Configuring Lead / Prep Times

In the Open Dining system, you can configure "Lead Times" for both takeout and delivery order times, to give the restaurant staff time to prep an order.  For example, for pick-up orders, you could configure a 15 minute prep time.

How Lead Times Work

Lead times are tied closely to your Hours configuration.  In most cases, hours are when customers can place orders.  Lead times behave in two different ways, depending on whether the lead time is short (for most scenarios) or long (for catering or catering-like orders).

  • If the lead time is short (less than 6 hours), the "Normal Lead Time" logic will be used, explained below
  • If the lead time is long (more than 6 hours), the "Catering Lead Time" logic will be used, explained below

For all scenarios below, assume the following:

  • The restaurant's hours are from 11 AM - 10 PM
  • The restaurant accepts both ASAP and Advance Orders

Normal Lead Time

For most situations, the lead time is enforced on a daily basis.  For example, if the lead time is set to 30 minutes:

  • ASAP orders can be placed any time the restaurant is open (11 AM - 10PM)
  • For ASAP orders, the lead time will be enforced on a daily basis, so if a customer places an ASAP order right when the store opens (11 AM), the due time will be 11:30 AM
  • For advance orders, the lead time will also be enforced on a daily basis, so available order times will be 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM

Catering Lead Time

For longer lead times, it's necessary to change the logic, because enforcing a daily lead time becomes impractical.  For example, if the lead time is set to 12 hours:

  • Enforcing a daily lead time wouldn't work, because there are only 11 hours total from 11 AM - 10 PM.  If we started the lead time at 11 AM, the entire day would be unavailable
  • The common understanding is that 12 hours of "real time" are needed to prepare an order, so the lead time is enforced from the current time
  • ASAP orders can be placed any time the restaurant is open, but as the lead time is quite long, this may prove impractical.  It may be desired to disable ASAP orders, and use Advance Orders only
  • For advance orders, the lead time will be enforced from the current time, so:
    • If it's currently Monday at 11 AM, Monday will be completely unavailable.  Times available will be from Tuesday at 11 AM onward
    • If it's currently Monday at 1 PM, times available will be from Tuesday at 11 AM onward
    • If it's currently Monday at 11:30 PM, times available will be from Tuesday at 11:30 AM onward
  • If the lead time was set to 24 hours:
    • If it's currently Monday at 11 AM, Monday will be completely unavailable.  Times available will be from Tuesday at 11 AM onward
    • If it's currently Monday at 1 PM, times available will be from Tuesday at 1 PM onward
    • If it's currently Monday at 11:30 PM, Tuesday will be completely unavailable. Times available will be from Wednesday at 11:30 AM onward

Configuring Lead Times

There are two main values for lead times:

  • General Lead Time: Used for pick-up orders
  • Extra Delivery Time: This time is added to the above lead time for delivery orders

Both values are configured under the General Settings screen on the Open Dining back-end.

For example, if the General Lead Time is set to 30 minutes, and Extra Delivery Time is set to 20 minutes:

  • Takeout orders will have a lead time of 30 minutes
  • Delivery orders will have a lead time of 50 minutes (30 minutes + 20 minutes)

Other Lead Time Configurations

There are other features in the Open Dining system that can affect lead times, including:

  • Lead times that vary by delivery zone
  • Lead times that vary by time of day (schedules)
  • Lead times that vary by order volumes

For simplicity, these features are not included in the scope of this article.

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