The pizza business is pretty unique from other food service businesses.  Generally speaking people have very different expectations from a pizza shop than they do from a typical fast food or dine-in restaurant.  Pizza is commonly delivered and it’s a meal that is shared in almost every American family.

Business is Communication

If you don’t see the value in online ordering that’s quite understandable as you might be old school, taking orders by phone or in person.  I typically prefer old school ways because old school typically is synonymous with tried and true.  However tried and true, old school is old school because it was developed for the needs and demands of the old days.  What happens when the needs and demands change?  Will the old school ways be as effective?

Just one Example

A good example of a company that failed to change their old school ways is Sears.  Who’s Sears?  Well back in the day they sold stuff from a catalog and their catalog business grew.  They became a strong company.  They stuck by their old school ways and pushed the catalog business in a time when companies were beginning to offer online ordering. They failed to adopt shopping online.

Read about them now. http://www.businessinsider.com/sears-business-strategy-is-doomed-2014-8

Why did Sears grow? At first glance you’d think it’s because they sold quality things at good prices in a beautiful catalog, which they did, but the truth is it’s because of the invention of the telephone. They were able to harness the power of the convenience the telephone provided.  You could purchase something from your living room. Generally speaking, before the telephone people had to shop in person.  They introduced a catalog so people can call in and order.  Communication between businesses and customers improved greatly thus greatly increased growth.  People quickly adopted this method of ordering because it was much more convenient than going to the store.

Communication (and everything along with it) has changed again

If you don’t know by now, the new big change in communication is that this time the phone has been given a major upgrade and has been put in everybody’s pocket.  This means communication is exponentially faster and even more convenient.  Ironically, the result is that typically people don’t talk on the phone as much anymore.  Most people text more than actually make phone calls.  

Why?  Probably because it takes too long to execute a quick phone call.  You have to call them and then wait for them to answer the phone.  A text is superior for quick conversations, so it’s much easier and faster.  You’re able to send anyone a message in almost real-time.  You can also do things with text that calling you simply can’t.  You can send a message and have a conversation with a group of people at one time, send pictures, video, and sound, send website links.  I’m sure you get the point.

The major changes in communication and technology naturally has changed the expectation from the average person.

Ask anyone “If a company doesn’t have a website, would you think the business is a reputable business?”

The most common answer today would be probably be no.  This can imply people expect a reputable business to have a website.  It’s also common today for someone to expect to be able to make purchases from a website and do much more.  We see everything from online dating, online grocery shopping, online business meetings.   Today’s world transacts online.  Your pizza business should transact online.  People expect to be able to order anything with a click of a button.

Convenience is King

The path of least resistance is the path most often taken.  A great example for this is a drive thru at a restaurant.   Families with young children value convenience greatly.  Parents with families will often choose a drive thru restaurant verses dining in, when they have the kids in the car. If designed properly and implemented correctly, online ordering is much easier and faster for both the business and customer.  It should remove payment and order taking from the process at the store and automate that part of process.  Online ordering allows customers to get in and out faster.  That sounds pretty convenient to me!

Broader Communication

Online ordering can help you improve communication with your customers.  Keep in mind the demographic of people who order online versus someone who orders over the phone.  Online ordering opens up the avenue so you can get e-mail and cellphone numbers in order to market special deals to your customers. Marketing functionality is one of the most valuable features you can get from your pizza POS technology.  It can mean the difference between being able to communicate with your customers and not at all.

 

Demographic is changing (Young people are getting older)

If you’re in the pizza business families are a major targeted group and for good reason.   Most Americans eat pizza as a family once a week. The generation of people who have families is changing.  Mobile technology and online ordering is expected with this generation of new families.  You may find this newer generation to prefer ordering online and the use of technology to be part of their daily lives.  Their expectations of service and convenience are different than the previous generation. A great example of this is the self checkout at the grocery stores.  Most people prefer to check themselves out because it’s typically faster and easier to do it yourself than to have someone else scan it in.

Benefits

  • It’s proven that online ordering makes money and saves time for everyone across many industries besides pizza.  And if it’s done correctly it can help drive the growth of your pizza business.
  • Provide more accurate and faster service.  Since the customer knows what they want they will typically order more accurately and they only have themselves to blame for order error.
  • You won’t need as much staff to take orders because they are already being placed by the customers.  This means less overhead.  This additionally means you will not tie up a phone line.
  • The average online order is often larger than a phone order.  In general people will spend more online.

 

So, Is it Worth it?

You’d think I’d say yes, however it’s only worth it if you’re going to harness the full potential and run with it.  What does that mean?  It means it’s worth it if you’re successful in driving your customers to order online.  Imagine if you got 100% of your orders online.  How would that impact your business?

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