Does equipping your food establishment with a digital ordering system always guarantee an increase in restaurant sales? To be frank, not always. However, in light of this truth, in today’s consumer tech-savvy economy, having a digital ordering system can certainly play a contributing role in helping food brands generate additional sales, in comparison to those who decide to wait, or not try at all.
At the end of the day, more transactions do not always equal more sales. Below are some of the possible reasons why many restaurant brands are shy of meeting their projected digital ordering revenue goals:
You plan to fail, if you fail to plan. Touted by restaurantpreneurs, an effective digital ordering program must be nurtured as you would a child and never tossed aside as another piece of tech. Ensuring the success of digital ordering is never a one-and-done. Rather, it involves end-to-end prudent planning and a collaborative effort between store-level operations, alongside key business units/functions and expert technical system implementation teams.
As the late Benjamin Franklin stated and later re-coined by actor Denzel Washington, “You plan to fail, if you fail to plan.” For some restaurants, 30 – 90 days is all it takes, while other food establishments require upwards of 6 months to 1+ year.
Insufficient staff training. Not equipping your staff with proper digital ordering training prior to launch can certainly hinder and harm a restaurant’s ability to generate profitable sales, not to mention falling short of delighting guests with an exemplary online ordering experience. Without the proper training, your restaurant staff will not be equipped with the know-how and resources, nor possess the necessary hands-on-skills to maximize the full potential of your restaurant’s digital ordering sales earning capabilities.
Insufficient staff training can and will often lead to frustrated in-store associates and upset customers waiting to pick-up their online orders, yielding a less than adequate digital ordering experience for guests. To that end, failing to appropriately equip staff members can damage your restaurant’s brand and result in blundering consumer confidence scores, poor guest experience measurement ratings, and ultimately lead to a loss in potential sales.
Along the same vein, it is also important for restaurants to consider organizing on-going training for existing and new staff members.
Poor execution. An inadequately trained staff is the perfect formula to send waves of aftershocks to cripple any restaurant’s digital ordering program while eroding the confidence, support, and commitment from store-level operations. It is also one of the clear indicators of poor execution.
As a remedy, consider involving in-store staff members to be a part of the digital ordering conversation in efforts to collaboratively work towards a successful digital ordering program launch for your restaurant. Introduce new policies and procedures to help streamline the digital ordering process, with the goal of making life easier for the restaurant staff, ensuring full adherence to food safety and proper food handling guidelines, as well as delivering exceptional guest experiences.
Wrong team. Whether you are a restaurant operating a single location, or multi-unit franchise, one overlooked and obvious detriment to the success of digital ordering, is empowering the wrong team of people and yes, sometimes this also includes members from your food brand’s executive leadership team (i.e., CFO, CMO, CTO, etc.). This without a doubt will result in restaurant’s generating lower than expected digital ordering sales.
Another noteworthy mention is many food brand’s large and small are often too quick to create fictitious stories regarding why their restaurant has yet to experience a positive bump in sales. Rather than arriving at a sound conclusion backed by hard data, some restaurant brands take the easy way out and decide to blame the technology or vendor. Sadly, only after the damage has been done, do teams find out it was due to empowering the wrong people and a less-than-accountable executive leadership team driven by their own self-interests. This ultimately contributes to the loss of hundreds and millions in potential restaurant sales for owners, stakeholders, and shareholders alike.
Not addressing customer inquiries, feedback, and complaints. As it was stated by the Greek philosopher, Epictetus, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” This timeless quote highlights a particularly important point that can gravely impact the performance of digital ordering sales.
Failing to listen, or choosing not to address, but rather ignoring customer feedback related to issues with your restaurant’s digital food ordering system can lead to heartburn, souring customer relationships, damaged brand credibility, and a stopped-flow of additional sales for your restaurant.
To aid in this matter, consider consulting your digital ordering company to see if they provide customer and other technical support services outside of their digital ordering technology platform. Restaurants should also consider forming their own customer support team to ensure that all feedback provided by guests are appropriately handled with the strictest of due diligence, quality, and customer care.
Poor, or little to no marketing. As the adage states, “Well, it’s not going to just sell itself.” Food establishments must always be actively marketing their digital ordering program if they want to sustain their competitive advantage in the restaurant marketplace. Marketing is vital to a restaurant’s livelihood because it helps to build a relationship between business establishments and its customers. In this regard, restaurants need to be continuously marketing digital ordering in efforts to keep loyal guests coming while attracting new potential customers and continuing to build a relationship of trust and understanding. This can and does often lead to more repeat visits both in-store and online, happier guests, and possibly an increase in your restaurant’s average check size.
Issues with restaurant logistics and customer journey. As previously shared, do not make the mistake of quickly blaming the technology when restaurant sales performance is down. If you believe you have the right team of people, a viable marketing execution plan and a high performing customer support group, then you may want to consider looking at your restaurant logistics and customer journey.
This is another overlooked causation that contributes to poorly performing digital ordering sales. Again, you plan to fail, if you fail to plan. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment. You placed your food order online and paid for your meal using the restaurant’s digital ordering system. Next, you arrive at the restaurant to pick-up your order and it’s not ready…you have to wait another 30 minutes and it’s still not ready. Finally, when you receive your food, it is someone else’s order.
Are you getting the picture now? Restaurants need to have a proper in-store digital ordering fulfillment process as part of the customer journey to prevent a less than ideal experience for its customers. Issues with restaurant logistics will certainly impact sales. Longer than expected customer wait times, encountering food preparation-related delays, or improper food handling and concerns with food safety can discourage customers from placing future online orders and negatively impact digital ordering sales.
Unexpected fees and costs. Always do your homework, read the fine print, and be sure to double-check that your digital ordering service provider is not charging your restaurant more than what they promised. So many restaurants attribute their low digital ordering earnings to unexpected commissions, fees, and costs that had surfaced and stripped from their bottom-line.