Competition in the restaurant industry can be cut-throat and with the rapidly changing trends, it can be difficult to acquire new customers or retain existing. As more customers seek out the ease of take-out–and especially delivery, third-party for delivery services provide an easy way to increase restaurant sales with online ordering.
Although these delivery services offer an opportunity to reach new customers and increase sales, the benefits come at a cost: giving up access to valuable customer data and loosing loyal customer base to the delivery partners.
It, therefore, becomes pertinent for restaurants to explore strategies to engage with their customers to keep the regulars coming back, attract new customers, and, build their native platforms to increase online orders on their website. In this article we will discuss some strategies to increase restaurant sales with online ordering.
How to increase restaurant sales with online ordering?
- Opt for A Robust online Ordering Solution
- Streamline your online ordering menu
- Optimize your online ordering platform
- Make it easy to order from your website
- Leverage Digital channels to Promote Online Ordering
- Optimize Your Website For Local Search
- Promote your Online Ordering Platform
1. Opt For A Robust Online Ordering Solution
Many restaurant owners/managers opt for third party delivery services to provide the convenience of online ordering to their customers. the general belief is that it is easier to get started on such platforms and they can easily start getting more orders without any investment in terms of time and resources. However, what they fail to factor in is that the additional revenues generated by orders received via these platforms is usually diluted by the hefty commissions charged by them. At this point, it is advisable to consider the long-term benefits of building your own online ordering platform. Initially, you may have to put in some efforts to promote your online ordering platform but these are resources invested in building your brand that have the potential to deliver huge dividends in the future.
There are several robust online ordering solutions in the market, which are commission-free and are available to restaurants totally free of cost. There are a few things you should keep in mind while selecting an online ordering solution:
What are the key features of an online ordering solution?
- Simple configuration: Most modern solutions are easy to setup and configure and allow to start taking online orders within 24 hours.
- POS integrations: An integrated online ordering solution does away with the need for manually updating orders. Your online orders appear on your POS along with other orders and all menu updates on the POS are automatically reflected on your online ordering platform.
- Customer data: if your online ordering solution is integrtaed with your pos, the customer data from online orders appears with all other data on your POS.
- Customizable: You should be able to customize the platform, upload pictures and add descriptions to align with your brand identity.
- Customers should be able save their preferences and customize their orders easily
- Accept Multiple Payment Options
- Inegrated feedback and loyalty program help you to build a loyal customer base
2. Streamline your online ordering menu
A lot of thought should go into creating your online ordering menu. Some items that may be very popular in-store might not lot lend them selves to pick-up or delivery. Evaluate each menu item on the following three criteria to come up with the idea menu.
- Whether they do or do not travel well
- Whether the margin on the food item is enough to cover packaging/delivery costs.
- Packaging considerations
Your online order menu should include only those items that travel well and at the same time have a high popularity and profitability score.
3. Optimize Your Online Ordering Platform
The online ordering platform is an extension of your brand and you should take utmost care to build the same customer experience on your online ordering page that customers have come to expect from your brand.
- Customize every aspect of the solution to align with your brand identity.
- Upload good quality food images and detailed descriptions of food items.
- Arrange menu items like they would appear on your in-store menu.
- Create up-sell or cross-sell opportunities by creating pop-ups for popular items or items that are usually ordered together.
- Streamline and smoothen the customer journey on your online ordering platform by setting up automations such as helpful tips and suggestions or allowing customers to save orders or delivery address etc.
4. Make It Easy To Order Right From Your Website
In most case, customers land on your online ordering platform from your website. The order online button should appear prominently on the top of your home page and menu page to grab the customers attention. Highlight your specials and consider adding add to cart buttons to menu items.
5. Leverage Digital Channels to Promote Online Ordering
You should build a strong online identity by adding the order online button to all your social media handles including Facebook, Instagram and GMB page. Platforms like Yelp and Tripadvisor also allow you to build your restaurant page and add an order online button to lead customers to your order online platform
6. Optimize Your Restaurant Website for Local Search
Each day thousands of customers are searching on Google for restaurant like yours using keywords or terms related to your business/menu. You should optimize your website for these key search terms. Research keywords for your restaurant and include them in your page’s body, header, title tags, and Meta description and your sit’s SEO.
Build your website’s credibility and trust with the search engines by adding your restaurant to relevant local listings including Google maps, Apple maps, Yellow book, Map quest and Nextdoor.
7. Promote Your Online Ordering Platform
You would want your customers to know that you are accepting online orders. Promoting your online ordering platform through organic and paid channels can help your reach more.
- 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.
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.
- You could create a special offer or discount to promote online ordering among your customers.
- Run contests to promote online Orders.
- Run Ads to promote online ordering
8. Leverage Data To Promote Build Loyalty
Use data from your online ordering solution to create targeted promotions to bring back customers. Segment customers based on their purchase history, preferences and visit frequency and come up with customized offers to bring back customers. For instance;
- Offers to bring back dormant customers
- offer on kids meal to bring back customers with kids
- Deals to increase average order value of regulars
- Flash offers to increase online orders on slow days
- Offer available only on online orders to incentivize customers to place pickup orders during rush hours.
Streamlining the customer experience on your online ordering platform and targeted promotions can help you build your brand and increase restaurant sales with online ordering.