The continued rise in the percentage of food orders placed online, and the way technology has changed consumers’ habits and expectations, can be an advantage to restaurants of all sizes if they can take advantage of these trends.
Location is Secondary, Proper Management is Key
It used to be foot traffic was a key part of any restaurant’s success. Now, with the rise of diners consulting review sites like Yelp! in real-time before making a decision on where to eat or order their next meal, both tourists and locals are discovering more restaurants than ever before.
The rise of JustEat, GrubHub and similar apps throughout Europe, the UK and the USA shows a shift in the preference of diners. As digital orders have now surpassed phone orders, (6.6% vs 5% in 2016) it’s become clear more diners want to eat in their home instead of in a restaurant.
This re-balancing of resources means a restaurant’s physical location doesn’t have as much impact on their success. Instead, a restaurant’s ability to handle large amounts of online orders — without compromising the in-house dining experience – is a key to their success.
Gain Recognition on 3rd Party Platforms-While Raising Your Own Awareness
In the past, a huge barrier to delivery existed in expensive start-up costs, clunky software, poor integration and unpredictability of orders. The ability to implement a successful revenue stream with delivery was limited to certain types of restaurants and cuisine, mostly pizza and fast food chains.
Now with several delivery app platforms and options, other cuisines and restaurant types can capitalize on the digital order trend. Restaurants gain exposure well beyond their existing customer base without a large increase in marketing.
However, owners should not rely entirely on these aggregators and third-party apps. As they gain recognition from these platforms, they should begin implementing their own systems and promoting them to their loyal customers. These marketplaces often carry high commissions, cutting into or eliminating the profit from the increase in orders.
Use Your Own Ordering Platform
Streamline the online ordering process by using a single, integrated online system. A third party aggregator can damage your reputation with parts of the experience you can’t control like non-employee drivers, lag time between system communication and poor food quality upon arrival.
A white-labelled online ordering system like DirectBistro allows a restaurant to keep more of the benefit of online ordering without forcing them to create their own software. When not paying third parties, restaurants can start to build their own brand loyalty and save on commissions while enjoying the profits.
A system like this allows direct integration of your customer data with POS system, so you can personalise their future experiences. You’re also able to control and predict the entire process from initial order to final delivery with a dedicated driver’s app.
Meet New Customer Expectations
Online ordering gives restaurants an opportunity to impress more diverse, new customers. When a customer finds you online first, you need to create a seamless, easy and transparent experience. Any points of friction in the ordering process could result in a new customer not returning.
You also want to match a customer’s experience across both physical and digital channels. If a customer discovers you online, there’s a great chance they’ll want to try the restaurant in-person given an opportunity. The quality of the food and the ordering experience should match closely when dining in the restaurant or at home.
Consumers will check ratings before choosing to order with you. Guarantee they match when you create a positive guest experience each time with an integrated online ordering system.
Your dining customers are part of the on-demand economy. When it comes to online ordering, many consumers like quick satisfaction. With an online ordering system directly linked with delivery management, your restaurant can give accurate wait times which will wow your customers.
Use the data from your drivers to make accurate predictions of their availability and subsequent delivery time. The driver has access to optimized route information and the ability to easily close transactions for a quick and accurate delivery experience.
This system also allows you to maintain your brand and reputation. When you use third-party systems you have a lag between systems, creating a delay in processing orders, and you also lose control of the experience.
It is crucial to be able to guarantee the quality, temperature or state of the food after it leaves your restaurant. If the food doesn’t have the right taste or temperature due to poor delivery conditions, customers will blame the restaurant not the delivery service. This negatively impacts your rankings on these third-party sites and on general review sites, damaging your reputation and brand.
Personalise the Experience to Build Loyalty
More and more users are expecting brands to not only meet their needs and expectations-but also to personalize the experience.
Your customers have become used to receiving personalised experiences when shopping online from the use of retailers like Amazon and Netflix. An online ordering system that directly integrates your customer data makes it easier for you to see your customer’s favourites, their average spend and their frequency.
You can create personalised offers and experiences to give them more of what they want. With your integrated customer data, it’s easy to issue new offers, discounts, point systems or gift card offers for people who order directly with you. Instead of offering generic offers or coupons, give the best offers to the right people at the right time.
Restaurants of all sizes can take advantage of the rise in digital orders to increase revenue, loyalty and happy customers when they use an integrated online ordering system.
Discover how to use your own white-label, integrated online ordering system and more about POSbistro’s software here.