5 Ways to Increase Online Ordering at Your Restaurant
Online ordering for restaurants has become very important for those restaurants who want to stay on top. There are certain times when this is more important such as when you have to close the dining room. Having online ordering platforms in place will make those times run more smoothly.
Putting a focus on how to increase online ordering now will help your restaurant to succeed in the future if limitations are put on you again. You can learn how to increase sales by implementing online ordering for your restaurant. First, you must understand what value there is to you in setting up online ordering.
Why is Online Ordering so Important?
1. If you are running your restaurant with fewer staff members, then online ordering frees up people to work instead of taking orders over the phone. This is extra important when budgets are tight but will help your bottom line year-round.
2. You will have a log of what is ordered to help you determine which meals are selling best for takeout. We all know something like steak does not reheat well, so people may not order it as often. How about your soup that is on special? Is it flying out the door as you hoped? You will be able to tell easily with online ordering. This will help you place your food and supply order more efficiently so you are not ordering food that is going to waste and also so you have enough of the right food.
3. You may find that ordering online is more efficient and precise than ordering over the phone. For example, ordering online allows a guest to choose all of their toppings by checking boxes. They can review their order before the submit it to be sure it is correct. Some toppings may have been missed if someone was writing them down.
After your online ordering platforms are set up, you will need to market this service to your customers to increase online ordering. Use these five proven tactics to help market online ordering.
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How to Increase Online Ordering Through Marketing
1. Email Marketing
Having your customers on an email list is one of the easiest ways to reach them. You can send mass emails to everyone on your list with one click of a button. You do not have to send emails each day. In fact, once a week is optimal to keep your customers interested without feeling like you email them all the time. This is a fairly inexpensive way to market as well. Offering a coupon to sign up for the email list is a great way to build your customer base.
Using email will also make it easy for you to send out attachments such as newsletters if you would like to add one. You may be surprised how many people would love to read a newsletter about your restaurant. You can include the basics such as your operating hours and specials, but you can also have a lot of fun with it too. You could have a guest of the month where you feature one of your regular customers with a quote about the dish they love the most. You could also feature tips for gatherings which include suggestions from your takeout menu.
2. Text Marketing
Many people love texting almost as much as they love eating. Why not leverage the power of texting to let your customers know about your online ordering options? Be mindful of when mass texts are sent out. Keep it toward the middle of the day when possible so you are not waking people up with your texts and you are catching them before they decide what to have for dinner. Offering coupons is a great way to get customers to sign-up for text marketing.
Text marketing does need to be kept short for people to read it. If it is too long, they will likely just delete it. Texts are great for highlighting daily specials or changes in your operating schedule. They are also perfect for promotions such as a total check discount on a given day or a buy one, get one deal. Text marketing is a proven way to increase online ordering as you can track clicks to purchases and also assisted conversions if you are using Google Analytics or other online reporting software.
3. Paid Search Ads
You can run paid search ads on search engines like Google and Bing. Most of these are pay-per-click. This means that when someone searches for your restaurant and they see one of your ads, you only have to pay if they click on the ad. Because it is pay-per-click, it is a great option whether you are located in a city or a small town.
Paid search ads are great for getting the word out about your restaurant because even if the person does not click on your ad, they will have at least seen the name of your restaurant. The more they see your restaurant, the more likely they are to order from it. Since the first few lines show up in the search, be sure to mention online ordering right away so it can be seen even if the ad is not opened.
Outside of people seeing your ads on search engines, paid search ads are one of the most effective ways to increase online ordering for restaurants because they are reaching a high intent customer. Meaning you are targeting people that are searching for things like "order takeout near me" or "order delivery online" related searches. With high intent of customers looking to order online, the ads have high online conversions.
4. Paid Social Media Ads
When learning how to increase sales through marketing, paid social media ads can truly save you time. They are super easy to create. You determine the demographics of who you want to target, how many people you want to target and which locations you want to target. Your price will fluctuate according to the options you choose. This gives you a lot of control over your marketing.
Social media ads also contain pictures, and these are what will catch people’s attention right away. Use this opportunity to post mouth-watering pics of your most popular take-out items. Be sure to have your menu on your social media page, along with hours and any other important information like daily specials. Almost everyone who has access to the internet has social media, so this is an excellent way to reach a lot of people quickly.
5. Marketing Automation
If you want to easily set up a marketing technique that you do not have to put a lot of time into continually, then perhaps marketing automation is right for you. Marketing automation uses software to complete tasks to help you with. For example, when a customer signs-up for email, an automatic email is sent to thank them for signing up.
Without marketing automation, you would have to go through new sign-ups and produce the email yourself to send. Marketing automation does all of that for you based on the criteria that you use when you first set it up. After the initial setup, you do not have to do much until you want to add something new. If you are running a very busy restaurant, then marketing automation will truly feel like a lifesaver.
Online ordering for restaurants is what will help them to stay competitive, especially during times when people are ordering out more than they are dining in. If you have not already, be sure to jump in on this exciting way of bringing more paying customers to your restaurant. Then be sure to use marketing to spread the word about easy online ordering. Making ordering easy, along with your excellent food, will keep them coming back.
Need help figuring this all out? Contact MyArea Network today for a consultation. We can provide a demo so you can see how using our free mySuite software can help. We also have plenty of marketing tips and solutions on our MyArea Blog too.