Online ordering boosts bottom line for restaurants

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Black Sheep opened in Providence a few months ago, and foot traffic often fills the new Westminster Street restaurant.

But online ordering is also an important part of the business, according to Oscar Worthington, one of Black Sheep’s owners.

“We’re getting a ton of takeout orders coming through,” Worthington said. “It’s definitely growing.”

More than 70% of consumers say takeout or delivery service is a factor they consider when deciding whether to return to a restaurant, according to a survey by Upserve, a Providence-based tech startup that makes software for restaurants.

“The trend really started with diners when aggregators like Grubhub and Seamless came to the market,” said Rosie Atkins, Upserve’s vice-president of product. “We saw immediately a shift in where revenue was coming into restaurants, more coming in from online ordering and delivery services.”

Though the demand is there, Atkins said some restaurants have been reluctant to go all-in with online ordering because it can be slow and expensive. “Restaurants really need to be able to meet diners where they want to have their food,” she said.

In an effort to solve the problem, Upserve created a new online ordering platform to streamline the process.

“No human has to receive an order and validate it and enter it in,” Atkins said. “The order gets into the kitchen more quickly, it gets into the hands of the delivery person more quickly. It gets to the diner’s home more quickly.”

Worthington said Black Sheep has already experienced a bottom-line boost from online ordering. “That’s definitely helped grow sales,” he said.

According to the National Restaurant Association, restaurants that use online ordering typically receive larger orders because customers are more inclined to choose extra items and add-ons.