Cowabunga! Riding the Wave of Off-Premise Ordering

By : Rohan Rodney

August 14, 2019 08:00 AM

While restaurant in-store sales have remained relatively flat in recent years, off-premise ordering has seen a meteoric rise – it’s the fastest-growing driver of same-store sales, now comprising 38% of all restaurant sales. This growth reflects the rise of the digital-first consumer—and the convenience, flexibility and choice they now expect on demand. Whether takeout or delivery, meal kits or catering, their options to dine their way are more plentiful than ever.


To take advantage of the surge, restauranteurs must provide an experience consistent with their brand promise, no matter where or how the interaction takes place. This includes intuitive menus, a variety of ordering and payment options, and, of course, outstanding food and service. As such, your digital presence may be just as important as what happens onsite if you want to create lasting brand relationships with this new kind of consumer.


The first step in building that digital relationship? A great off-premise ordering platform.



Off-premise ordering platforms – How to ensure smooth sailing ahead


  • Provide a personalized ordering platform for fast, easy and accurate ordering when customers are looking for food. Are their orders connected to their loyalty accounts and saved payment methods? Do you have the ability to store order history or entice them with recommended items based on that history? With allergen sensitivities and ever-changing nutritional trends, are they able to filter for dietary preferences? Capabilities such as these show your customers that you recognize them and can communicate with them as individuals.
  • Create a cohesive, consistent user experience from your restaurant through all digital touchpoints by synchronizing every step from order to delivery. Every digital interaction should be connected to your holistic brand experience – integrating ordering channels directly with your stores’ POS, kitchen production and other systems means you can provide the same level of quality and service you digitally as you do in-store.
  • Make it easier for hungry customers to find you – and interact with you. Menus should be on dedicated pages where they can be indexed by search engines to drive traffic to your site. Posting PDFs of your menu just doesn’t cut it anymore, because it creates a frustrating, sub-par mobile experience. Once you’ve engaged your customers, use your online and mobile channels to send relevant promotions and messaging to them, to let them earn rewards through any channel and even resolve complaints or negative feedback. 



Catch the wave


Consumer expectations and the technologies that serve them will only continue to expand. By understanding and keeping up with digital-savvy customers, you can set your restaurant up to not just ride but thrive on the wave of this online ordering market.


Need help navigating? Reach out to the NCR team anytime. NCR’s digital-first ordering solutions are running in more than 33,000 locations today, and over 75,000 restaurants worldwide run their restaurants using NCR Aloha – you can read more here or contact us by phone or email.






Rohan Rodney

Rohan Rodney is a Product Marketing Manager for NCR Hospitality. In this role, he communicates the vision and value of NCR's portfolio in meeting the market needs of the restaurant industry.