“Location, location, location” has been a mantra for real estate agents for years. A few decades ago, that saying meant the corner of Main Street, in a popular strip mall or around the most affluent zip code, but nowadays “location” is much less distinct thanks to the rise of the internet.

A restaurant, by its very nature, is bound to a physical location, but some savvy restaurateurs are expanding their reach beyond their four walls into the smartphones and computers of customers through self-service ordering. The trend toward self-service has already altered consumer behavior, from ATM banking to airline self-checks and online movie tickets. To tap into this customer trend wave, you’ll need an online ordering system for business that meets your needs. Here are five things you need from yours to help you narrow down the system field.

Search placement and optimization

To sell to your customers, you’ve got to get their attention. The days of pushing a printed menu under a door are all but gone. Generally, people use search engines to find websites that are relevant to what they’re looking for. Your website needs to be easily identified by those engines when someone enters key search words that apply in some way to your business. Look for online ordering system software that is SEO-friendly so the major search engines can track it easily. Avoid software that uses outdated methods to achieve search rankings as that could result in your website being blacklisted from search engines.

Ease of use

Your web ordering system should be simple and easy to use. Eye-catching is great, but only when it doesn’t hinder usability. To get the most bang for your bank, you need a system that is easy to understand and access without the need for a tech expert’s help. A complicated system will take too much time to build and maintain, and you’re also more likely to end up with mistakes and glitches because you struggled to make it work the way you needed it to.

Ability to customize

Design definitely plays a part in attracting customers to your page. What you need depends on your business and your customers, so try to find ordering system software that is highly customizable. What works for someone else may not work for your business; it’s the ability to customize that will help you make your system the right fit.

The right features

Features are definitely something you’ll want, but make sure the system you’re selecting has the right ones available. You want features that will help your customers but not get into the way of the transaction. For example, linking to Facebook so a customer can share their favorite order there sounds like a great idea for advertising, but that could also distract the customer away from your website before they place an order. Carefully select features for your system with your business in mind, and make sure the software you choose allows you to turn features on and off as needed.

Available and accessible updates

Updates are where just about any system can fail you. Industries change and new trends emerge, so you need a system that allows for updating to reflect these shifts in the future. Your software provider should be the one focusing on the technology so you’re able to focus on your business.

By taking the time to get your web ordering system right, you can eliminate hassles and maximize profits.

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