While the costs associated with getting your online ordering system up and running may prevent you from jumping online right away, keep in mind that ordering food online has become almost as popular as dining in. You could be missing out on potential business revenue because people do not want to be tied up on the phone while they are ordering takeout.
If you are hesitant to add online ordering to your website or social media for fear that it will cut into your dine-in business, don’t be. Customers most likely have decided that they want takeout long before they choose the restaurant, which means, if you don’t have a quick and easy way for customers to order and pay online, you are already losing business.
Statistically, customers who order online will order more than they would have over the phone. Ultimately, this means that you can use online ordering on your website or social media pages to help gain business while increasing loyalty and streamlining operations.
Scenario for Success
You do not have to build a custom website to host your online ordering. There are several third party companies on the market that can help you set up your online ordering portal. These companies can build a flashy website for you to complement your online ordering pages. While this might sound expensive, consider several factors.
A man opens a restaurant in Chicago, but his in-house customer traffic was not enough to keep his business afloat. His lack of foot-traffic did not stop the man from being successful. Customers may not have been stumbling upon his restaurant physically, but they were finding him online. He utilized an online ordering platform to allow his customers to find his restaurant and place orders with just a few clicks. The man’s business became more accessible to his clientele, which allowed the restaurant to be more successful year round.
While this man’s experience is just one of the numerous success stories, he is not alone. Many restaurants are finding success through the use of online ordering. A study done in 2015 found that restaurants that use online-ordering services were able to grow their takeout business by an average of 30 percent, while one in five doubled their take out revenue. It’s through changing consumer behavior and the relative ease of implementing online ordering, through services such as Orders2.me, that makes being digitally accessible more important than ever when it comes to the successful or failure of a restaurant.
Worth the Investment
Even with the apparent benefits, online ordering may still seem out of reach to you. You do, after all, spend all day focusing on retaining customers by creating the best food and having great service to bring people back for more.
You might be thinking that taking time out of your busy schedule to learn about what it takes to have online ordering might seem like too big of a task and cost too much. However, online ordering is easier than you realize. There are online ordering platforms that offer no cost to sign up and provide ample amounts of technical support.
Use the data collected from your current website, as well as your loyal customer base, to determine if online ordering will be worth it. Look at the traffic that comes to your website and what they do once they are there. The numbers don’t lie, and they may present a strong case for an online ordering portal. While it will take time to get your online ordering up and running at first, the time your staff will save by having and maintaining the service, paired with the potential to drastically improve your takeout business, make the initial investment well worth it.
Perhaps you need to raise the prices of your menu times in order to implement online ordering. It is important to look at each menu item individually when determining if there needs to be a price increase. There are three things you should consider when deciding on a price change:
1. What is the cost to make the item?
It might seem like a laborious task to cost out your entire menu, but you really should have an idea of what each item on your menu costs before you can make an intelligent decision about the price for it.
2. How much is the customer willing to pay for the item?
Successful restaurant operators are often well-informed about the market they do business in. Knowing what competitors charge for similar items, and how much the customer is willing to pay for an item, are keys in knowing where to set the price for a particular menu item.
3. What factors influence my customers’ opinions about my restaurant items?
A customer’s perception of your business, essentially how they observe and evaluate your restaurant, goes deeper than you may think. For most customers, prices are not as important as the experience they have with a restaurant. If your customer is able to easily order their food online without any issues they will most likely do it again in the future.
Online ordering instantly adds value and credibility to your website as a trusted way for customers to order the food they love. Trust builds relationships, and relationships create revenue and profits.
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.
About us and this blog
We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.