Your Restaurant's Online Ordering System Doesn't Do This, Right?

I like to eat healthy, but I’m also constantly on the go which makes life – interesting. So, when I find a relatively healthy restaurant that delivers, I get excited.

I also get super bummed when said restaurant’s service falls well short of acceptable.

Last week I ordered from a local place – let’s call them Healthy Eatstaurant – through their on-demand/online ordering system. I was tired from my workout and just wanted to plop myself on my couch and have me bring something to eat. So, I logged into Healthy Eastaurant’s site and went to their online ordering system.

It relatively was easy to use and within a few minutes I was able to find a tasty and healthy turkey wrap for dinner. With tax and delivery estimate, my total came to $9.33 (not including tip). Not bad.

I click Checkout, put in my credit card info, and hit Order. I get a confirmation email a few minutes later.

All good, right? If only.

Almost three hours went by and my food still hadn’t come. Eventually, I got an email from someone on the staff (the email was signature-less).

“Hi Justin,

Thanks for placing order with us. But our delivery minimum is $15.00 If you want to add other item or two, let us know. Otherwise we will have to cancel the order.”

Oh. Well then.

I replied – admittedly a little annoyed – that I didn’t want the order, and that three hours was unacceptable for delivery let alone contacting me about being under the minimum. They answered with “You didn’t get an email from the ordering system saying you were under?”

Nope. And it really doesn’t matter.

Email is way too late in the game to find out that your order isn’t technically complete. Once I hit Order and get the confirmation screen, I assume my order went through and any issues will be contacted to me via a phone call. I’m not sitting around staring at my email non-stop. I’m busy. After ordering I’m doing other things – laundry, dishes, taking the dog out, writing, maybe even playing PS4 if I’m being a super sloth for the evening. I’m not hitting refresh on my email to know if something went wrong.

The online restaurant ordering service shouldn’t even let me complete the order without big, bold and red letters saying “You’re under the minimum order amount.”

From a guest’s perspective, I find minimum online orders to be pretty annoying, but I also recognize why restaurants have them. But much like any surcharges and gratuity-included policies, “order minimum” info needs to be clearly displayed and explained to your guest ahead of the final order. I shouldn’t be able to “complete” my order if I didn’t meet the restaurant’s prerequisites.

On top of this, I compared the restaurant’s prices for online ordering through their website and their Foodler listing and found Foodler to be $2 more. This is because of commission rates Foodler charges, I’m sure, but it’s not a good look. Having multiple prices smells fishy.

So, use this little personal anecdote to look at your own on-demand dining services and see what it’s like from a guest’s POV. What’s their experience? What’s their journey? Do they have all the relative info needed to properly place an order?

Also, make sure you have a policy in place about contact online guests by phone when issues arise. Save emails for when you can’t get in touch of the guest via phone.