Shortly after opening his new restaurant in Chicago, the in-house customer traffic didn't match the level of the delicious menu offered by owner Badara Diakhate at Badou Senegalese Cuisine. But a lack of foot traffic didn't spell doom for Diakhate's venture, a fate that awaits the majority of independently owned restaurants.
That is because customers were consistently finding Diakhate's website on the Internet even if they weren't coming in for sit-down meals. Diakhate's customers were able to use an online ordering platform and his business began to grow exponentially. Four years later, digital accessibility continues to make all the difference in keeping Badou Senegalese Cuisine busy on a year-round.
That stands in marked contrast to the norm. Statistics show that more than 60% of independently owned restaurants fail within the first three years after opening their doors. Diakhate is a year past that mark and thankful for his digital reach.
"Especially in the winter time," Diakhate told the Business Insider. "I don't have customers walking through the door, but I do have online ordering."
Diakhate's experience is just one of many success stories in the new age of online ordering. A recent GrubHub survey found that restaurants using an online-ordering service were able to grow their takeout revenue by an average of 30%. In fact, 20% of respondents doubled their takeout revenue.
Between changing consumer behavior and the relative ease of implementing online ordering through platforms like iEatery, being digitally accessible is more important today than ever for restaurant success. According to a recent report by GlobalWebIndex, consumers now spend more than six hours per day online. The availability of technology options is an important factor in choosing a restaurant for more than 40% of millennials and nearly one-third of all diners, according to research by the National Restaurant Association.
Being digitally accessible includes the ability to take orders online. The National Restaurant Association reported that 60% of adults say they would take advantage of delivery to their homes or offices if limited-service restaurants offered it.
Being more convenient for consumers is important, but it's just one of the many benefits to online-ordering platforms. Research showed that GrubHub's order technology was able to cut order-processing time by more than half, which provides a huge benefit to restaurants' internal operations. For a restaurant that accepts phone orders, 75% take more than a minute and 30% take longer than three minutes.
Add up the time and, every 100 takeout orders that move from phone to digital delivery saves a restaurant 2.5 hours of workers' time. With customers entering their own information, online ordering can also improve accuracy.
Showing the biggest benefit of moving online ordering platforms were smaller restaurants; they typically see a 50% increase in takeout revenue after joining a dedicated delivery service like iEatery.
Despite the clear advantages, online ordering can be a tough sell to some restaurateurs. It requires becoming more tech-savvy, as well as adding additional costs. But launching online ordering is easier than many restaurant owners realize. Most online ordering platforms are user-friendly and offer a great amount of technical support.
Though it certainly takes time to get online ordering up and running, it will dramatically grow your takeout revenue. That is an investment that restaurateurs like Badara Diakhate have been happy they have made.