Have you decided to integrate a white-label online ordering system to your website to take full advantage of a new revenue stream of takeout, curbside and delivery orders? Awesome! 

Before you shop around for the right technology partner for your online ordering platform, it is important to prepare some groundwork to ensure the success of your new venture. 

Here are our top tips to readying your restaurant for online ordering

1. Determine what type of service you want to offer

Offering online ordering is one thing. However, you also need to identify the best means for your business for customers to get their orders. For example, do you want to offer takeout and/or curbside pick-up? How about delivery? Do you want to invest in staff or a third-party partner to make deliveries to your customers?

One caveat: If you are considering an online marketplace, like UBER EATS or Skip the dishes for your online orders and deliveries, remember that there are some pros and cons. In a nutshell, the advantages are that you have very little work to do as the online marketplaces take care of the order platform and delivery. The downside is your brand is completely diluted, you don’t get access to customer information, and you can pay up to 35% in commissions.

You can read more about the differences between online marketplaces and white-label online ordering platforms here.

2. Adapt your menu for online ordering

Regardless of the means in which customers will get their orders, it is important for restaurateurs to adapt their menus for takeout, curbside pick-up or delivery. You will want to maintain the taste and visual experience of your dishes when they arrive at customers’ home. This is key to preserving your brand and inciting repeat orders.

Some meals are likely to be more conducive to spending 15-20 minutes in a car than others. Always keep in mind how a meal will hold during transit and the condition it will arrive in. Most restaurant owners feature a substantially different menu for online ordering versus in their dining rooms. 

Another important aspect? Invest in proper packaging. In the haste to offering online ordering fast and reduce costs, some restaurateurs skimp on packaging. This can wreak havoc on so many levels, including practicality, a terrible presentation upon arrival, leakage, food safety and an overall taint to your brand image. Here is some food for thought: a recent study from Service Management Group, a global customer, patient, and employee experience management partner, found that 84% of restaurant patrons agreed or strongly agreed that the packaging of food is an important consideration when ordering food to-go or for delivery.

3. Get creative with your online ordering menus

Just because you have to be strategic in your packaging to stoke your customer experience doesn’t mean you have to be humdrum. Did you know that restaurant owners can pique their patrons’ curiosity—and boost sales—with exclusive meals only offered online? 

Customers feel very VIP when they think that they have scored something truly different online. Think of a seasonal or themed table d’hôte. A new twist on a popular classic. A fusion between your standard fare and another type of cuisine.

One increasingly popular online ordering item is a meal in a box. Offered in limited quantities and including an appetizer, dessert, and even a beverage, a meal in a box not only optimizes your food stocks but also accelerates orders as customers have a fear of missing out (FOMO) on something hot from your restaurant.

4. Always be selling

Build it and they will come, right? As was the case when you first opened up your restaurant, you have to put some time in to marketing your new online ordering service. Map out all the customer touch points you have with your patrons and find ways to promote your online order menu(s).

For example, add an “Order online” button in clear view on your website’s pages. Don’t hide it! Set up the “Online Order” shortcut button on your Facebook page. Regularly share pics and promos on your Facebook and Instagram pages. Give special discounts for first-time orders, additional rewards with your loyalty program, or even a free item to encourage patrons to order from your website. 

Emailing your customers can also be a simple way to reach out to customers about your online ordering. Don’t have a list? If you are using a white-label solution, rather than an online marketplace, it should capture your customers’ email addresses for a smooth online ordering experience. With the right email opt-in, you can gain access to something truly invaluable: your customers’ attention.

As you can see, with a little prep, you can put all the odds in your favour to generate significant revenues from your online ordering system.

Need more information on how to choose the right online ordering platform? 
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