Online food delivery has become a big revenue stream for many restaurateurs.
As well as being great for serving your loyal customers, by having an online presence you can also expand your food offering to guests who will never set foot in your restaurant. With some clever marketing and getting the right restaurant EPOS software in place, you can expand your reach to way outside your normal catchment area.
Advantages of online ordering
1. It’s convenient
Rather than calling the restaurant it’s far more convenient to be able to order and pay securely with just a few clicks online. Your customers can order at a time that’s suitable for them and have the food waiting for them when they get home.
2. It’s fast and familiar
– young people are the driving force in the restaurant market. In fact, they are the most valuable sector for UK restaurateurs. They are also a mobile-first generation so ordering online is second nature to them.
3. Consumers eat with their eyes
By presenting your food online you stimulate the senses far more than any menu pushed through the door can. An alluring well-presented online presence will encourage them to order more items.
4. It eliminates any misunderstandings
It’s easy for mistakes to be made when taking a phone order – either the restaurant is too noisy or the line is bad or the server has terrible handwriting. Online ordering ensures orders are always accurate and minimises any frustrations.
5. You are open 24/7
Online ordering means you can receive orders all day long – you are making money while you sleep!
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Optimise your menu
You need to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Ensure that all your menu items are photographed professionally so they will have that all-important wow factor (and look great on social media). We recommend you enlist a copywriter to make your menu descriptions compelling.
As well as optimising your menu for customers, make it stand out on third-party apps like Deliveroo by researching the keywords that will push your restaurant to the top of the apps listing. You want your restaurant to be top of diners’ minds when they are hungry and about to make a purchasing decision – they are very unlikely to scroll to page 2.
Offer a mobile app
Of course, one of the best ways of keeping your restaurant top of mind is to offer a branded mobile ordering app. As well as offering them the convenience of online ordering their takeaway food it offers an added advantage as they can also use it at tableside to order and pay – increasing table turns. Full integration with your restaurant EPOS software means the orders go straight through to the kitchen with no need to rekey any data.
Offering a mobile app enables you to increase customers’ average order spend as you can tightly integrate it with your loyalty system and you can then easily send targeted promotions to your customers. This will also help keep them engaged with your brand especially if you offer incentives for them to continue to use the app such as loyalty points they can redeem in the future.
Utilise the power of data
By offering online ordering you can build up a wealth of data over time about your customers – data that can be used to market to them at a highly personalised level.
For example, you can see when a customer likes to order their food, what they like to order and the frequency of orders. Using such data you can create personalised offers – say they like to order on a Friday night, you can easily drive an offer to their mobile device on a Friday morning reminding them to order tonight. You can also incentivise the deal by offering their favourite sides for free or offer them a discount on a combo deal to increase their average spend.
By the same token, you can also see who hasn’t ordered from you in a while. This is such a valuable database to capitalise on. Take this data and create some special offers to incentivise them to come back again.
Another strategy is to extend an existing offer – for example, if you offer a points-based loyalty offering and they haven’t redeemed their points then send out an email telling them the good news that they can still use their points if they hurry. This is a great way to reactivate a dormant customer while also creating some urgency on their part and all at little or no cost to you.
Promote online ordering through social media
Social media is the ideal channel to reach your young customers in particular. Use Instagram and other channels to promote your online ordering and special offers. Social media gives you a great platform for upselling items as well as presenting your menu items and restaurant interiors in the best light.
As well as being a great source of free advertising, it can also be another way for customers to order online from you. Apps like Deliverect enable you to add an online ordering button to your Instagram page for added convenience.
Social media marketing is a huge subject – check out our blog for more tips on how to hack Instagram.
Choose the right platform
If you’ve created a huge social media following, artfully photographed your menu and written a rock-solid marketing and retention plan, it’s no good if you don’t have a seamless and efficient solution to process the orders, take payment and generate repeat orders.
Look for a system that offers features that tick all these boxes:
– a system that offers your customers the option of using a mobile app or ordering through a website
Integration with loyalty programmes
– keep them coming back for more
A simple yet secure payment solution
– give your customers peace of mind when ordering
An end-to-end solution
– integration with the restaurant and kitchen automation for fast turnaround of orders
Integration with third-party apps
– no need to rekey orders ever again! They go straight to the restaurant EPOS software
One click operation
– import your menu items into the online ordering apps in seconds
With such a solution in place you can create a compelling and fresh takeaway option for your diners which gives you all the tools you need to target repeat orders.
Check out Aloha Now for more information on how to create the right end-to-end solution for your needs.
Online ordering is here to stay and is only going to get bigger. It’s a great way for you increase revenue, particularly amongst young diners.
With a strategic plan in place supported by robust and integrated solution you can increase average spend and customer retention while delivering a great guest experience.