March 7, 2023 10 min read

How to set up a WhatsApp order system for restaurant ordering

Written byPim de Vos

In this day and age, speed is everything.

Everyone wants things quicker:

Quicker customer service, quicker delivery, and quicker food ordering.

To deal with this fast-paced environment in the food ordering space, some restaurants have built a WhatsApp order system that makes ordering food for their customers a piece of cake.

And if you want to learn how to do it, read ahead.

In this article, we will brief you on what a WhatsApp order system is, discuss how it works, and show you how to set it up in four simple steps.

What is a WhatsApp order system?

A WhatsApp order system is an effective way for you to provide a seamless ordering experience to your customers. 

The system allows customers to place orders through WhatsApp either by sending a message to your business or by communicating with a WhatsApp ordering bot that guides them through a series of questions to get the order in.

If you’re a small restaurant owner and just getting started, using WhatsApp for placing orders could come in handy.

That’s because when you connect your business with WhatsApp, you can reach a lot more customers as compared to traditional methods and streamline your order management process.

How does a WhatsApp order system work?

To get started with your restaurant food order system, you need three things:

  • WhatsApp Business account with a verified number
  • Your restaurant’s name
  • WhatsApp Business API

It’s evident why you need the first two things from the list above. But it’s crucial for you to connect to a WhatsApp Business API because it can help you get multiple users onboard.

What’s more, with API you can use features like automatic order labelling as soon as a customer orders, you can send out order notifications and delivery updates, create a chatbot that takes orders automatically, and much more.

Once you’re done setting things up, you then create a menu with all the items you sell along with their details, such as prices, descriptions, and images. Share this menu with your customers through WhatsApp or embed it on your website and share the link on WhatsApp.

The customer will then finalize their order by sending you a message on your business’s WhatsApp number. 

There are two ways you could allow your customers to send your order details:

You can either let them type the order details 

Or you can use predefined codes for specific items in your menu (e.g. Press 2 for Cheese Burger)

💡 Tip: Use a chatbot to guide your customers through the ordering process and collect all the necessary details.

Next, you confirm the order and ask your customer to pay via their preferred method.

The last step in this funnel is order delivery and follow-up. Here you ask your customers about their experience both in terms of delivery and food.

What are the benefits of a WhatsApp food ordering system?

#1. Easy and fast for consumers

With a WhatsApp food ordering system, customers can easily place an order with just a few clicks on their phone. 

Since WhatsApp is a messaging app that people regularly use to chat with their friends and family, it’s always one click away, making it more convenient for customers to place an order without leaving the app or searching for a website.

#2. Quick communication 

Using a WhatsApp food ordering system allows for quick communication between your restaurant and the customers. 

For example, suppose the order is running late, or there are any issues. In that case, the restaurant can easily inform the customer by initiating a new chat or using the same chat thread the customer used to place their order. 

This kind of quick communication can help build customer trust and improve their overall experience with your restaurant.

#3. Easy to place repeat orders for customers

With a WhatsApp food ordering system, customers can easily place repeat orders by messaging the restaurant. 

This makes it more convenient for customers who frequently order from the same restaurant, as they don’t have to go through the hassle of filling out their details every time they order.

#4. Get an edge over your competitors

Food ordering via WhatsApp is a relatively new concept, and not many restaurants have implemented it yet. By offering this service, you can set yourself apart from the competition and attract customers who value convenience and speed.

#5. Great source of marketing

A WhatsApp restaurant ordering system is also a great tool for marketing. 

Restaurants can send regular WhatsApp newsletters to their customers with their latest dishes, promotions, and deals. 

Since WhatsApp messages have a higher open rate than emails, this can be an effective way to reach out to customers and increase your restaurant sales.

Additionally, since WhatsApp is a more personal and direct way of communication, it can help build stronger relationships with customers and make them feel valued.

Let’s now understand the different elements you will need to set up a WhatsApp order system for your restaurant.

How to set up a WhatsApp order management system

Setting up a WhatsApp management system is a 4-steps process.

Step 1: Get the WhatsApp Business API

Using just WhatsApp Business for your restaurant food ordering system is a good start, but if you want to make the ordering process more streamlined and efficient, you will need the WhatsApp Business API.

The WhatsApp Business API is a tool that can integrate with your WhatsApp Business account and let you onboard multiple users, leverage business automation, and track restaurant analytics.

Remember, the WhatsApp Business API has no interface of its own. Therefore, to track your performance, you’d have to connect it to a customer engagement platform like Trengo.

Here are some of the things you get with the WhatsApp Business API that your normal WhatsApp Business account will fail to provide:

  • Team onboarding: Onboard your order management team on your WhatsApp Business account via the API and let multiple users handle orders for you. 
  • Automation: Automate conversations, send templated quick replies, build chatbots, send reminders, and much more.
  • Integration: WhatsApp Business API can integrate with your restaurant’s existing systems, such as order management, payment gateways, and CRM software. This can help restaurants streamline their operations and provide a more seamless experience to customers.
  • Scalability: The API can handle a large volume of messages and support multiple users simultaneously. This makes it easier for restaurants to manage customer inquiries and orders, even during peak hours.
  • Personalization: Allows restaurants to personalize their communication with customers. Meaning that you can send targeted messages, promotions, and offers based on the customer’s preferences and order history.
  • Analytics: Track which means have been ordered from the menu, run a survey after every customer order to track customer satisfaction (CSAT) score, and much more. 

📚 Related → WhatsApp Business API: all you need to know in 2023

Step 2: Add a WhatsApp chat to your website

So you have your WhatsApp Business account all set for your restaurant, but how would you tell your customers about it? 

Assuming you have a website online with decent traffic, adding a WhatsApp chat feature to it is probably the best way to tell your customers about your newly created food order system. 

It’s a simple and quick process. All you have to do is embed your WhatsApp Business account to your website.

Here’s how we use WhatsApp chat so our customers can start a conversation with us on WhatsApp:

An example of a WhatsApp chat on a website

Step 3: Build a WhatsApp chatbot to take customer orders automatically

After you successfully embed the WhatsApp chat on your website, set up a WhatsApp chatbot to make your and your customer’s life easier.

Here’s how a WhatsApp chatbot can help your restaurant increase your customer reach:

Improved customer service

With a WhatsApp chatbot, customers can quickly and easily get answers to their questions about the restaurant, menu, opening and closing times, and so on.

This can help reduce the wait time for responses, increase customer satisfaction, and improve customer loyalty.

Advanced ordering option

Give your customers a multiple-choice question that asks them what they’d like to order from you today. Explain to them what ingredients are in every option you give them when a customer asks for it.

Reduced workload for staff

By automating common customer queries, the WhatsApp chatbot can drastically reduce the workload for restaurant staff. This can free up your staff to focus on other tasks, such as preparing food and optimizing the supply chain.

📚 Related → How to build a WhatsApp chatbot for business

Step 4: Automatic order confirmation and delivery updates

So your customers have discovered they can now place their order via WhatsApp; what next? 

When it comes to ordering, every restaurant has two parts:

  1. Preparing the food for the order placed by the customer 
  2. Delivering the order to the customer on time

The former part is something your pro chefs would take care of 👨‍🍳, but the latter is where WhatsApp notifications come into play.

So after your customers place their orders, send them a tracking link to track their orders (preferably live tracking).

You can also send them the delivery agent’s name and number so that customers have the option to contact them if required.

Source: Dribble

Once they receive their order, you could send them a delivery confirmation message and ask them for a review.

📚 Related → How to send a WhatsApp Business notification

Set up a WhatsApp order system with Trengo

As mentioned earlier, using a WhatsApp Business API to create your restaurant’s order system will help you streamline all your operations. But selecting an API that seamlessly integrates with your current ordering system is also important.

Trengo is a WhatsApp Business solution provider that connects you with the WhatsApp Business API and via its customer engagement platform that helps boost your restaurant orders in no time.

Our customer engagement platform lets you connect your website to WhatsApp, have back-and-forth conversations with your customers, and even do personalized outbound marketing at scale.

What’s more, you get all the messages in one place. Onboard your team and let them access and cater to these messages. The API can also automate responses for common queries like:

  • Order confirmation
  • Delivery update
  • Delay update

And much more…

There are many more features that our Trengo offers. Why don’t you check it out yourself?

Start a 14-day free trial

Written by Pim de Vos

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