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.
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In more than 60% of the country, restaurants are beginning to reopen for both takeout and dine-in service. In spite of everyone's desire to get back to normal, there is serious trepidation among restaurant owners--and with good reason. Many states have restricted restaurants to a 25% capacity limitation.
Yet, even working with a skeleton wait staff, dining restrictions are going to take a massive bite out of profits. For this reason, many restaurants are anxious to beef up their online ordering platform and to make their takeout service as efficient as possible in order to reduce profit loss and help support the return to normalcy in time.
To stage an efficient reopening after the coronavirus lockdown, it's helpful to create a detailed plan that establishes top priorities. Assessing the menu and taking control of the inventory is a must, but there are other priorities to attend to as well. For example, how will your restaurant maintain social distancing for carry-out service? When will it be able to reopen for dine-in service and how can safety be ensured?
Restaurants have to focus on their state and the industry's regulations and recommendations for best practices when reopening to customers in a post-pandemic world. Other priorities for restaurant owners and managers should include training staff on new safety protocols, purchasing safety equipment such as masks, and marketing to customers so they are aware of the restaurant's reopening.
To create a more efficient takeout service, many restaurants are temporarily limiting their menu offerings. Many restaurateurs can't afford to risk investing in ingredients and supplies that may or may not sell, so they're streamlining their menus to their most popular items. Restaurant owners also have to consider their supply chain. Many food items have increased in price. For this reason, they might want to narrow down their offerings for food they can still purchase affordably.
Fortunately, online ordering is increasing in popularity, so reopening during the lockdown for takeout service can help a restaurant start to build up its income, but maintaining a careful inventory is vital to achieving some level of profit. Once you evaluate your menu and make changes, be sure to post them online so that patrons can easily peruse the updated offerings before placing orders.
To streamline the takeout service and make it as efficient as possible, it's important to discuss strategies with front-line staff. Many restaurant owners and managers are busy attending to other aspects of their operation and may not have a complete picture of the restaurant's takeout and delivery service. Work with your frontline team to develop new procedures for coping with the busiest hours of the day or evening. How can you waste less time or manage more effectively? Do you need more staff for certain shifts or more staff to prepare food? To avoid long wait-times for your customers, carefully streamline your restaurant's busiest hours to ensure timely service and delivery.
As you look to increase efficiency in your restaurant and reorganize your dining space, be sure you set aside plenty of space for your staff so you can organize effectively. Having an organized kitchen and service stations can save your employees' time. Consider establishing one area of your space for online orders only. Set aside another area for dine-in service. A well-organized space leads to less chaos and fewer mistakes.
Also, when you have fewer tables and focus more on your online orders, you'll necessarily need to make changes to your space. One great feature of Cuboh is that there are fewer tablets needed for online order management. With Cuboh, you only need one tablet at your online station to manage all your various delivery services and drivers. It cuts down on errors and makes for more efficient carryout service.
If this COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it's that we need to remain vigilant and flexible. Regulations and recommendations can change with a day's notice. Restaurant managers should also be ready to change if they see that one of their strategies isn't working. Or, they may find that their plan for efficiency is working brilliantly and, in that case, they may want to enhance their plan for organization even more.
Be sure to monitor how your plan and organizational changes are working so you can revise if you need to. Get feedback from your employees and customers to find out how they feel about your changes and the service you're offering.
If you're in the process of developing a reopening plan for your restaurant, be sure that your online ordering platform is streamlined and efficient. Cuboh can help you by allowing you to easily manage all your delivery services from one convenient module. Contact us to learn more about our product and to get started. We can schedule a meeting and provide you with all the information you need to start managing your online orders efficiently right away.
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.