How to Avoid the Path to “Tablet Hell”

As the popularity of delivery has increased, managing delivery operations has proven to be a nightmare for many restaurant operators, particularly small business owners. The influx of technology solutions, while helpful in many ways, has created chaos in restaurant kitchens across the nation: a mess we call “tablet hell.”

The good news is that there are ways to simplify your online ordering and delivery process and make business operations smoother and stronger — and without juggling a zillion tablet devices. And as you know, simplifying technology for restaurants is what we’re passionate about here at Chowly.

The good, the bad, and the ugly of food delivery: “tablet hell”

It’s a unique time in the food industry. Restaurants focus on creating and optimizing their online presence in order to keep up with customer demand for online marketplaces. A logical first step in this process for many is to join forces with “the Big Four” marketplaces — Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Postmates. This allows them to gain access to a massive customer base that’s wild about delivery.

The problem? Each of these third-party vendors sends a dedicated tablet to each location that allows restaurants to manage orders through the branded platform. Sounds reasonable enough, right? But think about how that shakes out in a busy kitchen: four tablets, four screens, and an endless amount of ways things can devolve. How, you might ask? For one thing, receiving orders via tablets requires manual entry into your POS, which opens your business up to human errors that can cost you a lot. Lost orders, duplicate orders, wrong orders — you get the idea.

Additionally, tablets can be functionally unreliable. If one or more tablets gets booted offline for whatever reason, you’re essentially losing money at that location due to losing your connection with clamoring customers. All of this combines to create what’s known as “tablet hell” — a million sounds and notifications going off at once, stressed staff, increased errors, and frustrated clientele. Even when a restaurant has grown enough to install a proper point-of-sale (POS) system, those separate tablets from each online order platform remain — and so does the chaos.

The solution to kitchen chaos (and the doorway to higher revenue!)

Fortunately, there are technology solutions out there that are purpose-built for solving this problem, the topmost being delivery aggregator platforms. These online order aggregators have existed for a while, but they’ve come a long way in the past few years and are becoming increasingly mainstream. These systems integrate online orders from third-party delivery platforms such as Grubhub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, and Post Mates directly into a restaurant’s point-of-sale (POS) system. This eliminates the need for individual tablets to receive and keep track of order for each digital order platform. Instead, orders that come in are funneled into one place — hopefully your POS! —regardless of which app they originated from, without the need for manual entry. (Of course, Chowly was the original in this category.)

The result is decreased stress, optimized time and increased efficiency, and the elimination of human error. Additionally, aggregators increase visibility for businesses, eliminate bottlenecks on the operational side, and optimize menus for delivery-minded crowds. Some even offer insight into third-party data that allows businesses to make informed decisions around how, what, and when they want to sell certain menu items. Clearly, online order aggregation is a tool that accomplishes what technology is supposed to do. It simplifies life and empowers users to do the things they want, in the ways they want.

What to look for when choosing a partner

While there’s no silver bullet when it comes to building the right tech stack for your business, one of the most important things to consider is whether your tech provider is easy to work with and aligned with your business goals. Delivery aggregator platforms should be approached as a smart business investment. They strengthen your unique business presence and offering over time. Especially when used in tandem with a direct online ordering solution that will direct customers to your branded website.

The right technology provider will help you build out each of these elements, offering a both/and approach as opposed to an “either or” approach. Above all, look for a provider who supports you in gaining power over the direction, style, and presence of your business as it shows up online. Running a restaurant doesn’t need to be marked by stress and suffering. When you partner with the right technology provider, the path to success is far less overwhelming.

At Chowly, our vision is to help restaurants achieve their full potential. We believe that can be done without crazy amounts of stress and chaos. Reach out to us if you have any questions about how you can start simplifying your delivery system today.

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