Whew, it’s been quite a couple of years for the restaurant industry! From closures to limited capacity to short staffing… But is it over? In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what’s currently going on with the latest COVID variants, how it’s impacting the restaurant industry, and how online ordering for restaurants can prove to be a helpful tool.
First, let’s look at the current climate of COVID-19 and how it’s impacting the restaurant industry as a whole.
Restaurants & The Pandemic: The Latest
At the beginning of 2021, many of us were hoping that the COVID pandemic was finally behind us — after all, vaccines were being distributed and many pandemic mandates were mercifully being rolled back.
However, two variants have emerged with an unforeseen voracity within the last six months and wreaked havoc with many of our plans. Currently, hospitalizations are up, several areas have re-instated mandates, and the near future of the restaurant industry is a little blurry.
Don’t get me wrong. Our current situation does not seem to portend the same level of closures and distress that we saw at the beginning of the pandemic.
But restaurants do need to be prepared for potential changes.
With the recent surge in cases, it makes sense that many diners will be hesitant to visit restaurants in person.
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According to a recent report from CNN, “Some restaurant owners are starting to see disruptions in the form of slowing sales, no-shows, nervous guests and supply chain hiccups.”
The good news in all this bleakness is that as a restaurant, you have options beyond in-person dining.
We’re going to talk about one such option right here — online ordering for restaurants — and how it can help your restaurant to weather the potential storm ahead.
What is Online Ordering for Restaurants?
Online ordering is a way for customers to purchase their meals online through a restaurant’s website. Once an order is placed, the precise details are sent to the restaurant where it gets prepared. Then, depending on the customer’s preference, they can pick it up at the restaurant or have it delivered.
And we should mention that this is different from many of the common third-party apps that you’ve probably heard of, such as DoorDash and GrubHub. Recent evidence has shown how these third-party apps have taken advantage of the restaurant industry and robbed many local restaurants of their hard-earned profits.
Instead, this is a tool that can be installed directly on your restaurant’s website, where your customers can put in an order that is rerouted directly to you.
And what a tool this is!
Imagine just a decade or two ago. At that time, tools like this did not exist, especially to the scale we see today! If this pandemic had happened back then, it would be a very different story for the restaurant industry.
During the beginning of the pandemic, it was heartwarming to see how many customers turned to online ordering in support of their local restaurants. This helped many to stay afloat.
And tools like this offer a lifeline as we continue to muddle our way through this unpredictable pandemic.
Let’s look at a few specific ways that online ordering for restaurants serves as a valuable tool as we face new variants and surges during this pandemic.
How Online Ordering for Restaurants Helps During New COVID Variants
1. Keeps Everyone Safe
The very nature of online ordering keeps all of your staff, their families, as well as your customers safer during these COVID surges. It makes contactless more possible and effective, cutting down on potential closures due to infection.
2. Appeases Nervous Customers
You can probably still expect some to come in for in-person dining. But many, especially those in vulnerable populations, might still feel uncomfortable doing so.
But online ordering still allows you to tap into that nervous population and offer them a way to enjoy your restaurant in the safety of their own home.
3. Allows You to Compete
Consider for a moment that 60% of consumers report using online or mobile ordering at least once a week for pickup or delivery — and 31% report using it at least twice a week!
These numbers reveal a growing trend toward online ordering. If you want to compete with other local restaurants, you will need to integrate online ordering into your strategy!
4. Grows Your Reach
During normal times, your seating capacity would limit how many you could serve — and, by extension, how much you could earn. But you don’t have this restriction when it comes to online ordering.
With an ordering system on your website, you can take as many orders as you can handle! This may come in handy if the new variants force local governments to instate limited-seating in restaurants.
Plus, any added revenue from online ordering is money in your pocket, since it doesn’t require extra staff or expanded seating.
5. Cuts Down on the Need for Extra Staff
An online ordering system allows restaurants to receive orders seamlessly without the need for extra staff to answer phones and coordinate with customers.
6. Easy to Implement
As an added bonus, online ordering systems like DevourNow are easy to implement. In fact, DevourNow can have an online ordering button up and running on your website in as little as a day!
As we’ve discussed in this article, online ordering is a powerful tool that can help your restaurant to weather whatever COVID throws its way.
If this is a tool that interests you, feel free to talk it over with our knowledgeable team to see exactly how DevourNow’s online ordering system can help your restaurant.
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