Restaurants face a difficult challenge when it comes to perfecting their menus. They must simultaneously understand which items are their biggest sellers, attempt to minimize the number of one-off ingredient requirements, and attempt to incorporate new options to keep their offerings fresh. With the added challenges of COVID-19 though, the menu creation process is more complex than ever, especially when it comes to managing allergens and the very popular trend of going gluten-free.
The recent boom in online ordering platforms has added another challenging aspect to the quest in maintaining an optimal menu. With online ordering being “the norm” for the foreseeable future, you lose the luxury of having your wait staff or counter workers being able to provide customer guidance on the varying dietary options that you can offer. Fortunately, there are a few simple solutions to help address the challenges of managing both your full menu and specialty dietary options through an online platform.
The Power of Online Ordering Platforms
Innovations in POS technology have given foodservice businesses the ability and power to present the most accurate menu information possible while allowing customers to engage with them from afar. Having these key features in place will not only help you build your reputation as a flexible and conscientious dining establishment, but will also provide you with a number of advantages and benefits. The top benefits are below:
1. Concise Data Integration Between All Areas of Your Restaurant.
Incorporating online ordering into any business model adds new processes and data that must be analyzed, managed, and tracked. Collecting the data is the easy part when you have an all-inclusive POS solution. Data streams into your POS solution in a format that is consistent regardless of its source, providing you with the fullest integration possible and giving you the confidence that the analytics you use are steering you in the right direction.
But what does data management have to do with special dietary menus? In many cases (depending on the type of food establishment) the standard menu rarely changes, outside of the occasional chef’s special, seasonal offering, or sudden drop in popularity of a particular item. This means that your staff knows exactly how to process each order on this menu with a high degree of accuracy, and the customers receiving their orders know exactly what to expect.
Dietary-based modifications complicate things though. Not only must you ensure that special dietary orders are filled perfectly, but in many cases, they must be created in a designated area of your kitchen. All of the dietary requests, whether for gluten-free options or nut-free ingredients, will run through the POS solution as data, allowing you to track, analyze, and use it for future orders that are similar. This allows your staff to eventually process the special orders with the same accuracy and speed as standard orders.
2. Powerful POS Technology Improves Food Safety in Your Kitchen.
In order to successfully field online orders for those customers with dietary restrictions, you will need to ensure the food prep areas meet safety standards. You may already have special arrangements in your kitchen to safely accommodate those with dairy, gluten, or nut allergies, but can your staff identify these orders with just a glance? A cutting-edge POS platform will be instrumental in keeping these orders flowing to the right area of the kitchen.
A modernized kitchen display system (KDS) is a perfect solution for managing online orders that arrive with attached dietary guidelines. Markers can be placed on these orders automatically by your POS system, which routes these special orders to just the tablets mounted in your food prep area that have been set aside for processing these specific orders. The staff will know instantly that special food handling and prep is required, and can ensure the safety of the order throughout its preparation process.
3. Mobile Apps Bring Your Restaurant Into Customers’ Homes.
The meal preparation process cannot start without an order, and in the world of online ordering, this involves a website or an app. While websites have been used by restaurants and delivery services for quite some time, there are some limitations that can turn customers off from using them. Menus limitations are not always explicitly stated, and the areas to request dietary changes to an order are hard to find or are only presented as a blank “special instructions” text box.
Deploying a mobile app with your online ordering strategy makes the online ordering experience enjoyable and easy to understand. Intuitive, visual menus and options simplify the ability to request dietary changes to an order. The app also connects directly to your POS and KDS solutions, giving your kitchen a jump on order prep. Plus, your app makes any menu adjustments you make instantly available, and in some cases, can even notify your customers of the changes made.
Engaging Online Ordering Platforms Start With Capable POS Technology
Adding online ordering to your list of customer offerings requires that you have a robust foundation of POS technology in place. This becomes more imperative when you are looking for ways to accurately manage and fulfill online orders that arrive with dietary restrictions. These are areas where an experienced POS consultant like talech can help you design and implement a comprehensive solution to build an online ordering platform with an emphasis on meeting your customers’ expectations and keeping them safe.
The consultants at talech have in-depth technical expertise around building online ordering solutions that foster engagement with your customers. We strive to keep your customers safe, and will ensure our all-inclusive POS solution makes fulfilling orders with special dietary needs seamless.