Need for Online Ordering-Restaurants
One can always make a case for adding a Mobile Ordering option for retail business, but is there a need for Mobile Ordering when it comes to high-end restaurants that traditionally cater to Dine-In customers?
The argument has always been that high-end restaurants are not only selling their product but also the experience, and that can only be satisfied with a Dine-In arrangement. The discussion being that once Dine-In customers are lost to the Online world the experience will be lost and will affect the reputation of the restaurant.
The problem with this argument is the underlying assumption that Online-Ordering converts traditional Dine-In customers into Online Customers. Before we get into that lets discuss a bit about what drives sales at restaurants. Sure there are the known details like quality of food, peer reviews, social media presence and more but lets talk about 3 things that subconsciously restaurant owners know but might overlook.
Type of Food
Its really very simple, restaurants will have a hard time catering to the breakfast crowd, unless of course the restaurant’s menu is driven by breakfast. Simple, right? well, the same Dine-In experience the restaurant is selling might not work too well for a breakfast patron who is looking for a quick meal. Another way to look at it is, a lunch or dinner menu cannot be converted to a breakfast menu. So if the restaurant caters to lunch don’t try and sell breakfast.
Sure everyone talks about location, but have you thought of location with regards to the first point “Type of Food”. A restaurant situated in a purely residential neighborhood would have a hard time selling lunch… why? Well think about it, most of the patrons are at work, far away. So fit the menu to the crowd around you. As you can see, the first two points go together.
Now for the third point
Type of Sale
Not a lot of restaurant owners understand this as well. This brings us back to the main question, the “Need for Online Ordering”. The fact is that, there is an added revenue stream that is already there for restaurants to capitalize on.
Below is a chart that might help, for now just follow the red line.
7-10am the breakfast crowd is in but only 30% really want a dine in experience, its a rush to get the kids to school and to get to work. They would prefer a pick up and go experience.
10-11:30am the brunch crowd is revving up. This group prefers a dine in experience, its mostly parents catching up or business meetings. The drive here is face-to-face.
11:30-2pm lunch is ready, this is more or less a toss. There are in person meetings going on but also pick up orders for patrons who are working through lunch or even office lunch meetings.
2-6pm the graveyard of Dine-In restaurants. Food really isn’t on anyone’s mind. Until it gets closer to 6pm, then its “What’s for Dinner?” Most of the orders at this point are Dinner being picked up on the way back from the office. The problem with this time period is Dine-In is the last thing on everyone’s mind.
6-11pm Dinner has come together. The Dine-In crowd is ready to hit the ground hard. This is the peak time for traditional high-end restaurants.
Now its time to consider where Online Ordering fits in.
7-10am Parents would love the idea of placing an order via their phone and picking it up on the way to drop the kids off at school and then work.
10-11:30am Online suffers during this window but with the option of Office Meetings that can be ordered and picked up during this time why wouldn’t restaurants provide the option.
11:30-2pm That working through lunch patron would jump at the opportunity to order for an item and pick it up, rather than come in stand in line to Order, Pay and Pickup.
2-6pm This is the driver for the need for online sales, Parents leaving work for home can pick up dinner. Late afternoon business meetings can place orders all during what was considered the sales down cycle time. The best part is since these are online orders there isn’t the need for a large staff at the front desk. Most of the orders come through to the kitchen staff and a skeleton front desk staff will suffice.
6-11pm think movie night at home. Online orders still has a hold here.
A lot of restaurant owners talk about a Phone-In to order option. The answer to that is simple, Calling up and placing
So given this, why wouldn’t a restaurant try and attract a newer Online Savvy customer base?
The question to ask really is; How can you cater to customers who love your food, but don’t have the time for a traditional restaurant setting?
George Verghis is the CEO and Founder of MoblTabl. A Mobile Order Management Application. The software provides a framework that requires minimal integration time while providing an almost instantaneous Mobile Ordering Presence. George has almost 2 decades dedicated to Order Management and is now fitting in old concepts into a new mobile world.