Reducing Order Cancellations

Cancelling your customer’s orders can create a poor experience for them. Our data shows that when orders are cancelled, customers are significantly less likely to order from the restaurant that cancelled their order. Let’s look at why your restaurant is cancelling orders to begin with–and then what actions you can take instead.


Why does your restaurant cancel orders?

To understand how to tackle this issue for your restaurant, you need to understand why your restaurant is currently cancelling orders. This information is found in your Grubhub for Restaurant account by navigating to the Financials tab and selecting “Transactions”.


At the top of the page, you can choose the range of time you’re looking at, as well as Filter by the type of transaction you’re looking for. Select “Prepaid Order Adjustments” from the dropdown to limit your search results, also view your results a month at a time (such as “last month”), to see Cancellations during that time frame. Once you’ve looked through why orders are being cancelled at your restaurant, you can use the below information to reduce cancellations and find other actions your restaurant can take.


Common types of Cancellations + how to avoid them


Try to address the problem, before it happens.

Problem: The customer made a special request you can’t fulfill.

Solution: Adjust the order instead. Rather than cancelling, you can adjust the order using our streamlined order adjustment options.

Adjusting an order in the moment is an easy solution that keeps you fulfilling orders and serving delicious food to your customers while managing their expectations. Learn more about how to adjust active orders by removing an item you might not have available, adding an additional item a customer is asking for to replace it or modifying an item within the order.

Learn more about making adjustments to active orders.


Problem: You’re out of a specific menu item.

Solution: Change availability of a menu item if you run out. If you run out of any ingredients, you can hide those menu items until they are back in stock.

When your kitchen 86es an item or ingredient, it’s easy to quickly adjust your menu to avoid customers ordering the item. Whether you’re out for 10 minutes, or the rest of the day, hiding the item from customers can ensure they won’t order something and be disappointed it can’t be made. 

Learn about quickly hiding and restoring hidden menu items.


Problem: Your restaurant is too busy. 

Solution: Click “Stop taking orders.” You can temporarily suspend new orders on Grubhub by clicking this red button. When you’re ready to take orders again, click the green button “Start taking orders.”

Sometimes, a customer brings a group of 50 people to your restaurant without giving you adequate warning. Although it means an increase in business, it may mean your kitchen is at capacity for 30 minutes to an hour. To avoid cancelling orders from hungry customers excited to taste your food, you can easily toggle “Off” on Grubhub until your kitchen has the ability to take on new orders.

Learn to temporarily toggle “On” and “Off” on Grubhub.


Problem: You aren’t seeing new orders come in.

Solution: Keep your tablet powered up and turned on. If you’re open, keep an eye on your Grubhub tablet. If you’re not taking orders, be sure to click “Stop taking orders” or update your hours. Simply turning off your tablet does not turn off your restaurant on Grubhub–ensure your restaurant is not taking orders, and not just missing notifications for them.

If orders aren’t confirmed within 15 minutes of being received, Grubhub will cancel the order for you. This happens because we want to ensure Customers receive their food within the timeframe they expect it. This means it’s important to ensure your tablet is powered up and turned on. If you’re not sure if the tablet is working, you can send and confirm a test order to double-check.


Send and confirm a test order. Once you log into your Grubhub for Restaurant account, scroll to the bottom of this page to send yourself a test order. If you’re currently working with a POS integration, please contact Care for assistance with your tablet.


If you’re still experiencing cancellations

Order cancellations happen sometimes, but our goal is to help your restaurant reduce them. As your partner, and a partner to over 150k restaurants, we know how negatively order cancellations can affect your business when they occur. 

Frequent order cancellation can result in your restaurant being temporarily paused on Grubhub.

We pause your restaurant to ensure your relationship with your customers stays intact. We know if your kitchen has a pipe burst–turning off Grubhub might not be top of mind. We have your back and will make sure your restaurant is offline when it looks like your restaurant can’t confirm orders.  And we’ve made it quick and easy to unpause yourself once you are in a place to start confirming orders again. 


Getting back online

Once you’re ready to start taking orders again, you can unpause your restaurant at any time. If you received an email from us about your restaurant being paused, you can follow those instructions to bring your restaurant back online. Otherwise, log into your Grubhub for Restaurants account and select “Start taking orders”. If something doesn’t seem to be working for you, always contact our Care team. We’ll be more than happy to help you get your restaurant back up and running again.

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