A Step-by-Step Guide To Setting Up an Online Ordering System for Your Restaurant

an Online Ordering System for Your Restaurant
Image by Victor He on Unsplash

Many restaurant owners were compelled to innovate amidst the pandemic. If not, they faced the grim prospect of closing permanently.

Numerous restaurants swiftly pivoted their operations to go digital. They revamped their business models to incorporate online ordering platforms. This helped bridge the gap between their delectable offerings and eager customers.

This practice still holds true today. Research indicates that online ordering will boost restaurant revenue to $1.22 trillion in 2024, reflecting its increasing popularity.

In this guide, we will assist you in setting up an online ordering system. We will review every step in detail—from picking the  best platform to promoting your online presence .

Step 1: Pick the Right Platform

It’s essential to start with the correct online ordering platform. There are many possibilities available. Therefore, consider their cost, usability, and suitability for your objectives and needs.

Assess your needs

Start by assessing your restaurant’s specific needs. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What is your budget?
  • Is the platform compatible with your existing systems? 

Research available options

Research different online ordering platforms and providers to find ones that meet your criteria. Look for platforms offering customizable menus and easy integration with your POS system. You must also ensure they have reliable customer support and a user-friendly interface.

Consider pricing and fees

Evaluate the pricing structure of each platform. Consider its setup fees, monthly subscription costs, transaction fees, and commission rates. Do they charge a flat fee? Do they get a percentage from each order? Think about how these fees will impact your profitability and budget.

Review features and functionality

Prioritize online ordering platforms with comprehensive features and functionality. SpotOn is one good example. It has a user-friendly interface and seamless POS integration. Its other robust features make it the top choice for numerous restaurants.

Key features to consider for online ordering systems for restaurants include:

  • Customizable menu layouts and design options
  • Integration with your POS system for seamless order processing
  • Supports for multiple payment methods
  • Order customization options, such as modifiers, add-ons, and special instructions
  • Loyalty program integration to incentivize repeat orders and customer retention
  • Marketing tools include email campaigns, promotional offers, and social media integration
  • Reporting and analytics capabilities to track sales, monitor trends, and make data-driven decisions

Check compatibility and integration

Ensure your online ordering platform is compatible with your existing POS system. It should also integrate well with your website and other technology solutions. Look for platforms that offer easy integration. They should provide documentation or support to help you set up.

Check reviews and testimonials

Read reviews and testimonials from other people using the online ordering platform you are considering. Pay attention to feedback about reliability, customer support, and overall satisfaction.

Request demos and trials

Contact the developer to test the platform’s features and functions. Request for trial versions or demonstrations. Take advantage of these opportunities. Ask questions, explore features, and evaluate their compatibility.

Make an informed decision

Based on your research, assessment, and testing, decide which online ordering platform best fits your restaurant. Top considerations include pricing and features. But you should also consider compatibility and the user experience. Ultimately, choose the platform that offers the most value for your money.

Step 2: Set Up Your Menu

Configuring your menu on the platform is the second step. Spend time entering each menu item’s costs, descriptions, and customization or add-on choices. 

Ensure your menu is aesthetically pleasing and straightforward. Include mouthwatering and high-quality photos. Categorize items accordingly. This categorization should help customers easily find what they want.

Here are some additional tips to help you set up your menu effectively:

Include allergen and nutritional information

Don’t forget to accommodate customers with dietary restrictions. Provide allergen and nutritional information for each item. Indicate common allergens. Plus, specify details such as calorie count, fat content, and protein levels.  

This information can help your customers feel confident in their selections.

Optimize for online ordering

Ensure you optimize your menu by simplifying and streamlining the online ordering process. Consider grouping items into meal bundles or combos. You can also offer family-sized portions for sharing and highlight popular or recommended items. 

Finally, update your menu to reflect seasonal specials, limited-time offers, or changes.

Step 3: Configure Payment and Delivery Options

Most online ordering platforms support various payment methods. So you’ll have plenty to choose from.  

Will you offer delivery and pickup? If so, set up delivery zones and fees accordingly. Consider partnering with third-party services like Uber Eats or Grubhub. These services can help you save money on in-house delivery.

Food Delivery
Image by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Step 4: Customize Your Ordering Page

Personalize your online ordering page to reflect your branding and style. Upload your logo and choose complementary colors. You can also add custom images to represent your brand

Write a welcoming message or brief restaurant description on your ordering page. But remember that these should seamlessly align with your restaurant’s website and marketing materials.

Step 5: Test the Ordering Process

Thoroughly test the ordering process to ensure everything works correctly. Place test orders using different devices and browsers to help identify any glitches or issues. 

Test the payment processing system. Verify that payments go through securely and accurately.

Lastly, solicit feedback from staff members, friends, and family. This gives you an outside perspective on the user experience.

Step 6: Train Your Staff

Once your online ordering system runs, you must train your staff to manage orders effectively. Designate a point person or team responsible. They will be in charge of the process, from monitoring incoming orders to coordinating delivery or pickup. 

Train them to use the online ordering platform correctly. Teach them how to process payments and handle customer inquiries. Emphasize accuracy, speed, and excellent customer service.

Step 7: Promote Your Online Ordering System

It is now time to promote your new system to your customers and attract new business. Effective promotion can help raise awareness. It can also drive traffic to your platform and encourage repeat orders. 

Here are some ways you can promote your online ordering system effectively.

Create promotional materials

Design eye-catching materials to promote your online ordering system. Include digital assets such as website banners or social media graphics. You can also send out email newsletters or create digital signages. Communicate the benefits of ordering online, such as convenience, safety, and special offers.

Update your website

Prominently feature your online ordering system on your website. Add a dedicated “Order Online” button or widget on your homepage and navigation menu. This makes it easy for visitors to access your online ordering platform. Provide clear instructions on how to place orders online.

Utilize social media

Use social media to encourage users. Share posts, stories, and videos showcasing your system. You can also highlight special deals and promotions. Ask your followers to share their experience with friends and family.

Email marketing

Send targeted email campaigns to promote your online ordering system. Segmenting your email list using customer preferences, ordering history, and demographics is essential. Don’t skip tailoring your messaging accordingly. 

Partner with influencers

Invite influencers or food bloggers to try your menu items. In return, ask them to share their experience with their followers. This can help generate buzz and attract new customers to your restaurant

Implement loyalty programs

Implement a loyalty program for repeat customers. This encourages them to order online regularly. Offer points, rewards, or exclusive perks. Give discounts on future purchases. Try offering free items or VIP access to special events.

Step 8: Monitor Performance and Make Adjustments

Once your online ordering system runs, regularly monitor its performance and adjust as needed. Track key metrics. This could include order volume, average ticket size, and customer satisfaction ratings. You can also monitor delivery times to identify areas for improvement.

Use surveys or reviews to solicit customer feedback. Use this insight to refine your menu offerings, pricing, and delivery options. 

Setup Your Online Ordering System Today

Setting up an online ordering system may seem time-consuming. However, it has many benefits. This includes increased sales and improved efficiency.

But most importantly, you can boost customer satisfaction. 

Follow the steps outlined above to launch your online ordering system successfully. Contact experts if you have questions. Remember that your restaurant can prosper in the digital age by using the appropriate strategy.