How to Cut Down on Restaurant Order Errors

When a customer walks into your establishment with an order for her entire office of a dozen people, it could amount to a big payday for your restaurant. But don’t get too excited yet: If you miss an item or enter it incorrectly, the experience could sour the entire office on coming back to your restaurant. If you want to build a loyal customer base, it’s essential to pay attention to accuracy in food ordering.

Order errors can significantly damage the customer experience, and result in returned food and lost revenue. Such errors are common even at large chains: According to a 2012 QSR survey, Burger King got a whopping 17% of its drive-through orders wrong!

Here are some strategies for ensuring that you get your customers’ orders right.

Read back the order to the customer before sending it to the kitchen.

By simply making an effort to confirm what you heard the customer say, you’re likely to catch the majority of mistakes in the ordering process.

Use a software-based POS to avoid handwritten tickets.

Handwritten tickets are a recipe for mistakes, as the order taker can leave off critical information and the reader can mis-interpret the order taker’s handwriting. Software-based systems like Instore reduce mistakes by requiring order takers to select specific items and modifiers from a list.

Don’t allow menu customization.

While customers often enjoy the chance to customize their orders, doing so can lead to more order errors, as your chef may not understand exactly what the customer wants. If you’d rather not tempt fate, you might just explain to your diners that the menu items cannot be changed.

Use a number-based ordering system.

Consider following big chains’ and Chinese restaurants’ lead by letting customers place their orders by number, rather than saying the name of the dish.

Allow customers to place their orders on a touchscreen tablet.

If you do want to give your customers more options without running the risk of increasing your ordering errors, there’s another solution: Allowing customers to place their own orders on tablet-based point of sale systems, using an iPad or other mobile device. Customers can clearly see your menu options and customize their orders without any chance of misunderstanding on the waiter or cashier’s part. With this solution, you can sync up the ordering and payment process, enabling customers to check out seamlessly using cash, credit card, or another payment method.

Image Credit: Andres Rodriguez