Over the years, customers have come to expect the convenience of ordering food from the comfort of their homes. It has also been observed that the average order value for online orders is consistently higher than in-store orders. Providing the ease of online ordering to your customers can, therefore, generate incremental sales for your restaurant and boost profitability. Besides, it can also help you to expand your reach, improve order accuracy, and help you get over the drawbacks of taking orders over the phone.
However, in a crowded restaurant space, just adopting an online ordering platform for your restaurant may not cut the mark. You have to work constantly to increase your restaurant’s online orders by making the platform more visible and making the online ordering experience smooth for your customers. Here are a few strategies for increasing your restaurant’s online orders. We can categorize these strategies into three groups.
Technology Parameters for increasing your Restaurant’s Online Orders
1. Native Online Ordering Platform
Until a few years ago, only large restaurant chains could afford sophisticated software and global data infrastructure for the benefit of their business. However, the breakthroughs in cloud computing have now made these services accessible even to small family-owned restaurants.
There are several different solutions out there from third-party online ordering POS integrations like FoodKonnekt to the restaurant point of sale systems that have their own integrated restaurant online ordering software.
You can select a platform that meets your requirements. Here are a few things you should consider while building your native online ordering platform.
- Ability to work across different browsers: Your online ordering platform should work seamlessly across different browsers such as Chrome, Safari or Bing.
- Availability on Mobile Platform: The millennial customers prefer to order food-on-the-go using their mobile phones. So, it becomes important to ensure that your online ordering platform is optimized for mobile screens.
- Multiple Payment Options: Your online ordering system must have the ability to accept multiple payment options including wallets like Apple Wallet and Samsung Pay.
- PoS integrations With the advent of AI, smart online ordering options would become the norm of the day. POS integrations make it easier to automatically process orders accepted from the Online Ordering platform. Consider online ordering platforms such as FoodKonnekt that is integrated with several Pos platforms including Clover, Focus PoS, FoodTronix and can even help you streamline your marketing efforts – for instance, setting up coupons for promotional offers.
2. Consider a Mobile App for your Restaurant:
With the rapid advances in technology, developing an app for your restaurant is no longer going to burn a hole in your pocket. However, regular maintenance and updates of a mobile app require additional resources in terms of time and money. Add to that the concerns associated with acquiring and retaining customers on your app which may require consistent marketing efforts.
On the positive side, an app helps you increase your restaurant’s online orders as it is much more convenient to order food on an app. Customers can save their delivery address and preferences making it possible to order food within a few clicks. An app also makes it easier for you to promote offers and deals by sending regular notifications. You can also roll out personalized offers based on customer’s purchase history to boost online-orders.
Repeat customers account for one-third of a restaurant’s sales. Offering a loyalty program for regular customers can generate incremental sales and build a loyal customer base. A dedicated app for your restaurant makes it much easier to administer a loyalty program.
Optimize User Experience
Competition in a crowded market space provides customers with a wide array of choices. This has led to increased emphasis on user interface/user experience. A customer would not spend more than 2 minutes on your website/ online ordering platform if he does not find it appealing, intuitive and easy to use.
1. Optimize User Experience On Your Website
- The user experience on your website should be seamless across multiple devices. However, you would want to prioritize the mobile part of the user experience as the majority of the traffic comes from there.
- Your “Menu” should be easily accessible from the homepage of your website.
- The Order Online Button should appear prominently on the header of each page.
- Your Menu should feature good quality pictures of menu items with a description and price.
- Add to Cart options on the menu can make it easier for customers to save their preferences.
- Having a consistent menu across all platforms is another feature that you want to focus on to enhance the customer experience. Integration with POS should ensure that once an item is added on PoS the same should be automatically reflected on the online ordering platform.
2. Optimize User Experience On Your Online Ordering Platform:
- Ensure that your online ordering system has the ability to save previous orders based on the timings, delivery address, and card information.
- Pop-up or menu-suggestions are a good way to draw attention to new menu items.
- The ability to keep track of the order status enhances user experience. Domino’s, for instance, enables customers to see where their order is in the delivery lifecycle.
3. Provide Multiple Ways To Order
In the digital age, where every other brand is vying for customers’ attention, you would need a broader strategy to stay on the top of your customer’s mind. One way to do this is by offering them the convenience of online ordering via multiple platforms – website, mobile, social media, voice assistants (Alexa, Google home, etc). The use of the latest cloud-based technologies will enable this kind of transition.
Popular Brands like Dominoes and Pizza Hut are already using technology to push online orders on various platforms. Take a look at all the ways you can now order a pizza from Domino’s
- Text: If you have “Easy Order” set up in your Domino’s app account, you can order a pizza by texting a pizza emoji to DPIZZA (374992)
- SmartWatch: If you own an Android Wear or Apple Watch, you can “Easy Order” your pizza from Domino’s. You can also schedule a pizza delivery.
- Smart Car: If your Ford vehicle is equipped with the technology, you can order pizza on your way home via the Domino’s app Ford SYNC AppLink.
- Twitter: You can also order your Pizza from Domino’s by tweeting #EasyOrder or sending pizza emoji to @Dominos via direct message.
- Amazon Prime Now: If you’re using Amazon Prime Now services—you can order pizza from not just major brands but also from participating vendors in your local area.
- Amazon Echo: With the Domino’s Skill for the Echo, you can reorder your last order, place an Easy Order, or track your order.
4. Offer Delivery
There is no denying the convenience of having food delivered to your doorstep. Most customers say they prefer to order online from restaurants that offer delivery. Offering delivery services can help you increase your restaurant’s online orders.
However, providing delivery services may not be the easiest thing to do. It involves a significant amount of logistics and can be a drain on resources. A good way to check if the benefits of providing delivery outweigh the costs is to run test cases in your local area for a stipulated time and work out the logistics before going for full-scale delivery service.
Tying up with third-party delivery services can also help you to take care of the delivery aspects. There is a lot of data to support that third-party delivery services can bring incremental sales for restaurants, however, there are costs associated with such services that you must factor in to adjudge the real value they bring to your business.
Once you have made the decision to go ahead with delivery, you should ensure that provide a great experience to keep your customers coming back.
Here are a few tips that could help:
- Your delivery menus should ideally have only those food items that deliver well.
- Food Packaging: You would want to ensure that food is packaged in proper containers so that it does not spill and get messed in the containers.
- Invest in insulated food bags that keep hot items warm and cool items cool.
- Ensure that you include add-ons such as sauces, dips, seasoning, paper napkins, and bio-degradable cutlery.
- You could consider apps that help you to assign the delivery orders to your riders based on their availability and location. These apps can also help you track the location of the delivery person and the average time is taken to deliver an order.
Right Marketing to Increase Your Restaurant’s Online Orders
Promoting your online ordering platform consistently can help you reach more customers to increase your restaurant’s online orders.
In-store promotions should be a major part of your strategy to reach your regular customers and make them aware that they can order from your restaurant from the convenience of their homes.
- Promote your online ordering link via window displays and posters in prominent places such as the check out counter.
- Grab the attention of your customers when they are waiting for their food to arrive with table tents.
- Menu inserts are also a great way to reach your customers.
- Ensure that your online ordering link is prominently printed on your takeout packages and receipts.
- Train your staff to promote your online ordering platform to your customers.
- You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
- If you don’t already have one, you should consider launching a loyalty program to promote your online ordering platform. Regular customers are your restaurant brand ambassadors and account for a major part of your sales. Loyalty programs are an easy way to keep these customers returning to your restaurant and build a loyal customer base. They are also an ideal target to promote your online ordering platform.
Social Media platforms can be a great tool to reach your customers. Besides regular posts promoting your online ordering link, you should also consider advertising to reach your target audience on these networks.
Here are a few other tips:
- Replace the Call Now Button On Your Facebook Page with a Shop Now Button which leads customers directly to your Online Ordering Platform.
- Remember to include the link to your Online Ordering Platform On Your Instagram Bio.
- Instead of leading people to your Website from your twitter profile, send them directly to your online ordering page.
- If you are running any offer exclusively for promoting Online Orders, you must ensure that you are posting about these offers on your networks or running ads to reach a larger audience
- Run contests to promote online Orders.
- GMB Listing: Promote your online order link on your GMB page
- Reputation Management: Before ordering food from any restaurant, customers usually check the website and review sites like TripAdvisor to get an idea of the quality of food and services. Ensure that your website is updated regularly and you have a well-organized system of monitoring and replying to reviews.