There is no doubt that online orders are larger than phone orders. At TakeOut7 we receive that input daily from our restaurant clients, as well as from our own internal tracking data, comparing phone orders to online orders. It’s clear that the results are there but not so clear as to why it is that way.

Let’s explore this:

  1. Consumers, exploring the menu online, discover items they didn’t know the restaurant served. This seems simple, but when phone ordering (typically without the menu in front of the consumer), the consumer orders what they recall the restaurant serves or what the order taker told them was available. When ordering online, the consumer has time to browse the entire menu, consider the add-on items, and make their menu choices at their leisure.
  2. Increased sales from add-on items. With plenty of time to order and without feeling rushed by the busy restauranteur handling the phone, online consumers have time to select add-on items that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Think of a busy restaurant at rush hour. The order taker primarily has another role in the restaurant; whether it be hostess, waiter, chef, or manager, they are all busy and multitasking. Like it or not, they tend to rush the ordering consumer who doesn’t have time to think through the add on items they might otherwise order. Compound the time factor with the consumers inability to see the items on the menu and it’s no wonder online ordering outproduces phone orders.
  3. Order Accuracy. I recently read an article that stated Domino’s Pizza claims 34 million variations in their pizza menu. With that many possible variations, how can there not be ordering mistakes? Well subliminally, ordering consumers realize that. They then tend to simplify their phone order, which in turn lowers the amount of money they would have otherwise spent. Other than increased sales, there are other ‘client satisfaction’ reasons accuracy is so important, but that’s a topic for another blog.
  4. Many consumers, especially Millennials and GenX-ers, simply won’t order via the phone. These groups (with Millennials being larger spenders than baby boomers now) have grown up in a world where convenience is king and where phones exist for texting purposes and not for talking. They set up dates without ever speaking directly to their date over the phone and also order their clothing and groceries online, so it’s not surprising that they will only order food online. In a Millennial or a GenX-ers case, the size of the order is besides the point, as for these groups, the goal is to get the order in the first place.

Restauranteurs do everything possible to increase their revenue. In doing so, it is often hard to see the forest for the trees, and simple improvements with the potential to make massive differences can easily be overlooked. It’s become clear that online ordering is a simple and easy way to get more money per order from the consumer, while at the same time increasing their satisfaction with the restaurant.