When it comes to food we didn’t make, we love hearing about the time and effort spent producing it.
We love hearing about artisan bread – balls of dough kneaded and shaped by hand in a dawn-lit bakery. Red wines that have slumbered in their barrels for 15 years, parmesan aged 36 months until it crumbles and crystalises. We love tall tales on menus about Japanese cows to support the mythology of wagyu beef.
How cruel, then, that a customer’s patience for their food will run out after about a 20 minute wait.
As with every other aspect of their businesses, when it comes to efficiency and speed, the hospitality industry is held to a high standard. Your business needs to be efficient to keep attracting new customers and keep existing ones loyal. Keeping up with these demands can be a tall order, and this is where an order and pay system can help.
Whether you’re a restaurant, cafe or coffee shop, pub or bar, hotel or B&B, or even a theatre. Not all order & pay systems will improve efficiency though. Choosing a good mobile ordering system increases efficiency, but a bad one can reduce it.
Below, we’ve outlined how systems like StoreKit Order & Pay can improve your business’ efficiency and what features you should look out for – so you can identify which mobile ordering system will work best for you.
Why do mobile orders increase efficiency?
1. Order accuracy
There’s nothing more exciting than that moment a waiter puts your plate in front of you. The inviting aroma of the beef patty wafts from your hamburger, as it dribbles melted cheese down the side of the bun – except that you’re a vegetarian and this isn’t the halloumi burger you ordered.
Errors will sometimes happen when ordering non-digitally, however skillful the waiter. Customers communicate orders to waiters, which might then get passed onto other staff – the traditional ordering process is like a high-stakes telephone game, ending in disappointed customers instead of hilarity.
And what’s more, mistaken orders can add up to a lot of wasted time and money. Cutting down means more sales and more profits. Digital ordering lets customers directly input their own orders instead. Bypassing a waiter means preventing mistakes that reduce efficiency.
2. The costs of Brexit
Come 1st January 2021, if you employ immigrants, it could become harder to hire new people, especially part-time or casual staff – unless you tend to employ ballerinas, geophysicists, and Mandarin teachers, that is.
But that seems pretty unlikely, so making operations as efficient as possible is crucial to navigating the labour shortage that the new points-based immigration system is expected to cause.
An order & pay system can help. With customers ordering on their own devices, staff don’t need to hand out menus or take orders and payments. Fewer waiters can take care of the same number of customers.
Even if you have enough staff, you can still benefit from the increased efficiency an order & pay system offers. For businesses where throughput is key, like coffee shops or bars, staff can prepare food and drinks instead of taking orders and payments. This means shorter waiting times for customers and more sales for you. For sit-down restaurants, waiters can focus more on being hospitable, like recommending dishes or checking on whether customers are enjoying their orders.
3. Civilisation won’t crumble if you dismantle the queue
“I love waiting in line to order,” said no one, ever. Queues are vulnerable to inefficiencies – according to Qminder, 25% of Brits will leave a queue after waiting for 2 minutes and 73% will give up at 5 minutes. (Also take a look at our guide to hacking queues.)
Staff not needing to take orders and payments can already speed ordering up. But the physical queue is by nature an inefficient thing – an anachronistic relic of a pre-digital age. Slower customers stop customers behind from ordering, however ready they are to order. This means slower throughput and fewer sales.
Instead, order & pay systems let customers order at their own pace, bringing an end to “the queue” as we know it. Perhaps it feels radical – “Dismantle the queue? Won’t civilisation just crumble apart?” But when you think about it, it’s much more efficient to let customers order according to their readiness to order, which an order & pay system allows. It also means happier customers – customers can order as quickly or as slowly as they want.
4. New economic spaces
Order & pay systems can increase efficiency for businesses with venues of any size. But for businesses with larger spaces – outside spaces or terrace areas, for instance – digital menus can add an extra layer of efficiency. It might be impractical to station waiters in all these extra spaces, but digital menus can turn them into economic spaces. It becomes possible to take orders from any space, maximising economic space in your venue.
Order & pay systems remove the need for tills. Instead, this space can also be turned into seats, and that means more opportunities to do business. Or, you might choose to downsize, to save on rent.
5. Goodbye – and good riddance – to printing costs
We belong to an era where letters have been replaced with messaging apps and books are being read on electronic devices. Were Shakespeare alive today, he would be tapping away at his MacBook keyboard. Paper as a medium for communication is becoming increasingly obsolete – and soon paper menus will be no exception.
Paper menus are impractical – they need to be replaced regularly due to seasonal menu changes or staining. Reprinting can be expensive – costs for designers, paper and printing, and transportation can quickly add up. But you can update a digital menu yourself with no cost, and it’s much quicker and easier too.
Instant updates mean that menus will always be up to date. Never again will waiters have to utter those dreaded words that reduce even adults to groans of despair – “I’m sorry, we’ve run out”. These instances create inefficiencies as well. It’s time lost that waiters could have spent attending to other customers and it’s extra time that customers occupy a seat or a place in a queue whilst deciding what to order again.
How to choose an order & pay system that boosts efficiency
1. Quick to use
There’s no point implementing an order & pay system if it’s not quick and efficient to use. So don’t be fooled – app downloads and account creations are your enemies when it comes to increasing efficiency.
As a progressive web app, StoreKit Order & Pay makes accessing a digital menu much quicker. A flourish of the phone to scan a QR code, and voilà, a menu materialises. No “ugh, this is taking forever” as customers wait for downloads to complete. This is crucial for grab & go services in particular, where speed is key – app downloads and account creations are highly likely to be off-putting.
2. Easy to use
A digital menu that’s difficult to use will slow customers down. Make sure you can create categories so customers can find what they want easily. You should also be able to add images and descriptions so customers can easily understand what the products you’re offering are. A digital menu can’t drive efficiency if confused customers end up flagging staff down constantly.
You can also take a look at our advice on building a digital menu.
At StoreKit, we’re firm believers in the importance of integration. This means the various software you use for different parts of your business, like inventory management or accounting, should be able to communicate and share data with each other. Your order & pay system is no exception to this.
It shouldn’t be you that has to re-type your orders and sales. Integration means it’ll be your software doing the legwork.
If you want to find out more about putting together your software stack, you can also check out our comprehensive guide to restaurant management software.
Get started with an order & pay system
StoreKit Order & Pay houses all of these features and more. It’s easy to get started as well. You can set your digital menu up in 15 minutes, and then apply for payment processing later at your own pace. Get started now to watch your operational efficiency rocket.