Facebook Ordering Systems Help Restaurants Improve Sales
One technology trend that is making its way to more and more restaurants is the ability to take orders through their Facebook page, and it’s one to keep an eye on.
A 2012 National Restaurant Association (NRA) survey reports that approximately 60 percent of Americans view restaurant menus online, up from 31 percent a few years ago. Significant numbers of consumers, especially those 45 years old and younger, reported that they would use smart phones and mobile apps more to view menus, order meals and make reservations. Half of those diners between 18 and 34 years old would use social-media deals at restaurants if offered, and nearly 70 percent of that demographic would be comfortable using electronic-payment terminals at their tables.
In her Forbes.com article, “How Restaurants Are Using Technology to Deliver Better Customer Service,” Contributor Carol Tice states that Facebook ordering may be the biggest technology leap coming this year, as nearly 100 percent of restaurant owners say they plan to have a Facebook presence by 2013. In the article, she reports that Facebook ordering apps come at a fairly low cost with the potential to grow sales. For instance, the Taco Spot in Charleston, SC saw a 10 percent sales bump after implementing Facebook-based ordering.
Who are the players offering Facebook integration? One of them is a startup called ChowNow, which has built its online ordering platform for mobile and Facebook, giving restaurants an easy and cost-effective way to take orders via their Facebook page, branded mobile apps for iPhone and iPad. With 70 percent of U.S. restaurants promoting their business on Facebook, ChowNow believes that more and more restaurant consumers will continue flocking to Facebook to view menus and place orders right from their smartphone.
Another company leading the way with Facebook order integration apps for restaurants is NetWaiter, which touts that its platform allows restaurants to integrate ordering into their Facebook page quickly and affordably, without any service contract required. Another perk of the system is that it automatically syncs with the restaurant’s current menu to help ensure menu accuracy.
But when does this kind of tool make sense, with so many different technologies, mobile apps and social media tools to choose from? For quick-service or casual dining restaurants, where takeout is a major part of their business, Facebook ordering may just be the way to deliver fast and efficient service that customers expect. And in bars or restaurants looking for more efficient ways to capitalize on the lunch hour, it may also be worth taking a closer look at hungry workers on a schedule.
As far as which restaurants offer Facebook ordering capabilities today, look no further than Pizza Hut, Papa John’s International, Panera Bread, Jersey Mike’s, Panda Express, and many others as the list keeps growing.
And as mobile apps and online order integration systems continue to evolve, making them increasingly affordable and easier for restaurants to deploy, expect to see more of this trend.