Re-engage with lost customers
Depending on the provider of the technology, hospitality businesses should be given the chance to access their customers’ ordering data (here’s a tip – when engaging a service provider, ensure that this is included). That data can be used to inform operators about who their customers are, what they are ordering and how frequently. Importantly, it can also identify customers that haven’t placed an order over a set period of time.
Why is this important? Because it offers an opportunity for that customer to be re-engaged and brought back into the sales cycle. Consider a quick-service restaurant as an example. Each week ‘Customer X’ orders a burger meal to take away. They might miss the odd week but most months they place at least two orders. In August the data shows that ‘Customer X’ hasn’t placed any orders. The restaurant operator can now send the customer a push notification/text or email with a personalised offer to attract them back.
“Been on vacation? Settle back into work with a free burger on us this week using code WelcomeBackX”
The customer will be prompted to make an order, encouraged by the discount, and will feel special because of the timing of the message.
Streamline kitchen operations
Nothing helps planning ahead like knowing what’s actually ahead! Talk about hidden benefits!
With customers able to place orders as far in advance as you want, the kitchen can be well prepped for the day’s service. Knowing what needs to be ready and for when allows kitchen – and front of house – staff to streamline their operations and cope better with real-time orders as they arise.
Then, as the popularity of the service grows and order numbers increase, sales trends can be spotted, informing business and investment decisions that benefit the kitchen. For example, if there’s been a rise in fried food orders through the app, the addition of new a frying station can the production flow smooth.
Improve stock control
Related to the above point, the data gathered via mobile ordering can be used to inform stock control.
When working with an order-ahead platform, you should have access to a management dashboard allowing you to update menu options in real-time.
A great example of a company taking advantage of their order-ahead platform for stock control is events venue, The Brewery.
With a menu that changes regularly and the potential for items to run out during events there, the team updates its menus, in real-time, as required. Additionally, it uses data gathered by the platform to gauge the popularity of new, limited edition or seasonal items. This has allowed it to try out new products before committing them to menus permanently. Consequently it has started to expand pre-ordered food offering and is exploring different drinks packages for various stages of an evening – all of this is possible because of the extra information order-ahead provides.
Compete in a digital landscape
There is no getting round the fact that competition on the high street rising. Aside from being crowded, the industry is increasingly digital; offering customers the option of ordering via a mobile or online demonstrates to a customer that you understand their needs and helps your business remain competitive.
Think of it this way, even if you aren’t, other hospitality companies will be stepping up their game, giving customers a convenient food service through mobile ordering and delivery options. By doing so they will be building a strong and loyal following digital following. By not doing so, you won’t.
As has been said, there are hidden benefits to order-ahead app. It is much more than a way for consumers to skip the queue; the benefits for businesses are numerous and the essential outlay shouldn’t be excessive – especially if you choose a service with a monthly payment fee as opposed to commission charge. And if you don’t get digital? The risk is that you will end up playing catch-up, trying to meet evolved consumer expectations while your market leaders pull ahead.
It’s not as catchy as: ‘When is a door not a door?’ (answer, when it’s a jar) but it speaks to the idea that in-car collection, and the technologies that support it, are flexible enough to bend to the needs of a business and its guests.
Delivery can be daunting to the uninitiated, and it might be tempting to sign up with a third-party ordering aggregator that offers the service, such as UberEats, but other options could suit your business and brand better. Here we present three different ‘levels’ of delivery, starting with the most basic – and cheapest method: doing it yourself.