If a picture is worth a thousand words, the thumbnail on your restaurant’s online ordering programs should be a mouth-watering image that brings to mind words like “delicious” and “fresh.” However, creating an online ordering platform involves more than just clicking a few buttons. Doing research about your customers and their preferences, as well as the functionalities that each option should have, will ensure success for your online ordering program.

There are a few steps to analyze before you start designing. Look at your customer base. If you’ve tried several in-person paper menus in the past, think about the one that got the best response. You might also want to create a survey to see what your customers have thought about the different design aspects you’ve tried.

This survey can also include information on the platform your customers might prefer. Many restaurants find that asking their customers helps them make the decision between a mobile site that is optimized for online ordering, or an app.

Once you’ve decided on the best piece of technology for your restaurant, you can start working on the design. There are three key factors that should be considered when you look at all of the options available for designing your online and restaurant app ordering platforms.

Building Your Brand

Branding involves the image and message your restaurant projects to the public, and consistency is highly valuable when you’re branding your restaurant. Frequent use of the same colors, images, and shapes makes your restaurant more recognizable and builds great value for the restaurant. As a result, the same design elements that you have been using successfully should be building blocks for your restaurant’s online ordering platform.

  • Logo: Use your logo as the thumbnail image for the app. As customers look through the many apps on their smartphone, yours will stand out from the crowd, and will be familiar and recognizable when they are they hungry.
  • Typeface: The shape and spacing of the typefaces each brand chooses can convey an energy level, an attitude or a mood. It can position your restaurant as modern, homey, or classic. As you build your brand, look at the available font options, and select one or two that match the feeling you want to convey.
  • Colors: From warmth and tranquility to vibrancy and excitement, the colors you choose can also make or break your online ordering platform. If your restaurant and logo are golds and reds, both warm colors, choosing cool blues and greens can be a jarring change for your customers.
  • Images: Showcase your food. Choosing to add a gallery option to your app allows you to post pictures of your plates, enticing users to order. When customers can visualize their food and orders, they tend to order more food, more frequently.

Ease of Use

  • Menu options: There are several different ways to layout your menu — look at what makes the most sense for your restaurant. If plates are a traditional dish, say, chicken Parmesan, having a grid-style menu that allows users to click on their choice might make sense. However, restaurants that have very customizable offerings, like pizzas or hamburgers, might find a greater benefit from drop-down menus or multi-screen ordering options.
  • Customization: The online ordering platform you choose should have flexibility and responsiveness. Mobile-optimized sites will adjust to the screen size, will allow customers to easily click on their choices with large, bold buttons, and will adjust for vertical and horizontal views. Apps should be designed for several popular operating systems, and should be available in both Android and Apple’s app stores.
  • Languages: With such a diverse population — the U.S. Census Bureau reports more than 350 languages spoken in homes across the country — it’s important to adjust for those who don’t speak English with enough proficiency to order.

Additional Information for Your Customers

  • Social media integration: Platforms that allow you to add your social media accounts give customers an easy way to connect with their favorite restaurants and allow you to show your social network feed.This provides you with another contact point between you and your customers, increasing your visibility and advertising.
  • Specials: Giving exclusive savings to app or online customers makes the option to download the app or place an order online. Having the option to add sales, specials, or coupons can help boost or reward your customers.
  • News and newsletters: Allow your customers an inside look at your restaurant, keep them posted when you update or change your menu, restaurant layout, or want to introduce them to new staff.
  • E-mail subscriptions: Having the option to let customers sign up for your e-newsletter allows them one more chance to hear from you, and gives you one more route in which to reach and share with them.

While there are many options, functionalities, and integrations available, the best ones for your business are the ones that work for you and your restaurant. Let us show you how Orders2me can help you customize your online ordering site and app.