Making sure your restaurant attracts as many online customers as possible depends, in part, on understanding the “need states” of customers – the needs and key decision-making points of each customer segment.  This is the first of three articles looking at the various types of online customers and their specific needs.  Part 1 looks at Special Occasion Customers.  Part 2 will discuss Routine Customers, and Part 3 will address Impulse Customers.

Special Occasion Customers.  These patrons want to celebrate a special event – i.e. a birthday or job promotion – with a special takeout meal they can enjoy at home or at some other special location.

• Reliable, dependable service.  Customers know they can depend on you to come through when it really counts.  Their online order is ready when they come in, and the food is always great.

• Attractive, leak-proof containers.  No one wants to mar the occasion by having to clean up a mess.  Also, make sure those containers allow for the best presentation of the meal.  Customers don’t want to open a container and be confronted with “takeout mush.”

• Special Offers.  You might be able to make an extra sale if you offer something special – like a pair of candles to complement their nice meal.  This customer can be easily upsold items because they are ordering for a “special” dinner.  The best way to capture that extra revenue is to cross-sell, like suggesting side orders with entrees.

• What type of special occasion?  You can ask the customer as part of the checkout process: Is this a special occasion? If so, what type?  Based on their answer, you may be able to provide them something special to recognize their celebration.

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