In this digital age, restaurants must progress forward in order to keep up with advancing technology. While it can be daunting, especially for those who predate it (or live under a rock), it is a valuable tool to help grow your business. Online ordering is the newest digital bell and whistle that can help your profits soar in all aspects of your business: fine dining, pick-up, and delivery. You can save time you would be wasting taking those same orders over the phone as well. However, it is not enough to simply have this feature available. Getting the word out there will be your best bet in utilizing online ordering efficiently. Check out some of these tips to help you effectively promote your new feature.
1. Use your website.
Where else would you share that you now have an online ordering feature on your website than your actual site? Have a big, flashy sign in a visible area (perhaps near your company name or logo) on your home page first and subsequent pages as well. Use an animated icon for even more visibility. Moreover, you can use your slideshow images as well. If you do not have such a detail on your website, I would recommend you get it because visuals are great ways to engage your viewers. Include one whole slide about online ordering for even more awareness.
2.Make your menu interactive.
Instead of simply having a photo of your menu on your site, allow customers to use the menu feature to order. If you have a photo menu, customers may opt to call in. However, if you do not offer this option, and only have the ordering menu on your website, customers will catch on pretty quickly and will be more likely just to order online since they are already on the website. Use humanity’s inherited laziness to your advantage.
3. Blog about it.
If you have a blog linked to your site, which you should have, post something about this new feature and how it works. List the pros of ordering online, such as having final approval over their order and not feeling rushed when they order, and describe how simple it is to use.
4. Advertise in your store.
Posting signs in your business is another great way to help spread the word. When people have to wait for their cuisine, they will peruse your walls and read just about everything on there, which should include signs about online ordering. Maybe next time they will take advantage of it and save themselves the excessive wait time. Furthermore, instruct your employees to mention it while taking care of the customers. A quick “Next time, try using our wonderful new online ordering feature” can do wonders.
5. Top your boxes.
Use your products to help you publicize this element by attaching a box topper. A little flyer glued to the boxes will help you get your message out to your actual client base. They will be forced to take it home with them, and maybe their tech-savvy family members will be more inclined to use the online ordering aspect. It’s like a tiny, promotional Trojan horse.
6. Mention online ordering on receipts.
Similar to the box-topper method, stating that you have online ordering on your receipts is another fantastic means of promotion. You have to kill that forest anyway, so you may as well use it to its full potential. Even if you give online receipts, you can still include a note about online ordering as well.
7. Provide coupons or discounts for online ordering.
Think about providing customers with some incentive to using your online ordering. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as 50 percent off, but it can increase one’s desire to use the feature. Give out free drinks, take 25 percent off the order, etc. You can promote these coupons on your website, social media, and in-store.
8. Utilize your social media accounts.
Having various social media platforms is a must in this day and age. It is an excellent way to reach a lot of people quickly and efficiently, while also giving you a chance to interact with your customers. Mention online ordering on your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts (and whatever else you have). Combine this tip with the coupon or promotion pitch, and you will be golden.
9. Use your mailing lists.
If you are a good business owner, you have managed to create a mailing list of potential and current customers. So, advertise your business and online ordering all at the same time by sending flyers, coupons, and menus, through snail mail and email. Spread that net wide, and you will catch more business (and fish) .
10. Develop an app.
An app is a little different than a website in that it is more suited for mobile devices and is usually designed to make the process quick and painless. For example, instead of users having to log into their account every time, users can save their password and get into their account easier. They can also store more information in it, such as previous orders, addresses, credit card information, etc. You’ll want to be included in the saying, “There’s an app for that.”
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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