Boost Your Restaurant’s Online Orders: 5 Key Strategies
The online food delivery industry has boomed over the last decade, growing at a rapid clip year-over-year. According to recent statistics, the volume of food delivery orders placed online has increased by 130% since 2014. Consumer spending on food delivery apps like Grubhub and Doordash has also ballooned, reaching over $26 billion in 2019 alone.
For restaurants, it’s clear that a strong digital presence and online ordering capability are no longer just nice to have – they’re absolute must-haves for reaching customers and remaining competitive. An effective online ordering system can allow you to:
- Reach a wider base of customers beyond just those who dine-in
- Grow revenue by accepting orders from third-party delivery apps
- Provide added convenience to drive customer loyalty and repeat business
However, simply offering online ordering isn’t enough. Restaurants need to be proactive about promoting their digital offerings, making the ordering process seamless, and continuously optimizing their strategy.
This blog provides restaurant owners and operators with a comprehensive guide to boosting online orders. We’ll cover the five most impactful strategies you can implement, ranging from getting the basics in place to marketing your online services and analyzing key metrics. Let’s dive in!
Strategy #1: Optimize Your Online Presence
The first step is making sure your restaurant’s online presence fully supports online ordering. This includes your website as well as key directories and listings that customers rely on.
Your website is your #1 asset for controlling your brand’s narrative and messaging to customers. Is your site up to date, mobile friendly, and easy for customers to navigate? Ensure it checks the following key boxes:
- Your menu and pricing information is easily accessible. Customers should be able to find what they need to make an ordering decision.
- Online ordering capability is built-in or enabled through a third-party partner. Make it seamless for customers to order takeout or delivery directly through your site.
- Contact information and hours are clearly stated. Customers will look for this info to gauge if/when they can place orders.
- Site is optimized for mobile. More than half of takeout orders are placed on mobile devices, so a mobile-responsive site is a must.
In addition to your owned web presence, make sure to claim and optimize your listings on major directories like Google My Business, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and delivery app directories. This helps customers find and learn about your offerings as they search on Google or browse on review sites.
Keep listings updated with your address, hours, photos, menus, and ordering information. Be responsive by monitoring and replying to customer reviews and feedback.
Strategy #2: Offer Seamless Online Ordering
Once the basics of your online presence are covered, it’s time to provide customers with an easy, seamless ordering experience. This typically involves partnering with online ordering marketplaces and delivery services.
Third-party delivery apps like Uber Eats, DoorDash, and GrubHub are table stakes these days for any restaurant doing delivery. Make sure to list your restaurant across these major channels, as together they provide access to millions of hungry users.
The terms and commission rates vary across providers, so do your homework to determine which make the most sense for your business. Also take advantage of any marketing opportunities on these platforms, like promoted listings and customer promotions.
Enabling ordering directly through your website is also recommended to own more of the customer experience. Look for online ordering system providers that seamlessly integrate with your site and manage the ordering process from end to end.
Most importantly, constantly monitor the user experience and identify opportunities to reduce friction in the ordering process. Look out for and fix buggy integrations, confusing menus, and lack of confirmation throughout the order lifecycle. The easier you make it, the more customers will order.
Strategy #3: Promote Your Online Offerings
Now that online ordering is enabled for your restaurant, it’s time to spread the word! Marketing and promotions are key for generating awareness and trial of your new digital options.
Start by running targeted ads on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Google. Tailor your message and visuals specifically to takeout and delivery customers. Geo-target ads toward local residents and optimize campaigns to convert clicks into orders.
On social media, showcase your online ordering availability both organically and through paid ads. Highlight new menu items, features like curbside pickup, or limited-time discounts to entice orders.
Consider offering exclusive promotions for first-time customers of your website/app ordering. For example, targeted email or social media coupons for 10% off an initial online order. This incentivizes new users to try your digital experience.
Execute public relations strategies to generate press coverage of your restaurant’s pivot to online ordering. Pitch relevant stories to local media and business journals. Bring on an influencer or blogger to review your delivery or takeout experience.
Strategy #4: Improve Your Online Reputation
Your restaurant’s online reputation – encompassed by reviews, ratings, mentions, and feedback – make a major impact on purchase decisions. Consumers trust fellow diners, so a few negative reviews can deter potential customers from ordering.
That’s why it’s so important to monitor your online reputation across major sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook. Using a reputation management platform can help aggregate and manage your listings in one place.
Make sure to respond to all reviews – positive and negative. Thank happy customers for the feedback and address constructive critiques professionally. Attempting to bury or remove negative reviews is counterproductive. Instead, be transparent and show you are making improvements.
Finally, build your positive reputation by encouraging satisfied customers to share their experiences. Simple tactics like thank you emails after an order can lead to more 5-star ratings.
Strategy #5: Analyze Data and Optimize
Digital marketing and online ordering open up a wealth of data that restaurants can use to continually improve. But you need to track key metrics and regularly analyze performance.
Look at order volumes and sales over time. How are online orders growing week over week and month over month? Is revenue from delivery apps increasing or decreasing?
Dive deeper into customer behavior on your website. What pages or menu items are they clicking on? Where do they drop off or abandon orders? What’s the breakdown between desktop vs. mobile orders?
Tools like Google Analytics make it easy to quantify engagement and conversions. Use learnings to identify weaknesses and opportunities to optimize.
You can then implement incremental improvements, like modifying site navigation, adding menu items, or adjusting promotional strategies. Rinse and repeat – the beauty of digital marketing is leveraging data to continually refine and progress.
Expanding your restaurant’s online presence and orders is mission critical in today’s digital world. While it may seem daunting, implementing these fundamental steps sets you on the path to takeout and delivery success.
First, optimize your website and online listings for easy discoverability. Make sure customers can easily access your information, menus and place orders digitally. Then enable online ordering through your site or third-party apps to meet customers where they are.
With the process in place, actively promote your offerings through targeted ads, social media, incentives and PR. Managing your online reputation also ensures customers feel confident ordering from you.
Finally, track key metrics around online orders to identify opportunities to improve. Use data-driven insights to optimize continuously.
By following this blueprint, your restaurant can tap into the explosive growth of online food delivery and reach new heights. The time is now to build your digital business. Just take it step by step, offer an exceptional customer experience, and keep optimizing along the way. Further, you can also take the services of best digital marketing agency for restaurant, which will definitely increase the number of orders.