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Order Throttling

*Check out our most up-to-date Order Throttling & Channel Management document attached at the bottom of this article*
Restaurants on the Olo platform are able to restrict the amount of orders approved within a given timeframe. When a customer attempts to place an order during a time when the kitchen cannot support more orders, they are ‘throttled’ into the next available time slot.

Since it’s impossible to tell what the breakdown of orders in a future timeframe will be, restaurants choose their “Total Make Time” minutes available in a given 15-minute slot. Throttling allows stores to manage the number of online orders coming into the POS system based on make times assigned to orders. This can be different per store and adjusted as needed in the Dashboard. 

Every order has a make time associated with it depending on the "Total Make Time" strategy and the items in the customer's cart. Our throttling mechanism evaluates the total make time of all orders in a 15-minute period and allows restaurants to cap the total number of make time minutes for all orders. 

Example: The kitchen has accepted orders to its capacity for the 12:00-12:15 time frame and is now scheduling “next available” or ASAP orders during the 12:15-12:30 time frame.

Note: Brand/Corporate Dashboard access is needed to establish make time minutes for all menu items before an accurate throttling schedule can be established. If you're using quote time, order throttling cannot be used. Learn more about quote time.

The 'Make Time Minute's' order throttling strategy is designed to help restaurants "smooth the order curve" by closing time slots available for ordering once more orders than the kitchen can handle have been placed. When this occurs, customers are prompted to choose a later time slot. 

It is recommended that you start off by setting high order throttling minute thresholds to establish a baseline for peak times and average order size. Once throttling is activated, there are reports in Dashboard to show how many minutes are being scheduled in each bucket per day.

What the customer sees? No pickup times that have been throttled.

What the store sees? Hopefully, a more manageable rush period! Throttling orders require no action from store employees after initial setup.

Enabling & Configuring Order Throttling

Setting up order throttling starts at the COMPANY LEVEL. The company must have a Default Max Prep Minutes value applied to all time-slots when order throttling is enabled. This default can be overridden by each store, but a default is required. Submit a ticket on the Help Center to add the default and enable throttling. 

A store with throttling enabled will see a link to Order Throttling in their Dashboard. To access throttling options, go to Settings -> Store Settings -> Select Store -> Order Throttling. On this page, you'll see the options to configure the max make time minutes per 15-minute time slot. 


Not sure where to start? Are you turning on throttling for the first time and you aren't sure just how many make time minutes you can accept for a 15 minute timeslot? We would recommend turning on throttling at the store and setting the make time max to something high that wouldn't be exceeded (e.g. 2000 minutes) for each timeslot. By doing this, you can activate throttling without having an impact on customers and can start collecting valuable data as to how many make time minutes were actually used in each timeslot. You can only pull this report once throttling is activated. If you let throttling run for a week or two and you keep track of when a store felt overwhelmed with orders, you should have enough data to lower the make time minutes to the right level for you and your store. 

Tip: You can highlight multiple cells and use ctrl+v or cmd+v to quickly paste a value across multiple time slots. 

Order Throttling Reports

A store with order throttling enabled will see order throttling reports available in either the Reports section of the dashboard or on the throttling matrix page. 

This report will show all time slots over the time period selected, per store, showing per time slot number of closed orders, used preparation minutes, and max preparation minutes. This report allows a store to see how often orders are being throttled for customers based on the current max preparation values. It will only contain data if Throttling has been enabled at the store(s).

You may notice that a given time slot's "used preparation minutes" exceeds the max minutes set for a time slot. This is to be expected since orders are accepted until the max minutes set is exceeded. For example, if a max is set to 150 minutes and 140 minutes have already been used an order with 20 minutes of make time will be accepted because the 150-minute max has not yet been exceeded. Once it is surpassed, the time slot will close. Once you activate throttling, review these reports frequently to increase or decrease the max set in the throttling matrix based on store operations feedback. 

Throttling Scheduled Orders

Scheduled orders are assigned to a time slot according to the PrepEndTime for the order.

  • For a pickup order desired for pickup at 7 pm, the PrepEndTime is 7 pm and that is the time slot where the order is allocated for throttling

  • For a delivery order desired for 7 pm, at a store where delivery takes 30 minutes, the PrepEndTime is 6:30 pm, so 6:30 pm is the time slot where the order is allocated for throttling

The system never throttles until the max is exceeded allowing for very large orders to still be processed. If a large order is placed, the system will still protect the store operations by throttling any further orders desired for that time slot. 

Throttling ASAP Orders

ASAP throttling works similarly to scheduled orders, with PrepEndTime defining the time slot for each order, rounding “down” in all cases.

Example: A pickup ASAP order with an order ReadyTime (PrepEndTime) of 7:34 pm will be allocated to the 7:30 pm.

  • An ASAP order placed at 7:15 that takes 14 minutes to make (PrepEndTime = 7:29) will be allocated to the 7:15 timeslot
  • An ASAP order placed at 7:15 that takes 15 minutes to make (PrepEndTime = 7:30) will be allocated to the 7:30 timeslot
  • An ASAP order placed at 7:15 that takes 29 minutes to make (PrepEndTime = 7:44) will be allocated to the 7:30 timeslot

For delivery orders, the PrepEndTime will differ from the overall OrderReady time, which is the time estimate given to the customer.

  • An ASAP delivery order placed at 7:15 that takes 14 minutes to make (PrepEndTime = 7:29) and 30 minutes to deliver will be allocated to the 7:15 timeslot although the order will not arrive for the customer until 7:59.

  • An ASAP order placed at 7:15 that takes 15 minutes to make (PrepEndTime = 7:30) and 30 minutes to delivery will be allocated to the 7:30 timeslot although the order will not arrive for the customer until 8:00.

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