The Online Waiter - Online Ordering Solutions for Restaurants and Takeaways
Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Online Waiter?

The Online Waiter is an online ordering service for restaurants, Takeaways and providers of business catering services.

What if I have a website already?

We can integrate online ordering with your current website, maintaining the same look and feel so your customers have a consistent experience when ordering. Optionally, we can take over the hosting of your current site, which will be cheaper because you will be getting all your web services from a single provider.

What if I don’t have a website?

If you need a website then we can take care of everything including: - Helping you choose a name for the site like www.myrestaurant.co.uk ... registering this name with the Internet’s governing bodies ... designing the website ... hosting the website; this means the site will run on our computers and we will ensure it is always available for your customers.

Why do I need online ordering?

See the Why it's good page for a list of benefits.

My customers order food for delivery or for pick up from my premises – can The Online Waiter handle this?

Yes. We support any combination of order pickup, order delivery, order ahead and table reservation.

What is order ahead?

Order ahead is for establishments with "eat in" tables only. It allows a customer to order from the online menu and book a table in the restaurant at the same time. This allows the restaurant to have food already prepared for diners when they arrive. Customers like it if they know they will be in a rush, at lunch time for instance. Some busy restaurants like it because customers spend less time at their table.

Can my customers add specific requests to a dish?

Yes. Any dish can have a note added to it by the customer when they select it, for instance “tiny splodge of mayo please” or “hold the anchovies”.

What about dishes with different choices?

Any dish can be set up to have any number of set options that can be chosen when the customer orders; from something as simple as choosing large or small, to something complex such as a customer choosing from 20 different toppings and 10 different types of pizza base. Our systems can reproduce your menus exactly.

Can customers place orders outside the opening times?

Yes. The opening times are when your establishment is open for business. Customers can order while you are closed and the order can be processed when you are open. A customer will be able to place an order at 4:00 am in the morning, but his choice of collection or delivery times when he is at the checkout will be restricted to the preparation times that you can meet.

How do I order The Online Wiater?

Just contact our sales department on 01200 410435, or call 07973 409191 if it's out of office hours. You can use the contact form. You can email us if you prefer ... enquiries@theonlinewaiter.com

Do you take online payments?

Yes. If you would like us to then we can take online payments on your behalf. You don't even need your own merchant account. For many of our customers, we are the only method that their customers have of paying with a card. We take the payments and forward them onto your bank account on the first day of each month, or more frequently for a small administration charge. There is a transaction charge for each online card payment which can either pass on to you, or onto your customers. We can if you prefer pay customers card payments directly into your own merchant account, but the setup and ongoing charges are high. Please call us if you wish to discuss this.

What does it cost?

You can be up and running for free, and you will only pay £1.00 for each order that the website takes. See the What it costs page for full details of our prices.

Can you register a website domain name for me?

Yes. We can help you choose a domain name (for instance myrestaurant.co.uk) and handle all the details for you. Payment and ongoing charges for the domain name are included in our running costs. You don't have to pay any extra for this. Be aware that we can only get hold of a domain name for you if nobody owns it already. If you already have a domain name with another service provider, then it can easily be transferred to The Online Waiter.

What about the design of the website?

We provide a full design service with options to base the design on your existing signage and menu or to use a new design.

What happens when my menu changes?

We provide an online menu editing facility. This is simple to use and allows changes to be made that are seen immediately on your web site. Optionally we can make these changes for you; we do not charge to make minor changes on your behalf, but we may charge a modest amount for major or frequent menu alterations.

What equipment do I need - must I have a computer?

You need to have some means of receiving the orders so they can be prepared. Most people use a fax machine which they put somewhere so arriving faxes will be seen, but there are other options including SMS and Email orders. It might be worth dedicating a phone line to the fax machine on a different number, so faxes and phone calls don't hold each other up. You don't need a computer to use The Online Waiter, but a computer and an Internet connection will be needed if you wish to make changes to your website yourself or view order levels online etc.

I have daily specials – how are these handled?

We provide an online menu editing facility, which can be used to update your specials as and when you change them. This is simple to use and allows changes to be made that are seen immediately on your web site. For this, you would need a computer and Internet connection.

What about bogus orders?

Don't worry. It's much more difficult to make a bogus Internet order than it is to make a bogus telephone order. The Online Waiter deters bogus orders by having users go through a quick and simple registration process before they place their first order. From that point onwards, returning customers just log into your website to place orders. The orders that come through to you will let you know how many orders a customer has placed with you in the past. You don't need to worry about orders from frequent customers, but you can check a new customers details closely (you will have their phone number and post code on the order). If you suspect something, you could perhaps telephone a brand new customer the first time an order comes through from them.