How to Grow Your Restaurant With Online Ordering

How to Grow Your Restaurant With Online Ordering

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In the digital age, almost anything you could need is available online…

And now, your food is as well. 

Of course, you can’t eat something directly off the internet. But with the expansion and innovation of online ordering, it’s never been easier for customers and restaurants to connect and collaborate. 

Just how much are people ordering their food online? 

According to one study, 60% of U.S. consumers order delivery or takeout once a week.

A Mintel Press Report found that 31% of people say they use these third-party delivery services at least 2 times a week.

So it’s a big (and growing) opportunity to position your restaurant for success. 

By taking advantage of delivery apps or creating your own white label menu, restaurant owners are stepping up their game, and you can do the same.

7 Advantages of Online Ordering for Restaurants

As a restaurant owner, you're constantly managing delivery orders and getting the word out about your restaurant. 

Especially for small restaurants, it can be challenging to compete against these big-name brands. However, online ordering through different delivery platforms allows everyone to reach their bottom line. 

Online ordering is levelling the playing field for restaurant owners by creating innovative solutions for takeout at all restaurants. Let’s look at a few ways this could help your restaurant.

Just to quickly summarize, the 6 benefits of online ordering are:

  1. You Can Be On Multiple Apps and Sites
  2. Expand Your Potential Customer Base
  3. Adapt to Busy Schedules
  4. Streamlined Process
  5. It Increases Brand Awareness
  6. Take Advantage of Inventory Management
  7. You Can Even Take Catering Orders

1. You Can Be On Multiple Apps and Sites

Online ordering has never been easier because now there are so many online ordering systems. So many mobile apps offer customers the chance to connect with your restaurant and have food delivered right to their door for a small transaction fee. 

  • GrubHub
  • Uber Eats
  • Postmates
  • ChowNow
  • DoorDash

These are just a few examples of these types of ordering sites. 

You just have to make the food, and then a driver picks it up and delivers it to your customers.

RELATED READING: Ways to Consolidate Online Ordering Systems

2. Expand Your Potential Customer Base

Online ordering has also opened the door for you to reach more customers. 

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have been stuck at home or haven’t felt comfortable eating out. 

With an online food ordering system, you're able to share your food and the restaurant experience with everyone, even if they can’t come to your venue directly. 

3. Adapt to Busy Schedules

The current social climate encourages busy schedules and running from place to place. That doesn’t allow for much leisure time to sit and dine at a restaurant.

However, people still enjoy excellent meals on their own time.

Online ordering allows for food delivery that fits into your customer’s schedule. This helps the restaurant industry stay afloat when business isn’t booming inside. You can still sell your menu items and make a profit through online orders, even if they are for to-go or takeout.

4. Streamlined Processes

If you don’t have a restaurant ordering system already, it may feel intimidating to create one from scratch. 

This is where those third-party platforms listed above can save you additional costs. Instead of building a costly ordering page on your website, trust these vendors to get your food out there. These partnerships allow restaurants of all sizes to offer more delivery options, even if you can’t afford them on your own.

5. It Increases Brand Awareness

Restaurants are a notoriously risky business plan. You have to spend a lot upfront before you start seeing a steady revenue stream. 

The best way to guarantee the continued success of your restaurant is by expanding and innovating. 

Gain insights into the market, and see how you can take creative approaches to give your restaurant a leg up. 

Online ordering is one of these advancements that you have to keep up with for your restaurant operation. Expanding your online ordering options helps you grow to reach new customers and put a good name on your brand. 

Sure, you can try new marketing campaigns or a new budget to increase monthly sales. Still, valuable insights from the field show that delivery and curbside pickup service are essential for restaurant success. Start with this improvement to get a high volume of orders and grow your brand.

RELATED READING: How to Create a Restaurant Marketing Plan

6. Take Advantage of Inventory Management

Online ordering can be helpful because the analytics and data are all integrated in one spot. 

You can understand what people are ordering trends or set a promotion for a specific date. This can help you plan your inventory and know exactly what products to buy for ultimate customer satisfaction. Getting those metrics helps inform your business decisions at the restaurant and can bring everyone to an even playing field.

online-ordering

7. You Can Even Take Catering Orders

Delivery orders don’t necessarily have to be immediate, either. 

You can set up online ordering for catering and larger events as well. This will help you plan and be prepared for anything. 

Just be sure you’re setting ground rules and not overwhelming your chefs. By allowing big companies or organizations to order catering, you're establishing that relationship and giving them an easy time ordering with you. 

Set yourself up for success with online orders for individuals and companies alike.

7 Tips for Getting More Customers with Online Ordering

These days, customer loyalty is harder to secure than ever. It isn't just about offering the best food or atmosphere in the restaurant industry anymore. Now, your service needs to be as convenient and fast as possible for customers to really notice. 

Online ordering certainly helps with that, but you'll also need to consider how easy it is for customers to set up a reservation (don't require them to make a phone call) or navigate your online menu on a smartphone to order takeout. If you want to maximize profits, here are a few great ways to get your customers through online orders.

The tips we’ll cover are: 

  1. Improve Your Local SEO
  2. Integrate Your CRM and POS
  3. Add More Delivery Options
  4. Clean Up Your Website
  5. Make It Easy for People
  6. Make Payment Painless
  7. Offer Promotions and Incentives

Improve Your Local SEO

online-ordering-seo

Any business owner should know the importance of search engine optimization, and if you're looking to rely on an online food ordering system for your restaurant, you need to make sure you're ranking in search engine results pages. After all it's one of the best ways to attract new customers, and restaurants especially need to focus on local SEO.

When users conduct a Google search on a mobile device for restaurants, they're going to get results based on their local area. You want to show these results, so you can direct them to your mobile ordering system. 

One of the best ways to do this is by leaving as much detailed information as possible on your social media pages (like your restaurant's Facebook page) and on business aggregates like Google My Business and Yelp. You may even want to sell some of your products through Facebook orders.

Of course, not everyone will discover your restaurant through search engines. Plenty of people will want to do their online food ordering on your restaurant website, and your own ordering system needs to be as convenient as possible to get through, and you need a quick pay option for a credit card. 

Your website should tell people the key info about your restaurant:

  • Hours
  • Location
  • Menu
  • Prices
  • Photos of your food
  • Social media links

You also want to make sure your restaurant's website loads quickly and is aesthetically pleasing on mobile devices. Page speed and mobile-friendliness are significant ranking factors for Google.

Integrate Your CRM and POS

Any restaurant with online ordering capability should use a reliable point of sale (POS) system to make customer ordering easier and quickly process credit card payments. 

You can also link your POS with your online ordering system, so you're tracking all sales with real-time analytics. This doesn't just make things more convenient for customers—it also helps you with inventory management and clarifies when you need to call your vendors for more supplies. These analytics can go even further for customer support with POS and customer relationship management (CRM) integrations.

With this POS integration, you'll be able to automatically store and retrieve customer data, which makes it easy to see customer preferences and tell who your most loyal customers are. If certain menu items are highly unpopular, you can remove them from your online food offerings to simplify the menu. 

You can also use this data for promotions, like customer loyalty programs that offer discounts and coupons to your best customers. These can all be advanced features of an overall management system that makes everything easier for restaurant owners, employees, and customers.

RELATED READING: What’s On The Menu: 18 Restaurant Industry Trends You'll See in 2022

Add More Delivery Options

online-delivery

If there's one thing customers love just as much as convenience, it's options. Your online ordering features should, at minimum, include options for carryout, curbside pickup, and delivery. Some restaurants like to use their own food delivery service when it comes to delivery orders, while others decide to partner with services like ChowNow, Grubhub, or DoorDash. These options are fine, but you'll naturally have to pay your drivers in your own delivery system, or delivery partners will be taking a commission. What if there was a way that restaurant owners could combine all their food delivery apps and payments service on a single device? That's exactly what we offer at Cuboh. 

Clean Up Your Website

Due to public recommendations to mitigate transmission of COVID-19, one of the only ways that people can have new experiences right now is through food. Your customer base has a great chance of growing due to an interest in supporting local businesses.

Website design contributes to the overall aesthetic of your business. Many of your guests will have never set foot inside your brick-and-mortar restaurant, so their first impression of your establishment will be your website. If you haven't taken a look at your website's design since the early 2000s, it's worth the extra time.

Nowadays, website design is relatively easy. You don't necessarily need to pay a lot of money to an expert to have a significant and functional web presence. Ask a millennial you know to update your page. Even people with intermediate computer knowledge can build a website that your customers will love.

Consumers are accustomed to using very straightforward websites. If the page where you place an order on your website isn't abundantly clear, they may just pick a different place of business with a similar style of food. One of the first links or tabs on your website should be to the ordering page. Test your website out on a variety of people you trust. They'll let you know if they find it easy to use.

Make It Easy For People

Your restaurant must be on all major apps that people order food from. Grubhub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats are all places people find their meals. If someone uses one of these apps and does a general search for the food style you serve, you want to be top on their list of places to order from. These apps make ordering and checkout very easy for your customers because they're compatible with Google Pay and other popular payment platforms.

Processing online orders can be a headache if you're using multiple tablets for each different service. It can be challenging to stay on top of managing various tablets and even more frustrating when you need to record all of your commissions in your POS. If this disruption in an organization and the concern over giving excellent customer service is one reason you've avoided online takeout or delivery, there's a solution.

Cuboh puts all orders on one tablet, no matter which mobile app it's coming from. Also, everything goes directly into your POS. It's easier to manage at the moment and when you're looking up statistics like taxes and product mix breakdown. Don't shy away from technological advancements, even if your restaurant is "old school." They're here to help you, and your younger staff will understand how to use it.

Make Payment Painless

If you're going to set up online ordering on your website, you must accept all primary forms of payment. Very few people feel like fishing their credit cards out of their wallets to make an online food order. This means that in addition to all usual forms of credit cards, you need to accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Paypal. Your consumers will love that they can check out quickly on your site and never have to leave the couch until their food arrives. They expect it. Supporting all payment types will allow you to be competitive with everyone else in the business and increase your sales.

Utilize Promotions 

As you try and draw more people into your restaurant, online ordering software can provide unique promotions and discounts for those customers who use their mobile devices to order. 

Simple things like a loyalty program, a $5 off coupon after completing a survey, or a free appetizer when you order online for carryout can all draw people in. These marketing strategies will help you reach a new target audience and retain repeat customers. You can also direct people toward online orders through your mobile app or social media. This is a great way to encourage sales while embracing your fun side.

Wrapping Up on Online Ordering

Some restaurants already had an established take out and delivery system, while others are just getting acquainted. If you're new to the online ordering game, the great part about this influx is that you can serve more people than you would just in your dining room alone. However, it's an understandably difficult transition if you're not used to dealing with online orders.

Getting it right is so important if you want to keep your customers. Gone are the days of calling in to order food. Using an online ordering system is faster and more convenient for your customers because they know that their specific needs—including substitutions and dietary restrictions—will be written out for you to follow. There's less room for error in online ordering, making it preferable. Also, it seems that no one generally makes phone calls anymore unless it's vital.

Keeping your customers is the difference between sinking and floating during this financially challenging time. One of the best ways to promote reorders is through an easy online ordering process. Offering delivery through places like Grubhub and Uber Eats will make your customers feel safer than coming inside and waiting in line to pick up their orders. If your customers have a smooth and conscientious experience, you'll be top of their list next time they decide they're tired of cooking themselves.

Having an online ordering system that's simple to use isn't as complicated as it sounds. 

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