Online food delivery has been a gamechanger in the restaurant industry. With the entry of giants such as Zomato and Swiggy, online ordering has had phenomenal growth. Gone are the days of ringing up your favourite pizza place or Chinese restaurant to place an order. Today, food delivery is all about real-time order tracking, stellar reviews, and a seamless customer experience. The coronavirus pandemic has further highlighted the role played by food delivery. Naturally, online ordering is a profitable business model today and has given the industry a whole new makeover.
In this article, we’re going to help you get started with online ordering for your restaurant. Let’s dive in.
Set up an Online Ordering Platform
The first step is to create an online ordering platform for your restaurant. This could be an online ordering app that your customers can easily find on the App Store, or an online ordering website. Think of this platform as a blank canvas you can use to paint a picture of your brand. Use your brand logo and theme to spruce it up. Once you’ve handled the aesthetics and created a blueprint of the website or app, move on to designing the online ordering process. Your goal is to allow customers to place orders with the least number of clicks possible. Add dropdowns to menu items for easy modifications. While it may take some time to set up online ordering, it is a much more feasible option in the long run than partnering with third-party food delivery apps and paying huge commissions.
Create a Menu Solely for Food Delivery
Food delivery is a godsend when it comes to convenience. But the truth is that not all types of dishes are cut out for delivery. Depending on the type of texture, it can be increasingly difficult to pack certain foods and have them reach customers intact. So, instead of offering your whole menu for food delivery to customers, you need to make a few edits. Select the dishes that are easy to pack and deliver. Try to keep menu items that have a lot of ingredients in common instead of the one odd item that needs ingredients that the rest of your dishes don’t. It’s important to highlight your high-margin menu items by placing them in the center of your online menu as well. By engineering your menu to a more optimised version of itself, you can set your restaurant up for higher profits.
Start a Table Reservation System
With government restrictions on the number of people that can dine in a restaurant at a given time, you can make your customers’ lives a lot easier by offering an easy table reservation system so they don’t end up wasting their precious time. Make sure that you convey to customers that their bookings are confirmed. You could also offer a snippet of your best selling menu items or daily specials once they’ve made reservations.
Make use of Images and Videos
Whether you’re running your restaurant online or offline, your customers want scrumptious food. Make sure that you enhance your menu by adding lots of mouth-watering images and videos of your dishes. Give your customers an idea of what they’re ordering. These images and videos don’t have to be limited to just your online ordering platform, you can also use them to attract customers on various social media platforms as well.
Easy Customer Checkout
Online payments simplify everyone’s lives. While setting up online ordering for your restaurant, go out of your way to offer various online modes of payment to your customers. This includes everything from net banking to mobile wallets. You could also offer “split the bill” options to customers for a more convenient checkout experience.
Your restaurant website needs to be optimised so that it is easy to navigate on phones and tablets as well. Make sure that the interface is easy to use and can be done on different types of devices. It needs to take into account different screen sizes as well as load times. Something as minor as a smaller or bigger button size can make the user experience difficult and lead customers to abandon ordering altogether.
Your app and website can serve as options to increase your digital following. Use them to link your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. You could also embed your social media profiles on the app or website to highlight your most recent posts or stories.
In the last few years, email marketing has proven to increase ROI by leaps and bounds. Today, it is a very useful tool in customer engagement. Make sure you ask your customers whether they’d like to sign up for your restaurant newsletter and offers when they visit your website. Once they do so, use email marketing to your advantage by offering them deals, discount coupons, or inviting them to various events taking place at your restaurant. If you’re introducing seasonal menu items, use this mode of communication to inform your customers of the same.
To retain customers, you need to offer them the best customer service possible. Use chatbots and a customer support team to handle any complaints or doubts that your customers might have. Make sure your chatbots are equipped to answer the most common questions related to loyalty points, events, closing time, and so on. Your customer support team also needs to be trained to handle customer complaints quickly and effectively.
The future of the restaurant industry lies completely in online ordering. No matter the scale of your business, you need to have a powerful digital presence today. As millennials and Gen Z become the prime demographic for business marketing everywhere, you need to ensure that you offer them an online ordering experience that is quick and efficient.