Boston Pizza: Online Ordering Equals Higher Receipt Totals, Guest Satisfaction

By Steve Johnstone, Chief Information Officer, Boston Pizza | October 07, 2010

The process that it takes to install a nation-wide online ordering system across an area as expansive as Canada is a complex challenge for any restaurant chain. But for Boston Pizza, a casual dining operation with 325 stores stretching from coast to coast, the results have proven well worth the effort.
 
Boston Pizza provides home delivery of most of its extensive, 125-item menu of pizza, ribs, pasta, salads, sandwiches and more. Like most delivery chains, Boston Pizza heavily relied on telephone orders, as well as a regional call center, to direct its takeout and delivery operations. However, shifts in customer ordering preferences related to the rise of PC-based ordering, and more recently, mobile ordering, led Boston Pizza's management team to seek out a way to expand its order taking operations to include these new channels. But while such alternatives would offer a major customer benefit, management was also looking for ways to boost franchisee profits. Having technology for the sake of being trendy was not an option.
 
Big goals, big challenge
After an extensive review of online ordering options, Boston Pizza selected ONOSYS Online Ordering to customize its system. A nine-month development and implementation process followed, as the system was tailored to Boston Pizza's specific needs including a specific look and feel that was refined in a multi-store test.
 
The complex undertaking included integrating multiple components from the payment (Eigen, www.eigendev.com) and point-of-sale (Positouch, www.positouch.com) systems in all of the chain's restaurants, to synchronizing pricing and menu information with the data warehouse in Boston Pizza's Vancouver, B.C.-based data center. Electronically mapping delivery areas was also a key factor in the program's success, ensuring guest orders were directed to the most appropriate location.
 
Once the system was ready, it was rolled out to every restaurant in the chain with a comprehensive training and support package to ensure a consistent guest experience across the country: an important criterion for a national brand like Boston Pizza. The rollout began in February 2010, and all of the stores went live in July.
 
Delivering rapid growth
The benefits of the new system are already evident. The average guest transaction is higher when placed online rather than by phone or in-store, and guests report higher satisfaction when using the online system rather than phoning orders in. Other benefits have been realized as well; the system directs online orders directly to the restaurants' kitchen video system, removing waste through the elimination of paper chits and making the order process more reliable.
 
Historically, 10-15 percent of its annual sales are generated by takeout and delivery, a number Boston Pizza wants to drive through online ordering as soon as possible. With online orders growing at a speedy clip of 25 percent per month, that goal might not be too far into the future. With online ordering now running smoothly, the chain is well on its way of achieving its aim of unparalleled guest service and store-level profitability.
 
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