This letter was recently sent to the editor of Nation’s Restaurant News, but you can read it here:
A recent online issue of Nation’s Restaurant News included a feature – 10 Ways to Build Business Inside Your Restaurant’s Four Walls. The article was good, with information and advice that all restaurateurs can use. Might we suggest a follow-up article – 10 Ways to Build Business Outside Your Restaurant’s Four Walls.
At the top of the list should be Online Ordering.
Allowing customers to order takeout or delivery from the convenience of the internet, including mobile phones and tablets, is a major innovation for the restaurant industry. Studies indicate that customers like to place orders online due to the degree of control and convenience it provides. Restaurants love it because they receive larger average tickets, the convenience encourages more frequent use, and they have the ability to sell more meals without overburdening the wait staff. Of course, these are just a few of the benefits.
According to a study by the Cornell University School of Hospitality, 43% of survey respondents ordered food online in 2010. Take that same group, and narrow it down to respondents between 18 and 35 years old, and it goes up to 60%! Both these figures are at least a year old and we know they are higher now. At NetWaiter, we venture to say that within the decade, and probably much sooner, restaurant customers will expect online ordering. Within some demographics, this is probably already true. Restaurants that don’t have online ordering will lose out on valuable business from valuable customers.