Online ordering is quickly becoming a must-have service for restaurants. It does not matter if your restaurant serves burgers and pizza or haute cuisine, customers love the convenience of being able to order food with a few clicks of their mouse or taps on their mobile device screen.
Designing a mobile app is a crucial step for improving your online ordering experience, but directly integrating your POS system with your online ordering platform is possibly even more important. It is a popular addition for employee and customer convenience, you need to consider whether it is a necessity or simply a novelty. Here are the pros and cons of integrating your POS system with online ordering.
As a business owner, you need to consider customer service above everything else. There are both pros and cons to consider related to customer service when you integrate your POS system with online ordering:
Allowing orders to be placed directly into your POS removes the potential for human error when keying in online orders at the register. The likelihood of incorrectly entering orders and wasting food is reduced immensely. Customers are happier and kitchen staff is less stressed out. Plus, streamlining your customer experience makes the online ordering process more convenient.
Since orders go directly from the internet to the kitchen, the staff has no opportunity to let customers know an order cannot be fulfilled for any reasons, like a lack of the right ingredients. Since by this point, the order has already been paid for, the staff has to go through extra steps to cancel the order and refund their money. This process can be devastating to your level of customer service.
Efficiency and Reliability
Of course, you want to run your business efficiently with a high level of reliability. Integrating your POS system with online ordering has both pros and cons in these areas:
Having a computer enter online transaction into the POS provides more efficient workflow than if you leave that responsibility to a staff member. Allowing a computer to do the work means you will have one more set of hands available up front to seat customers and wait tables. Integrating the systems also eliminates the possibility of mistakes when entering incorrect payment information or reconciling receipts between the two systems at the end of the day. Overall, integrating your POS and online ordering lets you keep takeout and dine-in customers happy quickly and efficiently with greater reliability.
Having one system for placing and processing orders, can create serious workflow issues for the kitchen. When you do not have a dedicated system for letting the kitchen know which materials are in stock, problems can arise when orders come in that the staff cannot fulfill because the necessary materials to prepare it are used up or the menu is out of date. Preventable headaches can crop up when staff cannot prepare orders in time for pickup or delivery.
You can have the best restaurant in the world, but if you do not market it well, people will not know about it. Integrating your POS system with online ordering has both pros and cons in your marketing potential for your establishment:
Creating a direct link between your POS and online ordering makes it easier to implement marketing techniques and campaigns. Print coupons on receipts for takeout and delivery, or send customers a link to a feedback survey in their confirmation SMS or email. Tying that survey to a discount off their next order, is an easy way to collect contact information for email marketing and SMS ad campaigns. Furthermore, you also have the option of saving their contact information in the POS database to make their next online order via mobile or computer faster thanks to a secure login.
If your online ordering platform and POS are directly connected, integrating your social media accounts and presence is far more complicated. When the systems are separate, you can more easily link customers to social media accounts directly from their order confirmation screen. “Followers get free stuff” is a great way to generate a loyal customer base and increase your social media presence, but it is complex to make a program of that nature work if all orders go direct to a POS system. Instead, most businesses end up creating and running an independent marketing campaign, which adds complexity and takes up more time than running an all-in-one system.
You need to choose what works best for your business. If integrating your online ordering and POS systems is going to create more problems than it solves, then it is likely not the right fit for you or your restaurant. But, if you can integrate both systems without creating headaches and it helps to keep both your customers and staff happy, then go for it! Regardless of your decision, if it will make business better or keep business running smoothly, it’s the right choice.
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