Learn About Your Audience Before Launching an Online Ordering System

Your customers are the lifeblood of your business. Without them, you would be left cooking for yourself, your family and your friends. They are the reason you put in the hours, revise your menu and stay on top of trends. They might also be the reason you choose to launch an online food ordering system. Before you move ahead, though, let them be the reason you do some research first.

Who is Your Ideal Customer?

One of the most frequently used tools in the marketing industry is an avatar, or the buyer persona of the company’s target customer. For example, a children’s cloth diaper company might use Jennifer, an environmentally-conscious mother who wants to protect her children, her world and her budget. While this might seem like stereotyping, the avatars are not created on a whim. The characteristics and tendencies are determined and assigned after extensive market research.

This research embodies the age-old adage of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes. You will never be able to meet your customers’ needs if you do not know what those needs are. You will never be able to find your customers if you do not know where they spend their time. In the restaurant industry, you will never know if online ordering will work for your customers if you do not know their internet habits.

For example, do you know the following about your regular customers?

  • Do your customers use smartphones? If so, which carrier or operating system do they run?
  • Do your customers have social media accounts? If so, which platforms do they prefer?
  • Do your customers have email accounts? If so, where are their email accounts hosted?

An online ordering system will be most appealing to customers who are already familiar with and regularly using the internet for purchases. Do not worry too much if you do not have all of this information right away. Getting a broader look at the demographics of your customers can help you draw the inferences you need.

Paint a Big Picture: Details You Need

Knowing your customers’ internet habits and preferences is important. But learning how they fit into the bigger realm of the restaurant industry’s statistics is, too. For example, 18- to 29-year-olds eat at a fast food restaurant at least once a week. Marketing expert and blogger, Brandon Gaille has quite a few very interesting statistics:

  • People with higher income levels tend to have more frequent restaurant visits.
  • Individuals younger than 44 spend, on average, more than 40 percent of total food expenditures on buying food away from home.
  • People between the ages of 18 and 34 make up a high percentage of restaurant customers. They comprise 37 percent of the people who eat at a restaurant two to six times a week, and 54 percent of the people who eat fast food at least once a day.

What inference can you draw from that? Well, the first is that millennials are spending more than many people realized on eating out. The second? If you’re thinking about adding online ordering, the millennials are a generation you’ll want to target.

In an article about millennials and their food-ordering habits written for Forbes, one interviewee looked at the money she spent on food-ordering and delivery through one app. She noted that when she ordered on the app, she spent, on average, $20. Her favorite food, though, only costs between $10 and $12.

Getting Started: Five Statistics You Need About Your Customers

To draw these inferences about your customers, you need to know, at the very least, these five things:

  • How old are your customers? What generation and age group do they fall into?
  • How big is the average household size of your customers? Are you attracting empty-nesters, parents with older children, or young families?
  • Are your customers employed? What is their income level? Where do they work?
  • What are your most popular menu items? Why do customers come? Is it your quality or your value that attracts them?
  • Where are you located? Is your food easily accessible? What do customers say about traveling to and from your restaurant?

Online ordering is a great option in almost every situation, as internet-savvy millennials and younger generations look for unique, quality food that they can easily access and order. Older generations are becoming more web-smart and learning that online ordering can save them time while improving their order consistency. Learning about your current and target customers will help you decide if online ordering is a great option for you, and if so, how you can implement it successfully. Not sure where to start? Contact us today.