Online ordering has become a critical component to every restaurant’s business model. The benefits of online ordering are profound, but managing the process and your orders are critical to your restaurant’s success. Here are 5 ways to better manage online orders at your restaurant:
1. Be a Smarter Marketer
One of the most important first steps towards gaining more business is to differentiate and separate yourself from your competitors.
In the online ordering world of restaurants, it can be difficult to stand out against potentially 40+ other restaurants in hopes that a customer will choose you. Use an online ordering tool that helps you target quality customers through social communication channels such as Facebook and Twitter. You want your restaurant to have a constant and consistent voice to your customers. Facebook pages that post once or twice a day get 32% more likes and 73% more comments than those who post three or more times a day.
Using an online marketing platform allows you to target customers faster and more efficiently at a cheaper price. If you currently offer online ordering, what are you doing to promote it? Do you have your own website? Your own brand? Are you encouraging customers to “Go to myrestaurantname.com and order online” where they will be able to quickly order food? Or are you guiding them away from your website to an online portal?
Many customers research the restaurants they are going to order from prior to placing their order online. Having a direct link to order online from your own website, with your own brand, removes the possibility a customer will change their mind and order from somewhere else. When placing an online order, a patron is more likely to trust a restaurant’s website, than a third-party site.
2. Be Proactive
Menus change all of the time.
You might have a daily/weekly special depending on what’s available at your restaurant. There could be an instance where you wake up one morning and decide that you’d like to run a $3.99 all-day deal to encourage customers to order because the day before was slower than you anticipated.
According to QSR, 8 out of 10 consumers will visit a restaurant in off peak times if they receive a discount. Having a system that allows you to spread your wings and have more freedom to your menu lets you get more personal with your customers. You shouldn’t have to limit yourself as to what you can post on your online menu because of inaccessibility. Test the waters with what might be successful to entice customers to order.
Additionally, having access 24/7 to information that is already yours (such as your menu) allows you to get creative with your business – as long as you put in the effort. Is your city/town an active football town? Quickly create a deal that will encourage customers to order for the Super Bowl. Is it snowing outside, and you want to offer a “Snowed In” deal for customers available immediately?
The creation of these offers is controlled by you. Having direct access to tools to assist you complete these efforts helps your restaurant build relationships with local customers – all by just staying a little proactive.
3. Increase Customer Retention and Loyalty
You can better target menu items and deals towards specific customers based on their buying history.
Knowing the buying habits of your customers can help any restaurant grow and retain customers. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. By making online and mobile ordering available at your restaurant, you are able to access information that normally would be difficult to obtain. Customer name, items ordered, amount ordered, frequency of orders, etc. are all possible to collect. Using an ordering system that tracks and shares this information is critical to properly manage online orders at your restaurant. It makes it easier to view purchasing patterns and act accordingly.
Being able to quickly identify what menu items are ordered most can help you focus on items to keep on your menu and promote to customers. Vice versa, if there’s a menu item that isn’t successful, replace it with something more enticing. Smarter marketing will help you increase overall ticket averages and the likelihood of a customer ordering again – which will lead to better customer retention, loyalty, and long-term growth.
4. Control Your Future
Using a system you’re able to control is ideal to properly manage online orders, your menu, and customer information. No more calling in to a customer support staff to change hours or a delivery zone. Instead of having to increase prices to meet costs of using a third-party service, you can cut those costs by taking on some of the work yourself and adopting an easy-to-use system. Having access to your own management console will give you the flexibility you need to better manage your business.
5. Stay Ahead Of The Game
According to the National Restaurant Association, almost half of limited-service and full-service restaurants are lagging when it comes to technological innovation and adoption. About 54% of these restaurants are independently owned. More and more business owners are beginning to take the leap by investing and becoming more knowledgeable in tools that are 1) affordable to their business, 2) help them save time, and 3) contribute significantly to their restaurant’s revenue and profits.