Online ordering has seen an enormous boost during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which restaurants have been forced to close their dining rooms and hungry customers’ only option has been delivery or curbside pickup. As a result, more and more independent restaurants are looking to get online for the first time or to expand their existing online ordering systems. But online sales are not a guaranteed slam dunk, and many restaurants fail to meet their full online potential. The following are five simple, but effective tactics you can use to avoid that fate and ensure the success of your restaurant’s online ordering portal.
Make Sure Your Customers Know They Can Order Online
This one might seem obvious, but it’s amazing how many independent restaurants offer online ordering but do a horrible job of advertising it. A small sign tucked into the corner of a window or somewhere behind your counter isn’t enough. You should be plastering the fact that you’re online everywhere you reasonably can. Put it on your bags, put it on your takeout containers, put it on your business cards, put it on your menus – if a customer has to ask if you do online delivery, it isn’t obvious enough.
Ensure Online Ordering is Easy
Once your customers know you offer online ordering, the next major obstacle is the ordering system itself. Major restaurant chains know how important user experience is, and as a result, their ordering portals are generally extremely user friendly. If a customer used to that level of quality visits your restaurant’s site and isn’t delivered a similarly frictionless experience, not only does it reflect badly on you, but it could easily result in the customer abandoning the process altogether.
Ensure Your Fees are as Affordable as Possible
Cart abandonment is a huge problem across all of eCommerce, and online food ordering is not immune. When your customers arrive at the checkout page, huge service or delivery fees are a great way to trigger a cart abandonment. It’s crucial that you keep your service and delivery fees as reasonable as possible, and that might even mean eating some of the cost yourself. A great example is restaurants that take orders and handle deliveries through a third-party provider like Uber Eats, GrubHub, or Seamless. Those services take as much as 30% of an order’s value. Attempting to recoup costs by increasing prices or tacking on crazy service fees is a surefire way to price yourself out of a customer’s dinner considerations.
Make Security a Top Priority
If you’re taking payments online, then you’re bound to follow certain security protocols set out by your payment processor and the card issuers. But your customers don’t necessarily know that. There is a large chunk of the population that still get squirmy about entering their credit card details online, so it’s important to make it very clear to your customers that your transaction processing is completely secure. If you’re using a third-party provider, they already do a great job of that. But if you handle payments through your own site, make sure you’re clearly advertising your security precautions, and use as many security features as you have available to you, like Verified by Visa and Mastercard Securecode.
Offer Loyalty Programs Online
If your restaurant offers an in-store loyalty program, make sure your customer can access it on your site, too; otherwise, they’re actually incentivized to avoid ordering online. You can also offer online-only loyalty programs that reward customers for providing you with their data, logging in, and allowing you to track that activity.
If you’re looking to expand your restaurant’s online ordering capabilities, but aren’t sure exactly how to do it, your best bet is to contact BAMS. BAMS is a leading merchant services provider in the foodservice industry, and our development managers can provide expert guidance on getting your ordering portal setup, getting PCI compliant, enabling loyalty programs, and avoiding the enormous fees charged by companies like GrubHub and Seamless.
Get in touch with a member of the team and find out how your restaurant can supercharge your online sales.