The most common thing among each person on this planet? – “Food.” Ever since the human race evolved, food has been the driving factor for evolution. However, in recent times, what has driven most restaurant businesses to success is not the ambiance of their food place but the convenience of ordering it online.
Whether you are on a station waiting for the next ride to your home or want to have a corporate pizza party, online restaurant ordering systems have been the go-to solution. This is the reason why online food delivery systems have seen such massive growth, with a prediction of $339,257 million in revenues by 2022.
The success of online restaurant ordering systems is also due to the recent pandemic. As people don’t want to visit the restaurant to avoid infections, they choose to order food online. It is why the entire online food industry is growing at a compound annual growth rate of more than 9%.
So, if you are a restaurant owner looking for digital transformation or an aggregator looking to create a marketplace, here is a comprehensive guide on how to set up an online ordering system for your restaurants.
Steps to Create a Restaurant Ordering System
An essential part of creating an online ordering system for your business is to determine the entire business case, which involves,
- The objective of creating a restaurant online ordering system
- Define the wireframe
- Identify key features
- Formulate a development plan
- Develop, deploy and maintain
Let’s start with the first and most crucial aspect- objectives (why you need it?)
Before you formulate a development plan or even start wireframing your restaurant’s online ordering system, you must define the objectives. Here, you will need to thoroughly research your existing systems and organizational goals to know the exact need.
For example, if you are a restaurant owner and looking to cater to online food ordering customers, there are two ways to achieve it. The first one is to set up a restaurant online Ordering system in-house, and the second one is to use third-party services which you can integrate into your existing system.
There are several third-party online ordering system services that you can directly integrate into your system for advanced functionality like,
However, if you want to have a custom solution for your restaurant business, developing it makes more sense. This is where you need to think about different aspects like,
- Development process
- Deployment and maintenance
- Cost of development
- Security of the system
So, the next organic step towards developing a restaurant online ordering system will be to create a wireframe for the entire customer experience.
Every restaurant strives to provide tasty food and an experience for their customer. With an online ordering system, you need a wireframe to define different customer touchpoints and enhance their design experience.
- Visualizing the customer journey.
- Analyzing the touchpoints.
- Creating a visual flow of customer experience.
- Generating a mock-up.
Such a mock-up helps understand navigational flaws to improve the interface design for an enhanced experience. Once you have a wireframe ready, the next step will be to identify key features.
From advanced search that helps customers find their favorite dish to the option of paying online with credit/debit/cryptocurrencies, you need several features. Each of these features needs to be adding value to your online ordering system.
Features for customers-
- Advanced search for restaurants, food, and other categories
- Food customizations feature where customers can add on elements (for example, toppings on a pizza)
- Social login option
- Profile management
- Scheduling delivery
- Adding delivery location
- Push notification for real-time updates
- Order cost estimation
- Real-time order tracking
Features for restaurant owners-
- Admin panel
- Customer profile management
- Menu management
- Order management
- Delivery scheduling
- Access to order history
- Revenue tracking
Features for service partners-
- Delivery agents management
- Service provider profile generation
- Documents verification and management
- Map for tracking orders
- Proof of delivery
Identifying features will help you create a development plan and understand the required tech stack.
Planning the development to set up an online ordering system for your restaurant needs consideration of several aspects like,
- Tech stacks required
- Infrastructure needs
- Cost of development
- Security requirements
When it comes to the tech stacks, you need to consider the deployment platforms, backend architecture required, tools, and service integrations. For example, if you add a feature that helps users track food orders on your application or website, you need Google Maps API or MapKit services. Similarly, other essential tech stacks to consider for your restaurant’s online ordering system are,
- Payment features- Braintree, Stripe, Paypal
- Location finding features –Google Places API
- Social login features-Facebook SDK, Gmail SDK
- Business analytics-Firebase, Google Analytics
While tech stacks are essential, you need infrastructure to handle massive data from several users as you scale your online food ordering system.
As you scale restaurant online ordering systems, you will have to store, process, and transmit more data. So, you need a reliable infrastructure management system that is flexible and scalable—another way to ensure that your applications scale without dealing with infrastructure issues is by using a cloud-based service.
A cloud-based infrastructure helps your systems with flexibility and higher availability. However, it is not just restricted to infrastructure, and you can even use cloud architecture for an enhanced app experience for your users.
While choosing cloud infrastructure may seem right, you need to consider the cost. Several services provide a pay-as-you-go model, so planning the required instances will help you reduce costs.
Development cost relates to several aspects like hiring costs for developers, designers, QA, project managers, and several other factors. The cost of hiring professionals will depend on the scale and size of your online ordering system. At the same time, engagement models also affect hiring costs.
For example, hiring a freelancer can be cheaper, and at the same time, dedicated teams are great if you need to scale your systems further. This is because dedicated teams allow you flexibility and even make changes in the tech stack.
So, you pay only for the developers that a development company hires for your dedicated team hourly with more transparency on every process. Apart from the development costs, infrastructure needs, and tech stacks, security is essential when setting up a restaurant’s online ordering system.
Ensuring a secure experience across your online ordering system is essential as customers choose businesses that provide better security. For example, 84% of consumers will switch to other companies due to a lack of security. There are several ways to ensure your user’s data security by using encryption technologies, multi-factor authentication, etc.
Through encryption technology, you can ensure that the data shared by users is secure. For example, SSL encryption helps secure the channel through which a user’s device and web server communicate. In addition, you can opt for an SSL certificate from a trusted certification authority to enhance security.
However, having several subdomains with individual SSL certificates can prove costly and time-consuming. This is where a cheap wildcard SSL becomes the right choice as it enables protection for several first-level subdomains with the primary domain.
The restaurant business is adapting to the new normal through a reliable online ordering system, and that is why if you are looking for such a solution, it makes more sense. However, as we discussed here, you need to consider the system’s cost, infrastructure, features, and security before deploying it across platforms. In addition, maintaining the performance and tracking key metrics is also important to measure ROI.