August 4, 2023
Devn Ratz

Compete O'Clock: What's Your Customer Order Cycle Time?

Optimizing customer order cycle time creates a crucial area of competitive against other growing brands. This allows you to enhance satisfaction, improve operational efficiency, and streamline order-to-door service. 

See how quickly orders are processed, prepared, and delivered, so you can create strategies to shave off valuable seconds. Transform wait times and elevate the dining experience

Every moment saved delights your patrons. Push to the front of this industry. Make each minute count!

Key Takeaway: Customer order cycle time describes a critical countdown, starting as soon as each customer places their order and ending at their doorstep.
Download our online ordering platforms eBook to learn how Revolution Ordering enhances customer order cycle times.

What is Customer Order Cycle Time?

The length between when a customer places an order and the time they receive it—that’s “customer order cycle time.” In analysis of "OCT," you'll easily see that there is much more than mere cooking between first order and final delivery. 

After all, customer satisfaction is what's at stake. As an owner (or operator), follow these steps and needs in analyzing this kind of restaurant data:

  • Payment Processing
  • Order Detail Review
  • Menu Item Processing
  • Actual Food Preparation
  • Order Delivery Routing
  • Customer Order Arrival 

For your restaurant, there may be more steps than simply “prep-and-ship,” meaning that exploring this metric could spell out new opportunities for the brand. 

As you look deeply at the concept of customer order cycle time, remember this: Every order carries a cycle, and each cycle matters to your bottom line.

5 Stages of Customer Order Cycle Times

Here we spell out some of the most common stages of the customer order cycle to explain how restaurants revise and optimize.

1. Customer Order

When the customer decides to buy your hamburger, salad, steak, or vegan mocktail—start the clock. With on-premise ordering, for instance, a customer would arrive at your restaurant to place the order. 

Off-premise orders, however, would be placed through digital menus and help the customer slip through a streamlined transaction stage. At this moment, restaurant owners only have initial capture of payment information and delivery details.

2. Business Notification

After customer order cycle times start, the restaurant (business or brand) is notified. At this second, your team gets the POS system ping that stirs them to service. 

Your staff knows to process each detail of the order to a tee, making order accuracy of utmost concern. This is where businesses would track the order through restaurant tech solutions with inventory management.

3. Item Manufacturing

The actual process of producing the item ordered comes third. This is the part of customer order cycle times when restaurant setup supports a streamlined route to satisfied customers. 

Depending on yours, you can make the item in this stage, or you can make it the moment that all the ingredients and conditions are set up for service. It could be as simple as picking the ready-to-eat order out of its home in FIFO storage.

4. Order Packaging

When your employees are ready to pack and send off the order, this is a fourth order packaging stage. This is often left forgotten by restaurants that may not first realize the essential character and charm of sustainable order packaging

Make this stage of more marked importance by shifting customer expectations. Packaging trends and sustainability in restaurants can count more than many owners and operators first fathom. Choose your packaging as carefully as your business branding and promotional imagery or content. 

Ultimately, that’s what customer order cycle times become: opportunities for restaurant intelligence and elevation.

5. Final Delivery

The doorstep is the final stage of your restaurant’s performance under the concept of “customer order cycle times.” Those restaurants with less control will see that their order times are lengthened—giving into delay and confusion before careening toward the customers. 

Leaders in the industry, leveraging data intelligence in the process, prefer order cycles that command a healthy dose of efficiency. They also use online ordering platforms to streamline and augment their service to achieve higher milestones. 

Why Customer Order Cycle Times Matter?

The supply chain, which is a system for restaurants with frequent chaos, manages more effectively when order cycle time is monitored and calculated, regularly. 

Such a simple calculation can help brands see where they must make adjustments in the kitchen, on the road, or at customer’s doors. Some of the quick switches many restaurants make include investments in smarter software and more talented technology. 

One serious innovation is AI restaurant analysis and machine learning algorithms, especially when infused with online ordering for restaurants. With an automated order management system, most restaurants reel in customer order cycle times—and many more hidden inefficiencies. 

Use customer cycles as restaurant KPIs and protect your processes from slipping downhill. Simply by knowing your customer cycle time, you can make important decisions about where to trim fat and tip the scales. 

Customer order cycle time directly influences satisfaction, showcased in customer survey questions developed specifically for this insight. 

Customer order cycle times can tip you off to more than delays. They tell you how ready your restaurant looks for expansion, growth, and more sustained sales. Having shorter and shorter order cycles will create less competition as you rise with customer loyalty program numbers. 

Think it’s time to expand your brand? 

Add up the customer order cycle time in the next section. See if your restaurant has the stuff to go into the next phase of our ordering-integrated industry.

How to Measure Customer Order Cycle Times

The simple formula for customer order cycle times (OCT) requires you know date and time of deliveries as well as the total number of orders you have handled successfully. 

Once you have these seemingly obvious details, you can measure the customer order cycle with this calculation: 

OCT = (Delivery Date and Time - Order Date and Time) / Total Orders 

Follow these step-by-step instructions to shorten order cycle times and promote a satisfaction-oriented, data-driven delivery system.

Set Up Systems

Collect customer details such as delivery and order dates, and total orders shipped. (Automation can streamline this data collection.)

Know Your Orders

Calculate the time between order and delivery dates. Divide the total time by the number of orders shipped within your chosen period to find the average customer order cycle time. Analyzing this over different periods can reveal trends in your efficiency..

Watch The Clock

Every so often, return to this calculation like a new day, a new set of data. Make fresh inroads into order cycles optimization at restaurants by always minding the time from confirmation to delivery.

Include OCT (order cycle time) as a core management task to make continuous optimization everything but optional. In fact, you can automate this function through our included reporting and analytics.

Front-Line Fixes for Restaurant Order Cycle Time

If you don’t understand your current customer order cycle time, you can’t compare it to your goals, your tomorrow, or your competitors. Seek spots slowing down your steady stomp toward dominance. Answer which missteps throw off your internal processes. Then, sweeten order fulfillment within restaurant flows through ordering software support.

  • Evaluate Ordering Flows: Assess restaurant productivity, and find the bottlenecks that could improve time-to-satisfaction overall. Try strategies like grouping items or reducing routes to speed and sustain online ordering through integration.
  • Invest in Restaurant AI: Equip your staff with the tools they need to increase efficiency. Protocols and guidelines for picking processes can significantly reduce customer order cycle time.
  • Handle with Hospitality: Creating a system for the most common mistakes (like picking wrong ingredients) to minimize delays. If you’re proud of your metric, continue to address order issues promptly to maintain your cycle time.
  • Clarify Vendor Contracts: Think closely about the impact of late shipments on your cycle time. Negotiating with your vendors might lead to significant improvements for restaurant bottom lines.
Get a free custom demo of Revolution Ordering, transformative restaurant tech for your customer order cycle time–and more.

Frequently Asked Questions About Customer Order Cycle Times

The customer order cycle time can command your success. The measure provides restaurant intelligence and insight into how your orders process, deliver, and direct satisfaction. 

Master these calculations and stage a delivery performance of exceptional speed and precision. Get ahead of the curve in the evolving world of food data.

How do you calculate customer order cycle time?

Calculating customer order cycle time first by subtracting order time from time-to-delivery. Then, divide that amount by all orders of concern for the period. 

You can follow this formula for reference: 

Order Cycle Time = (Delivery Time - Order Time) / Total Orders.

What are the stages of the customer order cycle?

Customer order cycles follow stages, starting with accepting the order through to picking, preparing, packing, and pushing out the door. The process concludes when every item in the order is finally delivered.

What is customer order cycle time?

Customer order cycle times matter is the period between processing, preparation, packing, and finally delivering the order

Particularly in restaurants, time to delivery at the customer’s door will partially determine store inventory, staff optimization, and future business needs for restaurant tech solutions. 

Understand and optimize customer order cycle times to promote efficiency, satisfaction, and more sustained sales.

Shave off customer order cycle times while saving money and reducing food waste through sustainability for restaurants in this free ebook.