With the advent of the coronavirus (COVID-19), many restaurants have decided to roll up their sleeves and adapt their business models to make sure their restaurant survives and thrives during this crisis. As a result, we have seen an exponential growth in the use of online ordering systems for businesses. This comes as no surprise seeing that this technology allows owners to protect their employees and clients all the while boosting their sales and opening a new revenue stream.
We live in a fast-paced environment where adapting to the needs and desires of our consumers is crucial if we want to run a successful business in the long run. This means that restaurants have to prepare for sudden changes. Currently, the majority of restaurant traffic is handled off-site so it’s essential for restaurants to integrate online ordering if they want to keep their business afloat. Plus, this rising trend in online orders is not about to change anytime soon seeing that studies show that by 2025, online orders will represent 30% of restaurant orders.
Steps to get your restaurant online
1. Configuration of your restaurant website
Setting up a website from scratch is expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully there are different options out there. Nowadays, you don’t need programming skills to create a beautiful website. There are different companies such as Squarespace, Wix and WordPress, which allow you to personalize your online platform for as little as 13$ per month.
Make sure to add the following elements on your website:
- Contact information (e-mail, address, phone number, contact form, etc.)
- Embedded Google map (your customers can get real-time directions to your restaurant!)
- Online ordering (more on this below!)
- Your story
- Food Pictures
- Specials and offers
- Logo and relevant branding
- Customer Reviews
- Links to social media accounts
- Newsletter (this is great for email marketing!)
- Make sure your website is mobile-friendly
2. Set up online ordering
Once your website is set up, nothing is easier than configuring your online ordering system. UEAT’s implementation team takes care of creating your online ordering platform, synchronizing it with your restaurant’s operations and making the link directly on your website.
UEAT is compatible with WordPress, Wix, Squarespace or any other website builder tool. No need to download a module or update a plugin, we take care of everything. Plus, restaurant owners that use UEAT’s ordering system get many perks such as a white-label universal app, commission-free online ordering, integrated delivery, advanced marketing tools and much more.
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3. Update your menu
If you want to increase your online sales, your online menu should be the focal point of your website. Customers should be able to find it easily on your website. Your menu should include descriptions, a list of all the items, pictures and prices. With UEAT’s plugin, you will be able to easily add your dishes as well as all the elements mentioned above so that your customers can browse your menu and order their favorite menu items quickly.
Key benefits of online ordering for restaurants
- The demand for online orders is real and increasing day by day
- Online orders generate more money for your business (have you heard of our artificial intelligent module?)
- Online orders are more precise (reduce your margin of error!)
- You can customize your online ordering system
- Commission-free orders – keep more money in your pockets! (unlike with delivery apps!)
- You get valuable insights from your clients
- You can combine both third party delivery apps and online ordering (reach new customers with third party apps and foster loyalty on your own online ordering system!)
Top 7 tips to increase your restaurant online orders
1. Promote your restaurant website
What’s the point in having a website if your customers don’t know about it? There are different ways you can promote your online ordering system. You can leverage different social media platforms (Instagram and Facebook are all the rage nowadays!), create a google my business account and register your restaurant on different directories such as Yellow Pages.
You should also carry out a strategic marketing campaign to promote your website in your restaurant. To do so you can leverage different strategies (email marketing, displays, food samples, media promotions and coupons). You can also hand out flyers, put up ‘’click and collect signs’’, create posters and showcase special offers for online orders in your restaurant. Don’t be scared to get creative!
2. Identify your regular customers
All the businesses in the restaurant industry have regular customers and chances are your staff knows who they are. Your team is in the best position to identify your loyal customers and promote your online ordering platform to them. All you have to do is train your staff so that they communicate the main benefits of your online food ordering app. This is a win-win for everyone because happy customers mean happy staff!
3. Surprise your customers
Word-of-mouth marketing is considerably more effective than traditional marketing techniques and advertising. You want to get your customers talking about your brand to their friends and family. It can be as easy as having a separate collection point or an express lane for online orders so that your customers can skip long lines. This will improve the customer experience and can even motivate your regular clients to start placing orders online!
4. Give your customers a reason to download your ordering app
Customers are obsessed with convenience. In order for your clients to download your restaurant app, you have to incentivize them. For example, you can offer a 10$ discount for clients who register on your app or offer a discount to your customers who recommend your online services and get you new online customers by sending their friends a special link. As mentioned above, you can also get your staff involved by interacting with customers. Questions such as “Do you know you can skip the queue if you order online?” is sure to get you more online customers!
5. Give your customers different options (takeout, delivery, curbside pickup, table ordering, etc.)
Different customers have different needs and clients like to order on their own terms. Some people enjoy the convenience of third party delivery apps because they prefer to get their favorite food delivered at their doorsteps while others like to place their orders online and go pick up their meals at the restaurant to save a little extra money.
From experience, it’s best to give your restaurant customers a lot of options to make sure they find the solution that is most convenient for them and don’t order from one of your competitors. There’s no doubt that third party delivery apps are good to generate leads and gain visibility but they also charge high commission fees that can be as high as 35%.
For this reason, we recommend a strategy that combines delivery apps and your own online ordering system. This way, your loyal customers will order from your website (commission free) and you will be able to capture more potential customers and eventually incentivize them to use your app. With UEAT, your clients have access to a wide range of options from table ordering, curbside pickup, priority ordering, contactless delivery and much more.
6. Quality packaging
Packaging is really important when it comes to online ordering. It has to be efficient so that your staff in the kitchen can get the orders ready quickly but it also has to deliver on quality. Good packaging should be unique, represent the brand and deliver on temperature control.
You should also let your clients know the estimated collection or arrival time of their food. UEAT’s ordering app automatically let’s your clients know when their food will be ready for pickup and it also integrates seamlessly with delivery apps so that they can track their orders. Customers love to know the waiting time and great customer service is a proven way to boost sales!
7. Provide exclusive offers
Who doesn’t love to save a few bucks? Customers love special offers. Providing exclusive offers on your website and restaurant app is a great way to drive customers away from delivery apps and increase the online sales of your own online ordering system.