What to Look For in a Mobile Ordering Tech Provider
A recent WSJ article pointed out that mobile ordering has its drawbacks. Created to eliminate lines and congestion, online ordering sometimes can add too much volume for a restaurant to process at once and create what seems like intimidating lines for customers. After all, it’s every restaurant owner’s nightmare to see a decline in transactions due to technology that’s supposed to facilitate a better customer experience.
As a multi-unit franchisee owner of Freshii, I’ve seen firsthand how a learning curve affects managing online orders as a restaurant. However, in an increasing digital age, it’s impossible for any business to succeed without a strong digital and mobile presence.
Think about it: there’s currently a huge gap in local commerce that has yet to experience significant change: fast, low-cost food items. Local commerce still accounts for the majority of quick service restaurants, with 70% of Americans visiting a fast food restaurant at least three times a week on average. In fact, mobile restaurant ordering has increased by 18% among consumers under 35 years of age just in the past year. So the need for restaurants to adopt mobile ordering technology is clear.
When you’re evaluating mobile ordering technology partners, there are quite a few factors that you should use to make your decision. At Freshii, through partnering on mobile orders with Ritual, we’ve seen a 10% increase in profit since using mobile and online ordering services.
So what can mom-and-pop shops do with low profit margins to compete with Goliath? How can smaller restaurants avoid falling behind?
Your focus as a restaurant should be to partner with delivery or pickup services that make it easier for the merchant, not for the app providers. Let’s look at Ritual as an example of what to look for when it comes to a mobile ordering provider, and how to get the most out of this kind of service.
1.Choose a Provider With a Relationship-First Approach
What good is technology if you don’t know how to use it? One of my favorite things about working with Ritual is that the company provides data insights and operational support to ensure that your restaurant is successful. A good partner doesn’t just hand you the technology and run.
Similarly, not only did Ritual do 1-on-1 outreach with us to get to know our needs at Freshii, but the company also has benefits it provides repeat customers through its loyalty program. So the customer focus doesn’t just translate to your relationship with your partner, but towards your customers as well.
2. Keep An Eye On Forward Technology
A clean, user-friendly interface goes a long way to improving the customer experience and increasing adoption of a mobile ordering platform. So be sure to play with your partner’s offerings before signing up to make sure it’s the right fit for your customer.
I know that for me, a big perk with Ritual is that it simplifies the ordering process. For example, with its social ordering feature, known as Piggyback, it enables consumers to easily connect with their network of colleagues, making ordering frequent and convenient. Not only can co-workers collaborate on where to order from for lunch, but office mates also can hop on their order with their own separate payment method, and have their co-workers bring their lunch back to their desk for them, while eliminating the hassle of owing their co-worker money. It's excellent to partner with a company that understands how to take advantage of word of mouth and make processing orders even easier.
3. Search For the Largest Network to Leverage
Ritual has been instrumental in assisting us with our marketing and social media strategy. For example, the company has worked with us to create smart promotions and market them across its entire user base for greater amplification, ultimately increasing our customer base to draw in new Freshii customers.
When you’re looking at the right mobile ordering service for you, there are definitely red flags to pay attention to. Make sure that your partner is not drastically affecting your profit margins or cannibalizing your offerings, by pushing certain items at the expense of others.
It’s important to stay vigilant about which items are performing better than others — and why — and to notice mobile ordering patterns. But by partnering with a customer-first, mobile ordering platform, you can increase orders, boost profits, and improve the customer experience to deepen customer loyalty and expand your restaurant’s digital footprint and evangelists.