How To Set Variable Lead Times

So, What is a Variable Lead Time (VLT) Anyway?

A Variable Lead Time is best explained through an example. We will use this example throughout the instructions in this article.

Let's say you have a U.S. based pizza shop. During certain times of the year, such as NFL Football season, you may have more orders than you usually would during a Sunday afternoon. You already have a lead-time set in your Open Dining account of 20 minutes. This means that for every online order you receive -- the order will automatically take at least 20 minutes (more if delivery time is configured) for the customer to have their food.

Back to our Sunday afternoon example, let's say that between 11am and 3pm you want your takeout online orders to take 40 minutes instead of the typical 20 minutes, and your delivery online orders to take 60 minutes. It allows the restaurant more time to prepare the food due to the volume of orders.

Open Dining's Variable Lead Time feature allows you vary order timing in several ways:

  • By Schedule: Specific times between hours on certain days of the week
  • By Order Volumes: Lead times vary based on the number of online orders submitted
This is not in addition to the original configured Order Lead Time. For example, if you have a 20 minute lead time, and also have a 30 minute Variable Lead Time, this would not make a total of 50 minutes. It would instead be 30 minutes if an order is placed during the VLT.

How to Create a Variable Lead Time, by Schedule

  1. Navigate to your restaurant's General Settings page.

  2. Scroll down to where you see the Order Timing section, and select Varies By Schedule.

  3. Select Add Schedule Row for each of the Variable Lead Times you would like to create. You can choose the day of the week, as well as the start time, end time, and length in minutes that the lead time should be.

  4. When complete, be sure to click Save Settings at the bottom of the page.

So that's great! We've created variable lead times to have online takeout and delivery orders take a little bit longer on Sundays. But how can we see this in action?

If we navigate to our menu, we can start an example order and reach the checkout page. This is a fictitious takeout order that may be placed on a Sunday afternoon between our VLT. Note the section below the items list on the right which indicates when the order should be ready.

How to Create a Variable Lead Time, by Order Volumes

  1. Navigate to your restaurant's General Settings page
  2. Scroll down to where you see the Order Timing section, and select Varies By Order Volumes
  3. Select the Add Threshold buttons, as appropriate, to set up the desired volume thresholds
  4. For each entry, enter the number of orders, and the lead time to set
  5. When complete, be sure to click Save Settings at the bottom of the page

Setting Order Volume Thresholds

When the system is configured to use order volumes for lead times, it looks ahead to see how many orders are due in the next hour.  That count is then compared to the configured order brackets.

For example, say the following order volume thresholds are configured:

  • 10 Orders: 15 minutes
  • 20 Orders: 25 minutes
  • 30 Orders: 35 minutes
  • 40 Orders: 45 minutes
  • 50 Orders: 60 minutes
  • 75 Orders: 90 minutes
  • 100 Orders: 120 minutes

If a customer is ordering at 5:00 PM, the system will look ahead from 5:00 - 6:00 PM to see how many orders are due in that timeframe.  For example:

  • If 25 orders are due in the next hour, the estimated time would be 25 minutes
  • If 30 orders are due in the next hour, the estimated time would be 35 minutes
  • If 35 orders are due in the next hour, the estimated time would be 35 minutes
  • If 50 orders are due in the next hour, the estimated time would be 60 minutes
  • If 74 orders are due in the next hour, the estimated time would be 60 minutes

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