1. Focus on Being 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 make yourself 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. Utilizing online marketing 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 myrestaurantrox.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 use a restaurant’s website than a third-party site.
2. Improve Internal Operations
Keep the online ordering process simple. Having a system that gives you access to your online menu at your convenience and can help you better manage your online business. Around 95% of restaurateurs agree that restaurant technology improves their business efficiency. Over the past few years, restaurant owners have been handing over their menus, customer information, customer service, customer relationships, and more to outside parties. By having control of your online menu at any time, you are more likely to have consistent and accurate information available to customers. Restaurant owners need a system that aims to support the processes you’ve already created and make it easy to apply tasks you currently are doing in-house online. Take the time to train yourself or someone else who completely owns the online ordering process to ensure it runs like a well-oiled machine for your team. By using a tool in-house, you won’t have to worry about incorrect fees, extra delivery charges, tips, and other complications that might arise, as you can change these items as needed, on the fly. Finally, no restaurant should compromise their brand. Use a system that allows you to promote and customize your online ordering page to match the style and voice you’ve worked so hard to create. Assign any marketing tasks to yourself or someone else on your team to manage and have fun promoting your restaurant.
3. 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. Testing the waters as to what might be successful to entice customers to order opens the door to growth for your business. 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.
4. 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 begin retaining customers. A 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. By making your restaurant available with online and mobile ordering and to customers who want to purchase food via the web, you now have access to information that normally would be difficult to obtain and manage: name, items ordered, amount ordered, frequency of orders, etc. Using an all-in-one ordering system makes it easier to view these purchasing patterns. Also, being able to quickly identify what menu items are being ordered the most (and how often) can help an owner better focus on what items to keep on their menu and ultimately, promote to their customers. Vice versa, if there is a menu item that isn’t as successful, you can remove it from your menu and 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.
5. Control Your Future
Using your own system, you are able to control your restaurant’s needs yourself. 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 tool. Having access to your own management console will give you the flexibility you need to better manage your business. 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.
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