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The statistics about online ordering and its effect on customer loyalty, as reported by PMQ Pizza Magazine, are astounding:

“In addition to a 15% to 20% increase in ticket averages, there’s an average customer return rate of 95%, helping to organically boost customer loyalty with minimal effort on your part.”

But the real success of these numbers is contingent on getting first-time online customers to return. New customers can represent a significant amount of future cash-flow for a restaurant. Botching a first-time order can be fatal to a customer relationship and cost a restaurant a lot of income. In addition, it can also destroy other potential relationships. A typical dissatisfied customer will tell 8-10 people about their experience, who on average will each tell five more people. That means up to fifty people could be affected by a single bad customer experience. If the experience is chronicled on Facebook, Twitter, or a review site, those numbers could get really out of hand.

Conversely, a positive experience can seed the market with numerous new perspectives and interest that can stimulate growth for your restaurant

A Harvard study of the restaurant industry revealed that if you can increase the number of repeat customers by 5%, you can increase your profits 25% to 125%. Clearly, one of your priorities should be transforming first-time online customers into regular customers. Because online customers place larger average orders, increasing repeat customers by 5% should net you towards the upper-end of that 25%-125% spectrum of additional profit.

Here are some tips for making a good impression on first-time online customers:

  • All NetWaiter orders indicate how many online orders the customer has placed in the past. Train your staff to look for first-timers.
  • Make sure their order is PERFECT. You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Greet them with a smile and confirm everything in their order is correct before they leave. If it’s a delivery order, double check their bag before the delivery driver leaves.
  • Try including a special coupon code that discounts their second order (getting them to place a second order is critical to getting them hooked).

Author Jared

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