The average order time at counter service restaurants is around 120 seconds. That means a customer waits for two minutes as you note what they want — while the rest of the line gets impatient. But what if you could consistently shorten your restaurant order entry time to less than 30 seconds and reap the benefits of faster service, happier customers, and more money in the bank?
In this article, we look at the most effective tactics to shave precious seconds off every order so you can shorten your restaurant order entry time to under 30 seconds.
Here’s what you’ll find out:
- What slows down order-taking at the counter
- The best methods to speed up order-taking without increasing staff
- Our percentage time-saving estimate for each suggestion
- The technology that automates order-taking for optimal efficiency
By the end, you’ll be ready to reduce your order time by up to 75% and serve more customers while offering a better experience for staff and patrons alike.
What Slows Down Order Entry?
Every second is crucial when you’re looking to drastically reduce the time taken. Any time wasted hurts the speed of service and your bottom line.
Three main factors affect your speed of service. As you improve each area, you’ll start to see reductions in your average order-taking time.
- Staff Busy with Manual Tasks — When staff are occupied with manual tasks like inputting delivery orders or answering phone calls, customers have to wait. By automating repetitive tasks, you can free your staff to give a better ordering experience.
- Out-of-Date Order Input Tech — Technology that isn’t intuitive to use has a huge impact on speed. Especially when you have a complex menu. The more taps and touches required and the more menus your team has to navigate, the less efficient your service will be.
- Inexperienced Staff — High turnover and poor training lead to inexperienced staff taking orders — which means slower order-taking and more mistakes.
How to Shorten your Restaurant Order Entry time to under 30 seconds.
Enable Fast-Order Buttons
Estimated time saving: 10%
POS systems configured for speed allow you to customize order input buttons. Choose the layout and optimize your order input screen so that the most commonly ordered items are easiest to find.
For most restaurants, the three or four most popular items make up the majority of orders. With staff able to input common items more quickly and easily, your average order time will decrease significantly.
For less frequently ordered items and add-ons, you can configure your on-screen menus for easier navigation to find more obscure menu items faster.
Automate Phone Orders with OrderAI
Estimated time saving: 15%
One of the biggest time sucks for restaurant staff is answering the phone. Phone calls can come in at any time and must be answered immediately, which takes staff away from serving customers.
Busy restaurants need a dedicated team member available at all times to answer the phone. Mistakes are more likely to be with phone orders, which means more time lost dealing with errors. Restaurant staff shortages exacerbate the problem.
Phone order-taking is an ideal use case for the latest AI technology. OrderAI from HungerRush, for example, can answer the phone, greet a customer, and take an order — without any human involvement. It can even take multiple orders at the same time.
OrderAI helps you increase accuracy, save staff time, and upsell every single time for a higher average order value. All while keeping your staff free to take in-person orders at the counter.
Ditch Your Outdated POS
Estimated time saving: 25%
If you’re experiencing sluggish or unreliable performance from your current POS system, shorten your restaurant order entry time and upgrade to a solution designed for swift order entry, especially tailored to meet the demands of restaurants with intricate and diverse menus.
Here are some of the features you can expect from a speed-focused POS system:
- An order screen with a clear layout and large buttons
- Ability to easily switch between different menus at the touch of a button, such as from the breakfast menu to the lunch or dinner menu.
- Special add-on items that automatically appear on-screen as you enter an order
- Cloud-based so you can use any device to place orders — think ordering iPads in the queue
Look at the options available and choose a POS that best suits your restaurant’s menu and style of service.
Remove Handwriting from Your Order Flow
Estimated time saving: 10%
It’s far slower to write an order than to use a receipt printer, and handwritten orders can cause confusion and mistakes. Many modern POS systems automatically print tickets, so staff no longer have to write out orders by hand and physically take them to the kitchen.
A kitchen display system connected to your POS keeps the whole process clean and paper-free. Orders are organized and displayed to the kitchen or assembly line teams so they know exactly what to prioritize.
No more handwritten paper tickets means no time wasted passing paper tickets down the line or trying to read a staff member’s scrawl.
Improve Staff Training
Estimated time saving: 15%
It’s one thing to invest in better and faster technology, but if your staff aren’t trained to get the most out of it, you’re missing an opportunity.
Here are some ways to improve your staff training and boost ordering speed:
- Focus on accuracy and speed when onboarding new recruits
- Run competitions and offer incentives to make it fun for employees to speed up
- Allow employees time to play with the system and configure their favorite order screen setups
Better-trained staff work faster and stay longer, reducing the burden of constantly hiring and training new employees.
Don’t Be Afraid of Faster Service
Serving customers faster doesn’t have to mean rushing them. You can offer better service while taking orders faster and leaving customers more satisfied.
By focusing on improving staff training, automating unnecessary manual tasks that distract your staff, and investing in a POS system built for speed, you can dramatically reduce the time it takes to input every order.
Let HungerRush shorten your restaurant order entry time, improve accuracy and your customers overall experience — all while speeding up your entire order-taking process.
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