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Understanding Prep vs Lead Time
Understanding Prep vs Lead Time
Updated over a week ago

The Prep Time is the amount of time it will take for a store to prepare the order

Key Concepts of Prep Time:

  • Used to determine order ready time

  • Calculated at check out after customer has added entire order to cart

  • Ensures the restaurant has enough time to prepare customer’s order

  • Determines the time that the order is fired to POS if you have a POS-integrated system

  • Consists of 3 cumulative components:

  • Prep time per service type - configurable by location

  • Prep time by menu item - configurable at the chain level

  • Prep time by order subtotal - configurable at the chain level

  • Phone order example:

  • Customer: “I’d like to place a pick-up order. How early can I get it?”

  • Restaurant: “We need at least 15 minutes”

  • The customer places large order

  • Restaurant: “Due to the size of your order, we will need two hours to complete it. Would you like to pick it up in two hours or set another time?”

Prep time is what causes the customer to be prompted with the 'Accept updated order time' when attempting to check out with a larger order.

The Lead Minutes are the earliest possible time that a customer can order

Key Concepts of Lead Time:

  • Used to determine the earliest available time when the customer is placing an order

  • Manages customer expectations on the earliest order time

  • Used only when the customer starts an order

  • Configurable by service type (pick-up, delivery, catering) and location

  • Configurable using time slots by service type

  • Phone order Lead Time Example:

  • Customer: “I’d like to place a catering order. How soon can I get it?”

  • Restaurant: “We need at least 4 hours on catering orders” before knowing what the customer will actually order

Lead Time

Prep Time

Used when starting an order


Only if greater than Lead Time

Used in calculating total order prep time


Varies based on orders in the queue



Lead Time is used to set the earliest time a customer can place an order for, before we know what the order is, how big, etc. For example, if a customer comes to the site at 11:00 a.m. and wants to start an ASAP order, and the lead time is set to 15 minutes, then the earliest time they can select is 11:00 + 15 minutes = 11:15 a.m. This is before they’ve added any items to their cart, etc.

Prep Time is calculated, using the specified prep time rules, when the customer checks out. Using the example from above, if the same customer starts checking out at 11:03, with an order of $15.00, the prep time is calculated to be 10 minutes based on the prep time rules. Since 11:03 (current time) + 10 minutes (prep time) = 11:13 and is still less than 11:15, they are allowed to check out and keep the 11:15 promise time. However, if they place a $40.00 order, prep time is calculated to be 30 minutes based on the rules, and since 11:03 (current time) + 30 minutes = 11:33 and is greater than the original time customer selected (11:15), the customer is prompted to accept the new ready time of 11:33 or select a new, later time.

So lead time is a static value that is used to set customer expectations as to the earliest time they can place their order, and it’s set per Service Type in Management. Prep time is calculated at check-out to ensure the location has enough time to prepare the order and order promise time is adjusted accordingly at checkout.

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