What is driving the rapid growth of online ordering? One word: Convenience.
“Consumers are always looking for away-from-home meal solutions, and ordering online is seen as a convenience option,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the National Restaurant Association’s Research & Knowledge Group. “It’s just one more solution for this diverse and consumer-driven industry to offer.”
Online ordering offers customers a way to order their favorite meal with the touch of a button from the comfort of their own home, but it can do more than that for restaurant owners. Many online ordering solutions will increase brand recognition for your restaurant throughout your community. It can also expand your digital marketing reach and help you gain and retain new customers.
The best online ordering services will be more than just a service. They will work hand-in-hand with you as a business partner. With that partnership, they can help you grow and build your business in four ways:
1. Enhancing Web Presence
Online ordering can enhance your overall online presence. This is especially true if you equip your own website with online ordering capability. Consumers are interested in getting things done quickly, efficiently, and on-the-go. An online ordering system can meet that customer need and help you reach customers that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.
2. Email Marketing
As we said, the big players in online food ordering can provide you with a lot of potential customers. But unless you’re in direct communication with them, that pool of potential customers is virtually useless. These companies have large email lists of active purchasers which you can take advantage of by advertising discounts and coupons. Imagine all the potential new customers for your restaurant!
3. Mobile Ordering
Mobile device usage has soared in recent years. Fortunately for you, this is an opportunity to find new customers. A mobile-optimized website and mobile-friendly marketing strategy have never been more important. A mobile app is essential for whichever mobile ordering service you decide on.
Check out how your website responds on a mobile device as well. A website that is badly optimized for a mobile device can frustrate customers and is much less likely to generate orders. It can even cause potential customers to take business elsewhere. Don’t be that restaurant!
4. Consumer Behavior
You know that technology is reshaping the restaurant industry. But what does it mean for the profitability of your establishment? If the triumph of Amazon over retailers like Borders, Tower Records, Good Guys, and Circuit City is any indication, customers prefer to buy online; if not for price, then at least for convenience. If your restaurant provides the capability to order online—especially from a mobile device—you open yourself to a new channel of customer acquisition.
With online ordering becoming more and more essential for restaurant success, knowing not only how to incorporate online ordering, but the potential pitfalls that can accompany it is vital. Wondering which services will give you the best bang for your buck? Check out Online Ordering for Restaurants: the need to know guide to learn more about the different types of online ordering services and how to best use them to maximize ROI.