SOLUTIONS

5 Things That Hinder Your Customers' Ordering Experience (and 3 Things You Can Do About It)

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December 9, 2021

Your customers’ experience at your restaurant starts with their ordering process. So if you want to make sure that you get off on the right foot with them, you have to optimize ordering.

If you’re not sure how to do that, no worries. You’re in the right place.

We’ve put together this article to tell you 5 things that could be holding your customers’ ordering experience back and 3 things you can do about it.

Let’s get into it.

How ordering experience impacts restaurants

The rise of delivery and online ordering has had a huge impact on restaurants in recent years. 

But while it’s great to make that a priority at your restaurant, you can’t neglect your customers’ in-person ordering experience. Here’s why.

Customer wait times

Cultivating loyal customers is one of the main goals of every restaurant. But one of the most-cited reasons for not returning to a restaurant is long wait times

So you need to make sure that your customers aren’t waiting too long if you want them to stick around. That means it’s important to identify and eliminate your bottlenecks until none remain.

If your restaurant’s ordering process is slow, everything else slows down as well. And that could have a very real impact on your bottom line.

Overall restaurant experience

There’s a lot that goes into determining how a customer feels about your restaurant. 

If your ordering experience is confusing, unenjoyable and a general bother, it could give new customers a bad taste before they get to experience your food.

What matters for a customer’s ordering experience

Before diving into what you can do to optimize your ordering experience, it’s worth reviewing what goes into making this part of your restaurant great. 

Here are the three big factors to keep in mind while thinking about your ordering experience.

Speed

When someone goes out to a restaurant, they do so because they want to have a good time. What they don’t want is to waste a lot of that time standing in line waiting to order.

So one of the first things you want to think about is how to make your restaurant’s ordering experience as efficient as possible for its customers. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to optimizing this part of your establishment.

Clarity

In order to deliver an optimal ordering experience, you also need to make sure that your menus are clear. If they’re not, customers will struggle to make a selection. 

This could result in them not getting the type of experience that they truly want at your restaurant and could lead to longer lines as well.

Digital menus can help a lot with this––more information on them later.

Convenience

At the end of the day, ordering at your restaurant is something that you generally don’t want your customers to even pay attention to. It should be convenient enough not to infringe upon their enjoyment of your business. 

So make sure that you’re doing what you can to make the ordering process as convenient as possible for your patrons.

5 things holding your ordering experience back

Now that we know what sets a great ordering experience apart from an average one, here are 5 things that could be keeping your restaurant from getting there.

Unintuitive menu design

One of the most important aspects of creating a positive ordering experience is ensuring that your guests can read your menus

If it’s difficult for a person to see or understand your menu from a distance — or even up close — then that person is going to take longer to order once they get to the front of the line.

Your staff is going to have to answer their questions and clarify your unclear menu. This makes the ordering process more of a bottleneck, which drags down the overall restaurant experience that you provide to your guests.

Lack of images

More than just words, it’s also important for your customers to be able to visually see what you’re selling. If they can’t, then they may be more indecisive about what to choose, which could bring up wait times.

Similarly, if a customer can’t see pictures of your food, they may have more questions about its size and ingredients. This is another factor that can make the ordering process more difficult for your other guests.

Long lines

Waiting in line is never fun. So if your customers have to do a lot of it when they visit your restaurant, they may start looking elsewhere the next time they want to get a meal.

So if your lines are longer than average, consider adding staff to the schedule during peak hours. Doing so could be just what you need to fix the problem.

No order-ahead options

In today’s age of convenience, many people prefer to order their food in advance so that it’s ready once they arrive at your restaurant. If you’re not doing this already, you could be negatively impacting your customers’ ordering experience in two ways.

First, a customer who only has a small amount of time to eat at your restaurant may go elsewhere if you don’t let them order food in advance.

Second, by not allowing customers to order in advance, you increase the wait times at your restaurant since everyone has to wait until getting there to place an order.

Paper menus

Paper menus can also really bring down your restaurant’s ordering experience. Customers frequently misplace them and may even throw them away inadvertently. When you run out, it can seriously slow down your restaurant’s ordering process until you’re able to refill them. It’s also time-intensive and expensive to update or replace them as you adjust your menu. 

3 ways to make improvements to your ordering process

The factors shown in the previous section could be bringing down the quality of your ordering experience and thereby reducing the enjoyment that customers get from visiting your restaurant.

If you think that you’re struggling with some of these problems, don’t worry. Here are three concrete steps you can take today to fix them.

Create digital menus

One of the easiest ways to fix a subpar ordering experience is by going digital. Digital menus are powered by digital signage. They’re made up of television screens, digital signage software and a media player.

Digital menus are a better option than traditional ones for a few reasons.

First, they let you display your restaurant’s offerings on high-resolution screens. This can make your menus clearer so that everyone in line can easily see what you have to offer.

Additionally, digital menus are much easier to update than physical ones. That’s because all that it takes to do so is making a change in your software instead of having to print out an entirely new menu. This gives you more flexibility to always offer the dishes that your customers like best.

Give customers more ways to order

Another great strategy is giving your customers more ways to order. This includes online ordering, mobile ordering and potentially even self-ordering inside of your restaurant.

Self-ordering kiosks reduce your reliance on staff to give your customers a smooth ordering process. This can help minimize your downside risk in the event that your restaurant gets very busy.

You can use digital signage to set up self-ordering kiosks. UPshow’s software is perfect for this. It’ll let you swap effortlessly back and forth from self-ordering stations to advertisements for your company and even live streaming entertainment.

Update your processes to speed things up

If your ordering experience isn’t where you want it to be, part of the reason for that could be that your processes around ordering aren’t yet ideal.

For example, maybe the layout of your restaurant is such that when people go up to order, they haven’t actually gotten a chance to look at your menus yet. This could bring up the average amount of time that it takes to order a dish significantly.

It’s also possible that staff members who take orders have other responsibilities that are pulling them away from customers. This could be worth looking into if you often see guests standing at the cash register waiting to check out but no employee available to help them.

UPshow helps restaurants optimize ordering

If you’re serious about optimizing your restaurant’s ordering experience, then investing in digital signage is one of the best things that you can do to accomplish that.

UPshow’s digital signage software is perfect for restaurants. It makes it incredibly easy to create engaging digital menus, self-ordering kiosks and share high-quality pictures of your offerings, among other things.But don’t take our word for it. Sign up for a free custom demo of UPshow today to see exactly how much your restaurant can benefit from it.

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