Glossary of Industry Terms
The process of placing an order for food from a restaurant using a website. This is in contrast to calling a restaurant and placing an order that way, or placing it in person.
Online Ordering – Integrated
A form of online ordering where the orders placed online, are directly entered into the POS by a virtual ‘waiter’. The restaurant receives the order, the tickets print out, just as if one of their employees had entered it.
Online Ordering – Integrated – Realtime
A form of online ordering where the orders placed online are directly communicated to the POS in real time, immediately informing the customer as to whether or not their order was accepted. Online Orders Now uses this form of integrated ordering.
Online Ordering – Integrated – Polling
A form of online ordering where the orders placed online are put into a ‘queue’ of orders on the ordering company’s server, with no method to immediately inform the customer as to whether or not their order was accepted. The point of sale system periodically (in some cases, over 15 minutes between!) checks in with the ordering company’s system to retrieve the orders. In these systems, customers are often misinformed that their order was accepted, only to later receive a message that the order had indeed failed, when the POS checks in.
Online Ordering – Non-Integrated
A form of online ordering where the orders placed online cannot be placed directly into the POS, or the restaurant does not have a POS. Orders are sent via email, fax, text message, or printed without being entered into a POS. Also called ‘Lite’ or ‘Light’ ordering.
A process whereby an Integrated online ordering system collects orders from other non-integrated online ordering systems and presents them to the POS software. This makes the Integrated ordering system act as a ‘bridge’ between the non-integrated online ordering and the POS software.
Point of Sale Solution
A combination of software and hardware that work together to allow a restaurant to take orders on-property. Abbreviated ‘POS’.
Point of Sale Software Vendor
A company that provides software to be part of a POS solution. Examples are Aldelo, Maitre’D, Microsale.
Point of Sale Hardware Vendor
A company that provides the physical hardware to be part of a POS solution. This hardware includes computers, printers, monitors for KDS systems, etc.
A group of restaurants that share a single brand identity. Chains are often more informal than Franchises, and their locations often have widely varied menus and building styles.
A restaurant group that individual restaurants can join, gaining the right to share it’s brand identity, with restrictions. Most franchises require that their franchisees share a similar menu, follow style guidelines on how to design their restaurants.
A restaurant that has joined a Franchise.
A company or individual responsible for the installation and maintenance of a Point of Sale Solution. Resellers take on the IT work of maintaining a POS, allowing restaurant owners to focus on their restaurant. Resellers recieve training and assistance from POS vendors, escalating issues to the POS vendors only when necessary. Online Orders Now only sells through licensed resellers in order to reduce the time needed to resolve any issues at the restaurant end.
Menu Synchronization (MenuSynctm)
With a supported POS software, an Integrated Online Ordering System can do periodic checks of the menu in the POS and update it’s own, online version. Pricing can be updated, and items that have become unavailiable can automatically be disabled on the online menu. An advanced POS software solution can even be programmed to trigger an update when changes are made in the POS Software solution.
Menu Memory (MyWaytm)
When a customer orders from a restaurant, their order is recorded. When the customer returns and orders the same menu item, it is initially configured the same as when they last ordered. For example, the customer orders a cheese pizza and adds anchovies. The next time they order a cheese pizza, anchovies are already pre-selected. This benefits the customer, as people are creatures of habit and most of the time this will lead to fewer clicks, a faster ordering process. This benefits restaurants by making the customer happier, and reminding the customer of options they had in the past, which can lead to larger tickets.
When a customer orders from a restaurant, they can choose to save an item or order as a ‘favorite’. These appear in a special area of the ordering site, often difficult to find and interact with. Online Orders Now does not recommend using this, as while it seems like it would reduce ordering time, it leads to frustration and complicates the ordering process needlessly.
When a customer orders a menu item, they are given a freeform text field to enter any text they want. Online Orders Now does not recommend using these, as most POS systems give no way to indicate to the restaurant that these are comments/requests, and customers will frequently get free toppings/etc by filling them into the comments line. This LOSES the restaurant money.
Order Status Monitoring
With a supported POS software, an Integrated Online Ordering System can do periodic checks on the status of an order. An advanced POS software solution can even be programmed to trigger an update when the status changes in the POS Software solution.
The time between an order being placed, and the customer being able to recieve their food via either takeout or delivery.
Adaptive Lead Times
When the lead time on an order is calculated based on the amount of food ordered recently, increasing as the load on the restaurant increases, to give the restaurant more time before the customer expects their food. Customers are happier when they have accurate estimates as to when to arrive for pickup, or when their food will be delivered. Restaurants are happier when they are not slammed with orders due ‘immediately’.
Phone-Number Based Login (PhoneFirsttm)
A customer is created by phone number, then address. This is simpler and less error-prone than Username and Password Based Login. Customers are unlikely to forget their phone number and address. If someone else uses the same number to order, they will be prompted with the address, and can change it to theirs. The other customer will not be shown the details of the original user, and will be required to enter their name. Otherwise they will end up paying for food delivered to someone else’s house, something customers are highly unlikely to go through with.
Username and Password Based Login
The traditional method for registering a customer to a website. In this, a customer has to create a username and a password that will uniquely identify them to the site. Often, customers will end up forgetting these details and create multiple accounts over time, or get frustrated and simply not register. This requires creating an additional ‘guest checkout’ system, to handle those customers, which cannot do Menu Memory/Favorite Items/etc.
A restaurant is a single location of business, that takes ingredients and prepares food for sale.
A form of order wherein the restaurant prepares your food and the restaurant’s driver, or a subcontracted company’s driver, picks up your food and delivers it to your address.
Take Out / Pick Up
A form of order wherein the restaurant prepares your food and holds it at the restaurant, for you to retrieve.
A form of order wherein the restaurant prepares your food and holds it at the restaurant. The customer provides make/model/color information of their vehicle, which allows restaurant staff to identify which order is theirs, and they bring the food to your car when you park in a labeled space.
In order for a web site to exist, it must be hosted on a computer, connected to the internet. A computer used to host websites is known as a ‘web server’. This computer’s job is to take requests for pages and ‘serve’ them back to the web browser.
Domain Name System (DNS)
Think of this as the ‘phone book’ of the Internet. You look up a name, like ‘onlineordersnow.com’ and get the IP Address of the server hosting said website, so that your computer can connect to it.
A domain name, for example, ‘onlineordersnow.com’, is an entry into the global Domain Name System (DNS). A well chosen domain name is a restaurant’s front-door on the internet.
Domain names are registered with companies known as DNS Registrars, usually on a per-year/per-period recurring billing basis.
It is important that a restaurant own it’s domain name if at all possible, for the following reasons:
1. If the domain name is owned by a hosting company, they have full rights to the domain name.
a. If they go out of business, the website will stop working, and the name will expire.
b. An unscrupulous hoster could sell the domain name, or simply sit on it, if they are on the outs with the restaurant.
2. Groups have formed to ‘squat’ on domain names, seeking out good ones and selling them at inflated prices. These groups also monitor lists of domains-about-to-expire, to snatch up ones they think can fetch a good price.