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  • How to Set up Your Own Text Message Ordering System

    Third-party delivery services such as UberEats and GrubHub are simple to use, but partnering with these app-based services can really cut into your bottom line. Some retailers and restaurants are now turning to self-managed text ordering systems to meet customer demands without assuming the high costs associated with ordering apps.

    Not only does setting up your own text ordering system eliminate per-order bag fees and commissions charged by delivery services, keeping your ordering in-house lets you control quality and customer service at every step of the way. In fact, many consumers actually prefer ordering directly from restaurants and shops, making a self-managed ordering system a win for everyone.

    Text Messaging Order Apps

    A cost-effective option is to sign up for a text messaging order service. These services automate the SMS ordering experience without handing over control of the purchase to a third party. Some of these services have 'lite' no-cost versions, while others use a monthly subscription model.

    One of the more popular SMS order apps is TextRestaurants. This app directs SMS messages to an in-restaurant tablet, and a auditory signal lets employees know an order has been placed. Restaurants can quickly reply to customers with pre-formatted replies, or with custom messages. Once the order is placed, a payment link is sent to the customer to complete the transaction directly through their smartphone or other mobile device.

    Another emerging SMS ordering app is CloudWaitress, a monthly subscription-based service. This robust, scalable system is geared towards restaurants that offer in-house dining as well as pick-up and delivery, and it's designed to provide an all-in-one solution that merges all types of orders into a single system. Users can set up an online ordering website, add promotional codes and pay a one-time fee to have a custom ordering app built for their business.

    Bare-Bones SMS Ordering Systems

    Of course, you can easily go ahead and set up a SMS (short message service) ordering system by purchasing a low-cost cell phone with an unlimited text messaging plan. List this phone number on your social media feeds, flyers and menus so your customers can send in their order via text. Once you have received an order, reply with the total cost and an estimated pickup or delivery time.

    The pros of this method are the low cost and ease of use — you can literally have your SMS ordering system up and running in a matter of minutes. The downside is that responding to a text message can be time-consuming, especially during busy periods, and you'll still need another system to manage payments.

    Regardless of whether you opt to buy a low-cost smartphone that's used to text with your customers, or you decide to invest in a monthly SMS ordering service subscription, setting up and managing your own text ordering system is easy, affordable and a great way to keep up with consumer demand.