Location Ordering Features

minute read

Feature Overview

ASAP, Scheduled Orders, Order Throttling, and More

There are a ton of rules and features at play, at the moment when a guest places an order and thinks to themselves:

"I'm hungry, but when am I hungry though?"

For this reason, let's break down each piece that goes into the timing of an order, one by one:

 

ASAP

  • An abbreviation for "As Soon As Possible." When a guest is requesting their order to be fulfilled ASAP, they are expecting that the restaurant will start preparing their order as soon as they place it and that it will be up to the restaurant to estimate and dictate the time at which they will receive their food.
  • ASAP ordering can be Enabled and Disabled directly from the Lunchbox Admin Dashboard, from the Settings menu pane link. ASAP ordering can be disabled for Dine In, Pickup, Delivery, and Kiosk (Pocket Kiosk) separately.

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Scheduled

  • A Scheduled order is the opposite of an ASAP order. For Scheduled orders, the guest is notifying the restaurant of the time when they want their order fulfilled, but for ASAP orders, the restaurant dictates the time of order fulfillment. For this reason, there are more rules that go into scheduling orders, which will be addressed in this document.
  • Time slots for scheduling orders are always displayed using the Time Zone of the location, and not the time on the guest's device.

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The following are important things to keep in mind when Scheduling an Order:

  • When scheduling an order, the first time slot shown to the customer will vary based on the Lead Time, Prep Time, Delivery Time (if Delivery), as well as any Thresholds that would have been crossed.
  • Time slots are 15-minute intervals, starting at the top of the hour (i.e., 12:00pm). To determine what the first time slot will be, the system will initially look at the Lead Time and the Service Estimate. The calculated Prep Time + Delivery Time is otherwise known as the Service Estimate. The Prep Time will get calculated (taking into account Threshold and Increment) and added with Delivery Time (only if Delivery).
  • The first Time Slot always adds the greater of the Service Estimate or the Lead Time to the current time. So, if the current time is 12:00pm, the Lead Time is 30 minutes, and Service Estimate is 45 minutes, then the first time slot will be 12:45pm, and vice versa.
  • The first time slot isn't always on an exact 15-minute increment either. If the current time is 12:03pm, the Lead Time is 15 minutes, and Service Estimate is 30 minutes, then the first time slot will be 12:33pm.

Prep Time

  • Prep Time is the amount of time that the restaurant estimates it would take to prepare the order. Preparation includes receiving, cooking, and plating/packaging the order. In other systems (i.e., POS), some might see Prep Time be automatically calculated. However, since Lunchbox doesn't have visibility into that data on the POS, the Prep Times are static and set via our Admin Dashboard. Prep Time can however be influenced by the size of the order, and for more information on that, please see Estimate Threshold & Estimate Increment.

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Lead Time

  • Lead Time is similar to Prep Time. However, rather than it being how long the restaurant needs to prepare the order, Lead Time refers to how much advance notice the restaurant needs to be given before they can fulfill the order. This typically comes into play most for Catering orders. For example: Let's say a restaurant takes roughly 2 hours to fulfill a catering order for 100 burgers. However, they need 24 hours lead time (advance notice) so that they can make sure that they have the staff and materials on hand to fulfill the order.

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Delivery Time

  • Delivery Time is the amount of time the restaurant estimates that it would take to fulfill the delivery portion of the order after it has been fully prepared. Delivery Times are static and set via our Admin Dashboard, and when combined with Prep Time, provide guests with a general estimate of when they can expect to receive their delivery order at their door.
  • When dispatching the order for Delivery, if a Scheduled Time is not set for the order, the Delivery Provider will use Prep and Delivery times as an estimate of when they should pick up the order from the restaurant, and when they should deliver the order to the guest.
  • If an order has a Prep Time of 15 minutes and a Delivery Time of 30 minutes, then the estimate shown to the guest will be 45 minutes, and the delivery provider will be told that they should expect to fulfill the order in 45 minutes.
  • Some brands are using Delivery Providers (i.e., DoorDash) that provide text message updates, push notification updates, or real-time status/time updates. Those updates are real-time, and Delivery Times do not affect this as they apply before the order is placed and at the moment of placement.

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Service Estimate

  • Service Estimate is the overall estimate of how long it will take the restaurant total to fulfill the order. Here is what the formula looks like:

Service Estimate = Prep Time + ($ of Order / Threshold * Increment)

  • For Delivery Service Estimate, add Delivery Time to that number.

Estimate Threshold & Estimate Increment

  • Threshold and Increment allow for the Prep Time of the order to be dynamically calculated depending on the price (size) of the order. We use $ amount to determine the size of the order instead of # of items because it is a more accurate indicator of size (think about 20 cans of soda vs $20, and 5 pizza pies vs $100).
  • Threshold specifies the $ amount thresholds that need to be passed in order for the order to incur additional Prep Time. Increment specifies the # of minutes to add to the Prep Time every time the threshold is repeatedly met.
  • As an example, an order that starts with 20 minutes of Prep Time, and has a Threshold set to $100 and an Increment set to 10 minutes. If the order ends up totaling $350, then it will have passed $100 a total of 3 times (we ignore the remainder). This 3 multiplies against the 10-minute increment that is set, and results in 30 minutes of additional Prep Time due to the size of the order. Thus, the final estimated Prep Time for the order will be 20 + 30 = 50 minutes.

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Order Throttling

First, Order Throttling does not affect ASAP orders

  • In order to understand what Order Throttling refers to here at Lunchbox, it's important to first understand that Order Throttling does not have any effect on ASAP orders. A reason being this example: A restaurant on a big sporting event day may want to limit and schedule out the massive number of advanced (scheduled ahead of time) orders they receive. The restaurant may wish to also reserve capacity for guests who are "walking in" and would like to place an order at the restaurant's earliest convenience.
  • However, in the scenario where the restaurant is flooded with orders and simply cannot fulfill any further orders immediately, then the restaurant has 2 choices:
      1. Update the Prep Times to indicate that the orders are going to take much longer to fulfill than normal (Analogy: You walk into a restaurant and the host tells you that it will take 1.5 hours to get you a seat. You can either choose to wait or leave and find a different place).
      2. Turn off ASAP orders entirely, and require all customers to schedule out their orders (or get an automatically scheduled time dictated to them), so that Order Throttling will occur across all orders.
    • For Choice #1, it leaves room for the restaurant to not turn away more spontaneous customers.
    • For Choice #2, it protects the restaurant when they know they are slammed and cannot possibly fulfill more than is planned.
  • Either way, the context above is needed to understand why ASAP orders don't incur Order Throttling. And the ability to turn on/off ASAP ordering as well as adjust Prep Times provides the restaurant with tools needed to accommodate for an influx of orders.

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Second, Definition of Order Throttling

  • With that in mind, Order Throttling is a feature that takes into account the current volume of orders that a restaurant is set to fulfill for any incremental time slot (i.e., 4:00pm - 4:15pm), and adjusts the availability of that time slot.

  • Order Throttling can be set based on the # of orders (Order Count) which can be fulfilled in an hour, or the total $ amount of the orders (Dollar Amount) that can be fulfilled in an hour.

  • Each hour is broken down into 4 separate 15 minute time slots (using a starting time of 12:00pm as an example):

      • 12:00pm - 12:15pm
      • 12:15pm - 12:30pm
      • 12:30pm - 12:45pm
      • 12:45pm - 12:00pm
  • For this reason, to determine how many orders or how much $ can be allocated to each time slot, we must take the total order/dollar amount set to be fulfilled in an hour and divide it by 4.

  • If the restaurant has set with Order Throttling that they can fulfill 12 orders an hour, then they can fulfill 3 orders every 15-minute time slot.

  • If the restaurant has set with Order Throttling that they can fulfill $1000 an hour, then they can fulfill $250 worth of orders every 15-minute time slot.

  • Both an Order Count limit and a Dollar Amount limit for Order Throttling can be set at the same time. The Order Throttling system will automatically select the amount which is closest to the limit.

  • If the time slot is over 100% capacity when scheduling, the guest will not be able to pick that time slot and Not Available will be written next to the slot.
  • If the time slot is over 50% but less than 100% capacity, the guest will still be able to pick that time slot and Half Full will be written next to the slot.

Example 1

  • There is a 12 orders per hour limit set and a $1000 per hour limit set. This results in a limit of 3 orders or $250 per 15-minute time slot.

  • At the 12:00pm time slot, the restaurant has 2 orders currently set to be fulfilled, totaling $100. For the Order Count limit, the time slot is at 66% capacity (2 orders / 3 limit) For the Dollar Amount limit, the time slot is at 40% capacity ($100 / $250 limit)

  • With these two levels in mind, the Order Throttling will apply a 66% capacity to the time slot and show Half Full next to the time slot, with the ability to still be selected.

Example 2

  • There is a 12 orders per hour limit set and a $1000 per hour limit set. This results in a limit of 3 orders or $250 per 15-minute time slot.

  • At the 12:00pm time slot, the restaurant has 3 orders currently set to be fulfilled, totaling $120. For the Order Count limit, the time slot is at 100% capacity (3 orders / 3 limit) For the Dollar Amount limit, the time slot is at 48% capacity ($120 / $250 limit)

  • With these two levels in mind, the Order Throttling will apply a 100% capacity to the time slot and show Not Available next to the time slot, and will not be able to be selected.

Example 3

  • There is a 12 orders per hour limit set, and a $1000 per hour limit set. This results in a limit of 3 orders or $250 per 15-minute time slot.

  • At the 12:00pm time slot, the restaurant has 1 order currently set to be fulfilled, totaling $300. For the Order Count limit, the time slot is at 33% capacity (1 order / 3 limit) For the Dollar Amount limit, the time slot is at 120% capacity ($120 / $250 limit)

  • With these two levels in mind, the Order Throttling will apply a 120% capacity to the time slot and show Not Available next to the time slot, and will not be able to be selected.

  • The capacity was able to exceed 100% because Dollar Amount limits are able to be crossed like this, if before the order was placed the capacity was close to 100% or able to cross 100% with the order.

Example 4

  • There is a 12 orders per hour limit set, and a $1000 per hour limit set This results in a limit of 3 orders or $250 per 15-minute time slot.

  • At the 12:00pm time slot, the restaurant has 1 order currently set to be fulfilled, totaling $50. For the Order Count limit, the time slot is at 33% capacity (1 order / 3 limit) For the Dollar Amount limit, the time slot is at 20% capacity ($50 / $250 limit)

  • With these two levels in mind, the Order Throttling will apply a 33% capacity to the time slot and the time slot will be able to be selected.

Edge Cases

  • Order Throttling applies at the moment that the guest is scheduling their order. And so if 5 people all selected the same time slot, and then placed an order at the same time, all 5 orders would apply to that time slot. So, even though the time slot had a 3 order limit, since at the point of scheduling there were no orders on that slot, the orders were able to go through. However, any additional orders that are going through scheduling after would see that time slot as not available.

Order in Advance Days

  • By default, a guest is able to schedule an order 7 days in advance for Standard Ordering (our regular online ordering product) and 2 weeks in advance for Catering. Updating the value for "Order in Advance Days" (a developer might refer to this as daySpan, terrible name, we know), will adjust how far out a guest can schedule.

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Solutions Guide:

Setup Process:

Step 1: Log in to the Lunchbox Dashboard, navigate to Locations in the left menu and select the location that you would like to update:

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Step 2: Once you’ve selected your location, you can see the Ordering options available to be adjusted per location:

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Step 3: From here you can go in and make changes to the following Ordering Features:

  • Location Status (for Pickup, Delivery, and Kiosk)

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  • Edit Details (Includes Prep Time Estimate, Delivery Time Estimate, Estimate Threshold, Estimate Increment, Standard Delivery, Catering Delivery, Order In Advance (Days)). These settings (along with Operating Times) will also affect your Scheduled Orders settings.

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  • ASAP Ordering (for Pickup, Delivery, and Kiosk)

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  • Order Throttling (for Pickup, Delivery & Catering)

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  • Operating Times (for Pickup, Delivery & Dine-In)

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Step 4: Once you have made changes to your Ordering Features, select SAVE and your changes will be in effect on your customer-facing web and app platforms.

 

 

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