It is a necessity to have a website if you are in the restaurant business. Now, you might think, having a website is enough to bring in more business and show the entire world what you have to offer. Wrong answer! This approach would have worked 20 years ago, but it won’t work in this era, especially this year after COVID-19.
2020 has hit every business hard, most restaurants have gone ahead and integrated their POS & websites with an app that facilitates online ordering. 63% of consumers agree that it is more convenient to get delivery than dining out with a family.
Considering 2020 and the current trends, if you refuse to evolve and adopt new technology, you would lose out on business and customer trust. Even if customers love the food you serve, they would instead order food from a restaurant that allows them to place orders online.
As per Forbes, delivery sales could rise an annual average of more than 20% to $365 billion worldwide by 2030, from $35 billion. Taking all into consideration, as a restaurant owner, don’t you want to capitalize on this trend?
Benefits of online ordering channels:
Choose the right vendor.
Look at your sales figures and compare it with the amount of revenue generated. If the sales are soaring high while revenue doesn’t rise proportionally, it could mean two things - either your expenses are higher than your revenue, or you are paying more commission to vendors than required.
Many vendors or third party apps might bring in more customers, but you end up paying a huge chunk of your earnings as commission. Don’t jump into it. Find a vendor or an app that charges minimal commission or earns its revenue from other sources.
Regardless of which vendor or app you tie-up with, make sure your name is known to customers. In this way, you can have access to customer data and promote new offers/products accordingly.
An online ordering system will only yield benefits if people know about it. Allocate a part of your budget towards marketing and promotion. You have a wide range of options when it comes to advertising. Tools like email promotions, indoor & outdoor signage, word of mouth, event promotion can go a long way in spreading the word.
Motivating your customers to order online by offering discounts, referral bonuses, etc., will enable you to earn more revenue while allowing you to upsell. All the customer data collected will enable you to target them for future promotions.
Relying on your website alone to bring in sales is not a wise decision. Multiple channels can generate a lot more revenue than a single website. Apps like UberEATS, Food Grub, Food Panda, Deliveroo, etc., can help you attract more customers and drive sales.
Using multiple channels is great, but don’t sign up with every one of them. Analyse your target audience, goals, and budget to arrive at a decision. The partnership should be mutually beneficial and ensure long-term sustainability.
Paying hefty commissions won’t be any good for your business. The key here is to find a balance. Long-term benefits include loyalty, repeat customers, and advertising.
Revamp your menu
Whether it’s a website or a third-party app, your menu should be such that it attracts customer’s attention. Along with colourful graphics, an online menu should also highlight the menu with eye-catching images and text, such as today’s special, order XYZ item, get ABC item free, etc. It should be easy to navigate, with precise details and detailed descriptions. Customers will be encouraged to order and try our new offerings.
Your dishes might taste great and have the choicest ingredients, but people have different preferences. Someone might want fewer olives in his pizza, and another person may like more cheese.
It is crucial to understand customer demands and keep them happy. Your online menu should allow customers to modify their orders, choose their side-dishes, toppings and seasoning.
Little gestures like these would convey the message that you care about them, ushering in repeat customers and increasing loyalty. Besides, the ease of customisation, online orders can’t be compared with taking phone orders. Important details may be misunderstood by the person taking the order, plus it can get cumbersome.
Easy to order, delicious food with quick delivery is what every customer wants. Loyal customers wouldn’t mind picking up the order from your establishment, but some might give it a miss if delivery options are not available.
Offer customers the option to add the desired delivery address. Doing so will enhance customer experience and bring in more customers. Ensure that you have the required staff and vehicles to deliver orders on time.
Once customers have placed their order, they need to know when they can expect to pick it up or have it delivered. Provide the estimated time of delivery or pickup once their order is placed. It will give them peace of mind and clarity while creating a good impression about your business.
Online ordering should be convenient and hassle-free. If you manage to fulfil your orders, deliver them correctly and on time, it will boost customer satisfaction & encourage repeat orders.
Make it a point to integrate online orders with your POS. This small step will bring in a host of benefits. First, you will enjoy streamlined operations because order details from various channels will be stored in a single repository. Possibilities of manual errors will be ruled out because you won’t have to enter details into the system, thereby saving time, money & labour.
POS integration with online orders will also enable you to segregate in-house orders & the ones from different online channels. All the analytics obtained can be used to create reports to optimize the menu and increase profitability of your business.
Utilise social media to the fullest
Social media has become a potent tool for businesses in the last decade. Every time you introduce a new product, open up a new branch, make sure you highlight your achievements on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, etc.
Encourage customers to place orders online. Apart from your regular customers, others will notice your posts too and engage with your brand, which means more leads and new customers.
Using a cool social media app, you can create a marketing campaign and promote your products.
Entice customers with exciting deals
The ease of ordering food through an app coupled with discounts/special offers encourages customers to spend more. Loyalty programs are another way to reward customers and turn them into repeat customers.
Use all your marketing and promotional tools wisely to advertise your business and drive sales & conversions. Signage, social media, pamphlets, local events, and banners can boost sales.
60% of restaurants experience increased sales by offering delivery options. 38% customers are willing to drive over 10 miles to a restaurant offering great deals. Discounts and festival deals can bring a windfall, but you need to devise a proper strategy to achieve the best results.
We discussed quite a few ways in which you could increase your restaurant’s revenue with online ordering. There could be many more ways to do it, though. Figure out what is best for your business.
Ensuring customer satisfaction and convenience should be your topmost priority at all times. If you master the art of exceeding customer expectations, the sky's the limit.