Restaurant online ordering systems are hardly new in the world of hospitality; and although it was a growing trend in recent years, the pandemic accelerated the adoption of online ordering with consumers and restaurants alike. These days it’s hard to imagine a restaurant not having an option to order online. With this shift in guest preference and behavior comes a need to ensure your restaurant is delivering a great dining experience even when guests decide to dine with you at home. That means a mobile-friendly website, a menu that’s enticing, easy-to-find and read, and an online ordering experience that isn’t clunky.
Creating a seamless online experience for guests is the key to maximizing your online revenue stream. Here are a few best practices to help you get started when creating an online experience that keeps guest coming back and drives your orders (and revenue!) up.
Keep online ordering direct!
The benefit of third-party ordering and delivery platforms is their network. In other words, they can help you reach a lot of hungry guests—but you don’t want third-party platforms to be your only source for online ordering. Third-party platforms can help introduce you to new guests, but encouraging your loyal, returning guests to spend their dining dollars directly through your website has significant benefits. It can reduce revenue lost to third-party commissions, keep your website and menu consistently branded, and allows you to capture guest information so you can drive them back with marketing. Oh, and the guest pays less for their order, too!
Put your menu to work
You put a lot of care into your menu. You’ve selected ingredients, tested the perfect combinations, and spent hours, days (maybe even years!) creating it. You thought about font, layout, and added photos to show off your food and entice diners—so, why are you handing it over to an ordering platform or third-party delivery site where it’s presented like every other restaurant’s menu? Instead, use your menu to draw visitors in! Create an online menu that’s hard to miss, so when guests are looking for the “best burger in Seattle” or “happy hours in Atlanta” they immediately want to order from you.
Create ease and variety for your diners
Diners’ habits are changing. They want food now. All kinds of food, from all over their cities and towns, delivered or ready to pick up. In fact, 63 percent of consumers report that they order food online at least twice a week. The most successful restaurants are adapting to these guest preferences and delivering (no pun intended) what diners are looking for. Be sure you have your website set up to adapt to how guests are ordering (i.e., mobile, desktop, tablet), your necessary links working, your menu updated, and your staff trained on receiving orders. Making the ordering process from your website as easy as possible, and even offering curbside and delivery options, will keep guests coming back.
Don’t be afraid to ask for an email
Ever been offered 15% off to leave your email address on a website? Third-party apps will send emails, texts and offers to bring people back for another order. Don’t be shy to do the same! It can sometimes feel a little forward to trade an offer for information, but offering rewards and incentives to capture new guest information or entice them to leave a review, lets you better serve them in the future—after all, how can you build a relationship with them if you don’t know how to get in touch with them?
With the right technology, these exchange offers can be automated, and many will result in an increase in engagement and traffic. That’s the beauty of being online—it can open doors and create avenues to invite and connect with new and returning customers!
Get creative with offerings!
The online world allows for more adaptability. That means you can make changes to your offerings on-the-fly or try out special menus and crafted experiences for customers. Whether it’s a secret menu only for restaurant followers or specialty items only available for online orders, these items or events outside your normal offerings create novelty for guests and are likely to drive them to order.
It’s safe to say that online ordering isn’t going anywhere, but there is a wide range of benefits and opportunities in bringing your brand online. If you dig in, stay open and get creative, you could discover a significant revenue channel that also lets you learn more about your guests.
Learn more about Popmenu’s included direct restaurant online ordering system—schedule a 20-minute demo and get your online orders up!