Tips for Online Ordering with Restaurants

Tips for Online Ordering with Restaurants

Want to boost your online ordering sales? A great way to make that happen is to apply these 6 tips from experts to attract—and retain—today’s web-obsessed customers.

Today's trend numbers don't lie. By allowing customers to place their orders online, you are almost guaranteed to boost your sales.

A recent survey by Valassis Local Solutions, based in Livonia, Michigan, tracked the average order value (AOV) across multiple restaurant categories and included more than $20 million in online transactions. The main takeaway: the importance of online ordering increases AOV, improves efficiency and enhances a restaurant’s visibility. A whopping 42% of consumers say the ability to order online would make them choose one restaurant over another.

In addition, online ordering clearly increases average tickets. Chris Partyka, president of San Antonio, Texas-based Pizza Patrón, says a guest ordering online spends an average of $18.57, compared to $13.84 in-store. But there’s always room for improving your online experience and boosting sales. Some key steps include:

1. Spread the Word 

Call attention to your online option in every way possible. Feature it prominently in your store. Distribute flyers with each outgoing delivery. Make sure the "Order Now" button is prominent on your website.

As Partyka says: “Online ordering is one of the first messages a guest sees when walking up to the door of one of our restaurants. We also advertise via social media—like Facebook and Instagram—by driving guests directly to our website with compelling deals while engaging with them in real time. Guests are extremely tech-savvy, and we want to accommodate them by delivering our messages through a medium that they spend the majority of their time on.” 

2. Make it Mobile-Friendly 

After redesigning its website, the Romeo’s Pizza chain headquartered in Medina, Ohio saw an immediate increase of 10% in the new mobile- and tablet-friendly site. Online ordering increased by 6%, and sales on the app improved by 5%.

“Online ordering continues to reshape consumer expectations and demands,” says Tracy McCutcheon, partner and executive creative director of Hitchcock Fleming & Associates, the Akron-based agency that handled the redesign. “The objective for redesigning the Romeo’s Pizza website was to adapt to the connected consumer and the advancement of handheld devices by capitalizing on appetite-driven shopping and seizing the micro-moment.”

3. Stimulate the Senses

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. That is why you must incorporate mouthwatering visuals to make the most of your menu. At Pizza Rita, a recent switch to an online ordering system that allows the display of food pictures quickly boosted sales. The online ordering aspect of the business now accounts for 15% of deliveries. Romeo’s reports similar results with its revamped website and the use of food photos. 

4. Mix in Some Swag

Whether you’re looking to reward loyal customers, promote package deals, or lure new customers via online ordering, a giveaway involving branded merchandise offers multiple benefits. Not only does it boost your perceived value, but it also leaves guests with a visual reminder of your pizzeria and serves as a marketing tool when recipients wear the branded gear.

Make sure that the imprint on the item includes your restaurant's online ordering address, name, logo, and phone number to maximize your message. You can spread the word through T-shirts, hoodies, coolers, refrigerator magnets, flying discs, keychains, hand sanitizer, lip balm, and other products that are used regularly by families. Choose a food item for the reward and it’s a double win—you promote specific food items and the online ordering information.

5. Create a seamless experience

Your system should simplify and streamline the ordering process for registered users and unregistered guests alike. It’s important to provide an easy way for guests to select their favorite orders rather than building a new order from scratch every time.

6. Target your offers

Once you have customers ordering online, you can use that crucial intel for future marketing efforts. The better your information, the better job you can do of targeting the marketing materials to that customer. Today’s customers want to receive personalized communications and online ordering helps you collect data on their spending habits, purchases, and more. Use that information wisely, and you’ll be on your way to scoring even more sales for the future!