly as possible.
One of the biggest trends you will see in 2015 is the rollout of much more high-tech gadgetry at restaurant and foodservice operations, especially e-ordering programs.
E-ordering allows customers to order their own food in one of two ways: by using a tablet provided at their table, or a kiosk at fast-casual operations, or by using an app on their smartphones or tablets.
For owners and operators, this allows for more precise ordering, less pressure with customers not having to stand around waiting for their orders, and saving on labour costs. It also allows operators to build a customer database and gain a lot more information about their customers’ eating and dining habits.
As for customers, they can order exactly what they want, when they want, without the hassle of having to repeat your order several times to ensure their server got it right!
Here are six benefits of incorporating e-ordering into your operation:
One of the biggest food trends of 2015 is the need for consumers to be able to customize their own menus when they go out to eat. This can be quite complicated for many regular restaurants, but it is ideal for a pizza operation. E-ordering allows for customers to pick and choose exactly what they want on their pizzas and creates less chance of error because it ensures there is no human communication breakdown between the customer, the server and the kitchen.
2. Ability to order ahead
Since everyone is always in a rush, e-ordering allows your customers to place and pay for their orders ahead of time by using an app on their smartphones or tablets, or by going online. Your staff should be able to provide an exact time when their order will be ready. If possible, have a separate express line in your operation for pickup as well as separate parking spots to ensure speedy service. The ability to pre-order allows your kitchen to work under less stress as there will be fewer impatient customers standing around waiting for their orders.
3. Easier table service
E-ordering is not just ideal for takeaway service. If your pizza operation has a dine-in area, consider installing tableside tablets where your guests can place their own orders.
Although you will still require staff to deliver the food and ensure guest satisfaction, e-ordering eliminates the need for your servers to constantly approach a table to see if they are ready to order or for guests to have to flag down their server when they are ready to order. Servers will be spending much less time asking customers about add-ons or which salad dressing they would like, and, hopefully, more time offering quality service.
4. Increase in customer loyalty
E-ordering will allow your pizza operation to create a database of all your customers and remember what they ordered during their last visit. Returning customers can log in to your restaurant, see exactly what they ate last time and easily order the exact same thing – or change it up. As an operator, you would be able to keep track of your customers’ favourite and least favourite items, and change your menu according to their tastes. You would also know if your guests are new or returning customers.
5. Easier payment
Once customers are ready to pay, they can easily do so either using their smartphones or the tableside tablet. This method eliminates the need to flag down a server, or having servers stand around waiting for customers to plug in their PIN numbers and calculate gratuities using the portable credit card machines that restaurants use today. This will save an enormous amount of time and help operators turn their tables even faster.
6. Entertainment for the kids (and adults)
As an alternative to colouring books and crayons that spill all over the floor, the tableside tablets can also be used as entertainment devices to keep the kids occupied. Use savvy marketing ideas to upsell more items or retail items in your pizza operation incorporated into videos and games. Or use the games to build customer loyalty rewards programs. The tableside tablet is an ideal tool to give more information about your operation to your customers.
Because a good manager leads by example, your pizza operation should start looking into setting up an e-ordering program.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, and marketing and promotional campaigns. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or via firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com.