Convenience stores thrive when they make it as easy as possible for customers to get what they came for. Now that many convenience stores have increased their focus on foodservice, it only makes sense to make ordering and buying food as convenient as possible. Introducing the ability to order ahead, with or without the store having a drive-thru, has let convenience stores make great strides towards this goal.
When done well, implementing an order ahead system can bring a lot of benefits to convenience stores, such as happier customers and increased business. However, if your employees aren’t prepared for such a system, the consequences will far outweigh the benefits.
Your Employees’ Role in Improving Convenience
Your employees are the ones ensuring these new opportunities work, therefore they need to be up to date on your policies and how to handle various situations related to customers ordering ahead. Knowing where to put the food while waiting and remembering to check for online orders through your app or website are some easy duties to train them on, but there are also less obvious things to consider. Will your customer service policies and routines need to be updated now that you’ll have more takeout-only guests? How should your employees balance the needs of customers who order in the store against those who ordered ahead?
If your employees are struggling to fulfill the orders correctly or on time, that could be worse than not featuring an order ahead system in the first place. Making customers wait while your employees correct their orders would ruin the entire expectation of convenience that your customers have.
Leverage Training for Order Ahead Success
To avoid these problems, training your employees on the correct policies and procedures for your convenience store is incredibly important as it increases their productivity. If your store has a policy to serve customers in a certain order, or split up the work a certain way, you can leverage your training program to teach these processes and ensure employees learn what they need to know. To ensure that every employee gets the same message from their training, consider using a learning management system to help you distribute the training and get everyone on the same page. In a case like this, where their everyday job will involve policies regarding handling online orders, you may also want to implement blended learning to help get the message across to your employees. Role-playing can also help your messages stick by reinforcing positive and effective communication with customers.
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