Online Ordering For Restaurants: A Report from Cornell University

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Online & Mobile Ordering

April 11, 2014

Cornell University, one of the top universities in the world recently published a study regarding online ordering for restaurant and the baggage that comes with it. The study, headed by Sheryl Kime talks about the ‘current state of online food ordering in the restaurant industry’ and focuses mostly on restaurants in the United States, though it’s also safe to come to the conclusion that it holds true to the Indian restaurant industry scenario too.

The study was more interesting because it not just looked at online ordering systems at close quarters but also led me to strongly believe that sooner or later, all takeout restaurants (fine dining too, maybe) will have to have an online ordering solution on their websites if they want to stick around.

 

The study does a fine job of analyzing current state of online ordering systems for restaurants along with introducing a complete analysis of decision-support tools.

 

The study brought forth various facts and figures to light, which even if already known, served as a huge eye-opener for the restaurant industry and gave compelling support to online ordering systems.

  1. About one-fourth of restaurant takeout operators are accepting online orders, thus propagating online ordering for restaurants.
  2. Of the 300-odd restaurant operators accepting takeout orders who were surveyed, all of them who used the Internet for accepting orders reported the clients being pleased and hence, online ordering systems meeting their expectations.
  3. With substantial increases in average check with online ordering for restaurants, it was seen that online ordering boosted the order frequency of numerous restaurants.
  4. Customer’s need for personal interaction was also showcased via results of this study, thus letting restaurant know that they should bond more with their consumers on a personal level.
  5. The study helped hotel managers make strategic comparisons among competitor hotels on critical success factors based on online ordering systems, giving them the boost they needed.
  6. While many gushed about how the top benefit of online ordering systems was a savings in labour since employees won’t be tied up on the phone for a long time, many other said that order accuracy was also a brownie point.

 

How restaurateurs are benefitting is a whole new aspect, according to the study.

Most of them feel that their promotions and advertisements work better online. With a direct relationship with customers, it is now easier to interact with them and establish relationships on a personal level, hence triggering their ordering behavior. Online ordering for restaurants are also working in the favor of the eateries when websites offer incentives that only work online.

Customer satisfaction for online ordering systems was also found to be quite high and conveniences along with control were among the many reasons why. Many were even caught saying that lack of human interaction or technology-handicap did not serve as an obstacle.

Kime also found out that most customers preferred large orders and catering orders to do via online ordering systems as they had the ability to review each and every detail before making the final call.

Moreover, features like order confirmation mails, secure credit card processing, delivery time commitment, etc made consumers feel more empowered.

The concluding segment of the report which states that ‘online ordering will almost certainly become a feature that most customers expect to have available to them..’ says it all indeed. 

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