How To Increase Online Food Orders For Your Restaurant

By now you may have an inkling that the biggest weapon you have in your restaurant’s arsenal, apart from great food, is your website.

Your site is essential in the first tentative steps your potential customers will make in their journey to actually dining at your establishment.

And that’s where things get interesting.

You have the ability as a restaurant owner, to grab them right from the get-go, by one thing – your menu. From there it can be make or break, depending on the options you offer.

The modern day restaurant owner is now exposed to more and more expectation, not only for excellent value for money meal options, but in the ways in which food gets to those hungry stomachs.

Online ordering is now a highly sought after by diners, and becoming more of a standard requirement for most customers than ever before.

It’s all about having options. Sometimes customers want to walk through your doors and have a couple of hours to relax, but sometimes they don’t, or cannot.

Having an online ordering option is a major priority when looking to increase sales.

So what can you do for your market to ensure the online orders are flowing?

Pick-Up Vs Home Delivery

This can be a tricky one. Online ordering has such a convenience attached to it, but offering delivery as well as pick-up can certainly entice more orders.

Its acts as a further incentive for people to patron your establishment rather than your competition, who may not offer such accessibility.

And free delivery? A further bonus.

To App or Not To App

Is having a technology driven App for smart phone and tablet users really important for small to medium sized establishments? It depends really on what you’re trying to do.

If you solely aim to have more of a majority, say 90%, online ordering, or if you are a large restaurant chain then yes, it is probably worth seriously undertaking an expert to create an App.

For most however, this is a ‘nice-to have’ but not an essential due to the initial dollar outlay and continuous upkeep. After all, you’re in the restaurant trade, not Information Technology.

Just saying. But if this is really the path you want to follow, then go for it.

For those who can do without it, the main way to stay best friends with technology and all its users, is to maintain your site and ensure it is smartphone and tablet friendly.

If it is not, someone else stroking a white cat and twirling their moustache is more than willing and waiting in the wings to get your business. It’s that simple.

Shout It Out Loud

For restaurants that are just beginning to dip their toe into the online ordering world, it can be quite daunting.

The main thing to keep in mind, in the beginning, and through your marketing plan is to have a great initial launch and then keep talking about what you offer.

Make a big deal of it, because it is a big deal.

Making the buying public aware of your online ordering capabilities is where your involvement with social media can come into its own. The word can be spread pretty quickly these days.

You don’t want to miss out on all that potential activity.

Don’t forget, in all the rush to have your in-house people prepared as much as they can be, especially if you are introducing online ordering for the first time.

You don’t want to scare your staff with a sudden onslaught.

Updating and Maintenance

This is so important, and it makes perfect sense.

If you are to increase sales, the product you are offering and the vehicle by which it is offered, needs to be current, clear and continuously updated. This is especially true when it comes to the food service industry.

Can you imagine a diner’s disgust after taking the time and effort to order, only to receive a phone call advising ‘sorry, that item is no longer offered’.

I can hear the doors slamming now.

Payment Options

Again, options are really important. If you only accept cash for orders you may be excluding a number of not only hungry customers, but those who don’t carry cash on a regular basis.

There are plenty of us who live in a plastic world. Options create opportunity which in turn could equate to increased revenue.

The food service industry can be vulnerable to peaks and troughs, in terms of revenue generation, and the ability that successful and organized online ordering has to generate more revenue in leaner times can only be viewed in the positive.

Seasonal and weather variances can lead to all kinds of interruption to bookings for the restaurant owner.

Online ordering has the capacity to keep a steady stream of customers due to its ability to conquer these highs and lows of the industry.

Now let’s turn the tables for one second. Looking at the opposing corner, a restaurant’s ability to offer online orders can affect your own people as well.

It can remove much of the stresses caused from those ‘blow-in’ unexpected diners that place a great deal of strain on your front end and kitchen staff.

Partnering With Other Sites

Diversity is king within the food industry, we have come to accept that the more visibility we have as a restaurant, the more opportunity we have to help those bookings come flooding in.

Partnering with different sites that will help this along is now a part of every marketing plan aimed at revenue growth. It makes sense when you think about it.

It’s kind of like having hundreds of sales people out there selling your food. Of course your website is an essential vehicle but there’s nothing wrong with attaching yourself to another entity. Hey, we’ve all seen Alien.

Seriously though, business partnering can be perfect for you if you chose the right ones.

So whether you stick to social media outlets, or team up with the local sporting or community groups for their monthly outings, the more voice you have, the bigger your visibility and your brand will become.

Orders online can come from anywhere. You just need to be ready.

Ease of use is essential for your potential and continued patronage. The more you can facilitate convenience and ease, the more your competition will fade from your immediate view.

Sure, it takes some thought and planning but as a restaurant owner you would be used to that.

It’s all worth it in the long run.

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