Your Decline Rate Explained

April 12, 2015 | by |

preparing food in kitchen

This is part one of a three-part guide to understanding your rankings on hungryhouse. Read about understanding your quality score, and customer review rating for more of hungryhouse explained.
Declining an order guarantees a customer will never return.

Picture the scene. The customer has checked out the wide variety of restaurants in their area, they’ve agonized over which delicious dishes they want to try, and then they’ve placed an order full of expectation and anticipation of their gorgeous food to arrive. But the next thing they know, they receive an email telling them that their order has been declined. As you can imagine, this leaves the customer hangry, pretty ticked off, and unlikely to return to your restaurant any time soon.

But this frustrating outcome damages not only the customer’s confidence in the quality and reliability of your restaurant, it can also have long-term effects on your ability to attract new customers through hungryhouse.

The Decline Rate Low-down

The decline rate is simply the percentage of total orders that have been declined by restaurant. Only orders that are declined from the restaurant’s side are included within the calculation of the decline rate, whereas orders cancelled by the customer or by hungryhouse (whether or not they have been accepted by the restaurant) are not counted towards a restaurant’s decline rate.

Low decline rate

Declined orders include;

Orders that are physically declined by restaurant.
Orders that are not acted upon by the restaurant (accepted or declined) with a 20-minute time window. After 20 minutes have passed, these orders are also automatically declined by hungryhouse.

How can a high decline rate affect my business?

Apart from the obvious short-term loss of income for every declined order, there are a number of other important ways in which a high decline rate can affect your business.

A lower hungryhouse search listing: A high decline rate will mean that your restaurant will not rank as highly on hungryhouse.

Each restaurant is assigned a quality score on hungryhouse, and this score is responsible for deciding how high a restaurant should be ranked within the hungryhouse search listings for each postcode. Along with average customer ratings and re-order rate, a restaurant’s decline rate has a huge influence on this quality score.

Less chance of being a Top Takeaway: The higher your decline rate is, the lower your chances are of becoming a Top Takeaway.

Every restaurant on hungryhouse is calculated a Top Takeaway score based on four factors including; Decline Rate, Re-order Rate, Customer Ratings and Food Hygiene Rating. In order to be awarded with Top Takeaway status you need to ensure that your restaurant is performing strongly in all of these key areas.

Top takeaways 2015

Reduced re-order rate: Customers who have their orders declined are highly unlikely to consider re-ordering from your restaurant in the future.

If customers feel that they cannot trust your restaurant because you have declined their order then this will have a knock-on effect to your re-order rate on hungryhouse. A poor re-order rate will also negatively affect your hungryhouse search listing, chances of becoming a Top Takeaway, and your order volume.

How to lower your decline rate

There are many reasons as to why you might decline an order from a customer, but knowing the detrimental effect a high decline rate can have on your business, it’s better to avoid declining any orders in the first place. So here are some tips on how you can reduce your number of declined orders..

Double-check suspicious orders: Call the customer first to double-check seemingly suspicious orders rather than deciding to decline it straight away.

Obviously there are times when a suspicious-looking order can come through, but declining an order without investigating first will lead to an increased decline rate. Therefore, instead of rejecting the order out-right, try to call the customer via the phone number provided to see if their order is indeed genuine. Or, you can ask us to get in contact with the customer and we’ll let them know that their order has been put on hold until it’s legitimacy has been determined.

Communicate with the customer: If your kitchens are struggling to process orders, contact customers to warn them of an increased delivery time instead of just declining their order.

Even if you feel your kitchens could not fulfil an order without incurring a long delay, communicating this to the customer via a quick phone call is far better than just declining their order outright without any communication at all.

By personally letting a customer know of the delay you can ask them to cancel the order from their end (or to ask hungryhouse to cancel it on their behalf), thus protecting your decline rate. Plus, by being up-front and honest with them you are providing full transparency to the customer, whilst giving them full control over whether they want to proceed with their order or not.

Spot the potential for declined orders in advance: If it looks like your restaurant won’t be able to handle many more orders on the night then temporarily take your restaurant offline on hungryhouse.

Firecracker-bentoOn a busy night you can avoid having to decline orders by asking our customer care team to take your restaurant offline on hungryhouse temporarily. Or you yourself can log into the Partner Portal and take your restaurant offline. By taking your restaurant offline for a brief period you can focus on dealing more efficiently with the backlog of orders, whilst also preventing any new customers from being disappointed.

Update your hours on hungryhouse: If you know you will be arriving to work later than usual, then update your opening hours on hungryhouse.

If you intend to open up your restaurant later than usual but you don’t update your hours on hungryhouse, then you will be listed as ‘online’ on hungryhouse despite not even being open! Using the partner portal means you can take your restaurant offline or update your opening hours at the touch of a button.

Check your livelink terminal, and your 9cookies connection regularly: If your Likelink terminal or your 9cookies connection are not working, then orders made by customers will not be processed properly.

If there is not a clear connection with 9cookies, or your Livelink terminal has a bad signal or has run out of paper, then orders placed by customers to your restaurant will not be processed. These orders will back up within the system and after 20 minutes of inaction hungryhouse will decline these orders automatically.  To avoid this make sure to check your 9ookies connection and Livelink terminal at regular intervals  – and that the Livelink terminal in particular has two green lights :)

Ben Bradley
Sales Officer at hungryhouse