In order to run a viable restaurant business in the current climate, you should embrace online food ordering. By offering today’s consumer online ordering options, not only are you giving them the convenience they crave so much - you’ll also create higher revenues and increase order accuracy, among many other advantages.

Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic hit the restaurant industry, off-premises orders were booming business. And since the outbreak, 51% of consumers have downloaded at least one new app to purchase food. With the advantages of online food ordering systems listed above also comes an increased visibility for your restaurant, and a bigger check size (23% larger than in-store). Yet despite this type of data, some restaurants remain skeptical about offering online delivery, pickup and takeaway. But why? 

Working with third-party delivery platforms like Uber Eats, Deliveroo and DoorDash can make restaurants feel less in control. As soon as they hand over their orders to the delivery services’ couriers, restaurants are no longer playing a part in the delivery process. Another common concern is the customer interaction: how can your restaurant stay connected with guests using online food delivery apps? How can you communicate with them before, during, and after their online order?

Here are 3 best practices that can help you stay in touch with your online restaurant clientele.

 

#1 Personalize your restaurant page and menu

 

One surefire way to communicate with your online customers is by personalizing your restaurant’s listing on the ordering and delivery platform. With fierce competition, it is important that you stand out. Therefore, think about a personal intro text presenting your restaurant and food. But most importantly, you should build a winning online menu

Healthy menu in to go packagingAttractive, high-quality pictures are a crucial part of your menu. Good photos of your dishes can convince people to order in a flash, but they’ll also want to read what exactly they’ll be getting. That’s where descriptions come in. By creating original names for your dishes and adding clever descriptions, you can let your potential customer know who you are and what you stand for. For instance, would you rather order a “bucket of wings” or a “Lord of the Wings” bucket? And who knows - you may even end up on the Uber Eats Most Creative Food Puns blog!

You should also consider giving your customers the option to build their own dish from scratch, or at least give them the possibility to modify a dish. Over the past year, “build your own” burgers, poké bowls, burritos, salads, etc. have been immensely popular with people ordering food online. Providing this option to your customers lets them know you care about their specific wishes and dietary preferences, and shows that you want to prepare their food just the way they like it.

 

#2 Don’t be shy about using social media 

 

Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay. The sooner your restaurant gets comfortable with social media, the better: it’s the perfect place to connect with both existing and potential customers, regardless of which channel they prefer to order from.

Friends taking food photos for social media

There are numerous ways to interact with your customers on social media:

  • You can share behind the scenes stories that show your team preparing guests’ orders. In these stories, you can highlight specific parts of the food prep progress, communicate about hygiene precautions and quality checks, or just share enthused employees passionate about their job and making customers happy.

  • Social media is the perfect place to organize contests. For instance, offer a free (delivery) meal to customers with the best picture of your food, or offer a reward for coming up with a great idea for a new dish. The options are endless!

  • Ask for feedback using polls, Q&As, or any of the other tools that are offered on social media nowadays. You can talk directly to your customers and get valuable feedback about your products and services at the same time.

 

#3 Add a personal touch to each order

 

Thanks coffee cupIt’s true that once your order has been collected by the delivery rider, it’s out of your hands. However, you can make sure your order is complete, branded and personalized. Do you want to talk to your food delivery customer? Add a handwritten thank you note to each delivery bag, write a short message on a container or cup, or add free branded merchandise, like stickers, utensils or other gadgets. You can even have a QR code printed that customers can scan to give feedback about their delivery experience.

Adding a personal touch doesn’t take much time, but it can make all the difference to your customers. A little gesture tells them that you care - even if they are eating your food at home, at the office, or anywhere else.

 

Allowing customers to order their food online, whether it is through a third-party delivery app, a click & collect store, or a takeaway service, will give your restaurant a competitive edge. Don't run the risk of falling behind competitors by not offering them a great experience and keeping in touch with them. By harnessing technology, you can streamline your restaurant operations and deliver both in-house and off-premises customers a seamless and top-notch experience.

Karolien Odou
August 10, 2020 by Karolien Odou

Content marketer at Deliverect and fulltime carnivore