The Future of Online Ordering
Online Ordering is all the rage! But how has this virtual concept reshaped kitchen operations?
As the consumer demand for delivery escalated during 2020, brick-and-mortar restaurants found that adding online brands was a lifesaver. For operators, the virtual concept helped compensate for the loss of sit-down dining. As it stands, we can expect them to continue to provide a sales boost amid ongoing consumer interest in off-premises dining.
Choosing to create your virtual brand - whether it is an extension of your brick-and-mortar business or an entirely separate brand - your biggest concern is to reduce the investment required to add this concept to your existing kitchen(s). Online Ordering has the potential to generate incremental revenues and profits for operators if the costs involved remain relatively low.
Equipment & Layout:
For those looking to increase revenue, equipment and layout considerations are two of the most crucial factors. Installing new equipment requires an upfront investment and often involves ongoing maintenance and other expenses; you have to be incremental to your existing operations.
Many full-service restaurants usually have extensive menus and fully outfitted kitchens, so equipment should not be an issue. The other component is kitchen configuration - the added production can lead to a bottleneck. Re-evaluate your kitchen layout to improve production by using your space more efficiently.
Storage can be an issue amid the increased volumes. One solution for this is better stock control and additional cold storage capacity.
Keep the production of additional menu items to a minimum with careful planning. Be intentional in the way you build your menu. Focus on ingredients, preparation and operational know-how to create menu items that are easily transported and use many of the same ingredients, equipment and processes already in place.
Allow for some minor tweaks to your menus to accommodate your operations specific needs. The quality and consistency of your virtual brand are crucial to their success.
Prepared dishes, entrees and sides need to look exactly like the images displayed on the ordering apps / digital menus.
Distribution & Communication:
Another aspect of Online Ordering that can be challenging includes distribution and Advertising.
There are many ways to get your virtual brand to your customer's front door. Third-Party being one of them. Many operators have found this to be an expensive avenue that eats into profits through the various charges associated with these services.
You are also competing with other restaurants on these platforms and have little control over building customer loyalty this way. The alternative is using a dedicated online ordering application, like our New White Label Online Ordering App.
Our App is fully customisable - to match your brand, easy to install for customers, light on resources and compatible with all smartphone platforms. It allows you to push specials to your customers and has a built-in loyalty program. Click here to find out more.
Can it work for your business?
For most operators, adding virtual brands to their existing kitchens is no different from producing seasonal or limited-time specials. It just requires some planning and coordination.
These virtual concepts can prove to be so successful that they warrant additional attention. The rationale for online ordering is to bolster business but should be flexible enough to not affect your Number one concern. What's best for business and what's best for the customer that was kind enough to decide to walk into your establishment?