In an era of instant gratification, consumers expect to order anything they want online and have it delivered quickly and affordably. The restaurant industry is no different. According to the National Restaurant Association 2019 State of the Industry report, nearly half of adults are more likely to have food delivered than just two years ago. This is evidenced by the increased delivery sales across the country. A growing number of restaurants are turning to online ordering to reach more customers.
The appetite for restaurants to offer online ordering is well established, but how do you implement a plan to drive traffic to your online ordering platform while big, third-party options like GrubHub and Uber Eats are taking sales from smaller, mom and pop restaurants? To avoid this problem, below are some tips on how restaurants can launch and master online ordering through their own platforms.
Eliminate commission fees with your online ordering platform
This should come as no surprise. Restaurants that sign up with delivery companies such as GrubHub, Uber Eats and Postmates are paying as much as 35 percent in commission for every food order they receive. Establishing an in-house ordering system on your website ensures that you keep more money for food orders since you’re no longer giving a chunk of your profit to the middleman. Offering an online ordering platform on your website also ensures that you keep your most loyal customers. Restaurants then have the ability to be in charge of when to run promotions. Platforms such as MenuDrive provide branded online ordering, helping restaurants drive sales.
Develop a mobile application
It’s common for businesses to underestimate the effort required to introduce a mobile ordering service for their customers. Establishing a mobile pre-order/pre-pay service is an easy way for customers to place orders and encourages repeat sales. When creating the app be sure to prioritize these four key elements: the customer experience, any operational changes, such as dramatic increases in same-store sales and profits especially if sales are continuing to increase and never underestimate the value of analytics to improve your relationship with customers. The rewards in terms of business transformation and customer loyalty will make the effort worthwhile.
Install the platform with in-store marketing and promotions
In order to reap all the benefits of your online ordering system, you need to market it. Spread the message with in-store signage, email promotions, digital marketing, and word-of-mouth tactics. Provide an incentive for customers who regularly use your online ordering platform by experimenting with various limited-time offers on your website. These are all resourceful examples to remind customers to try out your service the next time they think about online ordering.
Utilize multiple digital channels to order online
Your online presence doesn’t just consist of your website. Your customers can come across your restaurant through platforms like Google and Yelp. If you don’t have online ordering on these channels, you risk missing out on potential orders. This isn’t to say that your restaurant should sign up for anything that’s not financially and operationally sustainable. Search for commission-free online ordering channels that ultimately increase restaurant sales such as Foodie Order, ChowNow or Menufy.
Merge online ordering with your point-of-sale system
Developing your online ordering system means orders are collected and sent to the kitchen for preparation, in hopes of having little to no errors. Manually entering orders by handwriting tickets to be filled, creates the potential for customer service problems. To ensure customers have total control over their orders, utilize a restaurant point-of-sale (POS) software. By creating a system that handles both POS and online ordering, the plethora of mistakes made when entering orders will be replaced by efficient transactions and an increase in revenue from happy customers.
If you want to increase revenue and make your online ordering a top-earning resource for your business, utilize these tips and provide a foundation for launching your restaurant’s online ordering while increasing sales in the process.
About Saleem S. Khatri:
Saleem S. Khatri is the CEO of Lavu, a restaurant management platform that offers point of sale software and payment processing solutions. Prior to Lavu, Saleem successfully launched software products at start-ups via Y Combinator and managed a $79 billion investment portfolio on behalf of the United States Department of the Treasury. Saleem earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Lavu is the world’s leading mobile point-of-sale and payment processing system for restaurants and bars. Used in food service establishments in more than 90 countries, Lavu is a full-featured iPad-based POS system. Lavu was the first iPad point of sale in the Apple App Store and continues to offer the latest features and functionalities. Offering flexible payment-processing solutions, an intuitive interface, and a proprietary business management suite, Lavu’s restaurant management platform is ideal for all food and drink establishments.