Order and pay systems saw huge growth during the pandemic in a wide variety of venues across the globe. For example, the mandatory table ordering rules in 2020 meant that the UK saw a surge in the number of pubs adopting order and pay systems. Other venues adopting order and pay systems include restaurants, cafes, hotels, and even theatres and cruise ships.
We think that the benefits that they offer mean that order and pay systems are here to stay as a central part of your restaurant software. Below, we’ll discuss what features you should look out for when choosing an order and pay system for your restaurant.
What is an order and pay system?
An order and pay system is a digital menu which can be accessed using a QR code or URL and lets customers make orders and payments from their own devices. Order and pay systems also known as contactless table ordering systems, menu ordering and payment systems, or self ordering systems.
Not only do order and pay systems mean fewer points of contact, they free up time for staff and can increase margins. However, not all systems are made equal. A good order and pay system will help to improve your restaurant’s operations and sales, but a bad one won’t.
What are the benefits of an order and pay system?
It’s important to understand the benefits of an order and pay system so that you know what features to look out for.
Digital menus can suggest upsell and modifier options very naturally, increasing the value of each order. And beyond increasing spending, they give customers greater control over their dining experience. Upsell and modifier options can help users to become more aware of available options and lets them customise their meals to suit their preferences. Although ordering with a waiter can create pressure, ordering on a device lets customers take their time without feeling rushed. And longer browsing times also mean more sales.
With customers ordering and paying on their own devices, staff no longer need to take orders or payments. For businesses where throughput is crucial – like coffee shops and fast-food restaurants – this means staff can focus on preparing orders. Alternatively, at sit-down venues, staff can channel more of their focus on the customers themselves – by checking on whether they’re enjoying the meals, for instance.
What features should your order and pay system have?
We’ve established that the main benefits an order and pay system can offer are increased customer spending, increased operational efficiencies, and elevated customer experiences. So it’s important that the software you choose lets you take advantage of these benefits as much as possible.
Don’t make your customers download an app
Avoid requiring app downloads and account creations. In general, customers are reluctant to download apps or give their details. These actions are also time-consuming, which can be off-putting for customers. This is particularly important in quick-service restaurants or cafes where fast service is key.
As a progressive web app, StoreKit Order & Pay requires neither. Instead, customers only need to scan a QR code. But it still retains the best features of an app, like push notifications and fast load speeds.
There’s no point making your menu easy to access if it’s difficult to navigate. When trying out different solutions, we recommend counting the number of clicks and the amount of time it takes for you to place an order – the fewer and shorter the better.
As a part of this, you should be able to create clear categories. Users should be able to find what they want quickly and easily. Not being able to do so can be frustrating – menus that are easy to use prevent customers from navigating off before making further orders.
Your digital menu is a part of your customers’ experience – and so it should reflect the ambience of your business.
Choose an order and pay system that has a customisable menu. For instance, it should let you adjust the colour scheme and add descriptions and pictures that reflect your offerings. An advantage of digital menus is that, unlike paper menus, they can contain images without being associated with tackiness. And given pictures, as well as descriptions, help customers to understand your products and increase customer spending, it’s important to have a menu that supports both.
Digital menus boost customer spending. One of the ways they can achieve this is by suggesting upsell options – so make sure your digital menu can do this. A waiter offering upsell options multiple times can feel stilted and awkward. But a digital menu can present suggestions – “add fries for £3.99?” – in a very natural way.
Integration lets your order and pay system share data with each other with other software. That means goodbye to manual data inputs and hello to increased accuracy. For example, by connecting your order and pay system to your POS system, you can then use accounting integration to ensure data automatically flows into your cloud accounting software.
We’re firm believers in a “best of breed” approach to choosing software. Some POS companies will claim that their software can do everything. But, in general, they’re not very effective and are often the more expensive choice. Instead, the “best of breed” approach means you combine the software that works best for the different aspects of your business.
About the author
Mayu Noda is the Research and Outreach Content Executive at StoreKit. StoreKit is a payments technology company which makes it easy to order food and drink. We launched our Order & Pay system in the pandemic, and already over 2000 restaurants, pubs, and ghost kitchens have joined our platform.