While in-person and phone orders may make up most of your operations, they also require a great amount of labor – employees must take each order and confirm that they have entered it correctly, often going back and forth several times.
Your restaurant business should not be limited to those two options. By giving existing and prospective customers the capability to place quick, convenient orders from home (without complicating things over the phone), restaurants can give them an easier way to engage with customers.
That’s why modern restaurants are freeing their employees and their phone lines by implementing online ordering services that seamlessly integrate with their POS system. Depending on the platform, online ordering also enables restaurants to showcase their menu and leverage customer databases and email marketing.
Create a customer database
Restaurants with online ordering can leverage customer databases to improve their marketing campaigns. When setting up an online ordering program, restaurants usually require customers to give their name and email address. This allows restaurants to create a customer database of names and emails to leverage for email marketing. If your restaurant offers delivery, then you will also be able to store information about a customer’s location – a great opportunity to segment your customer list by zip code or delivery zone.
Email marketing and mobile apps
Email and mobile apps are crucial to online ordering. Modern consumers expect to be able to engage with restaurants with their smartphones – after all, they use their smartphones to do many of their other daily tasks. Restaurants can use email to notify customers when there are new delivery deals available, such as a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée. And a mobile app can allow customers to view menu items and place orders. These emails serve as a reminder of their discounted online ordering opportunities.
Promote on the phone
Unfortunately, calling businesses is usually an unnecessarily long, drawn-out process. The phone gets passed from employee to employee, who each have to finish what they are doing before making their way to the phone. And when paying with their card, customers have to take the time to slowly read off the number and expiration date.
So when customers call with inquiries or to place an order, employees – or a hold message – can remind them that ordering online would be quicker. Not only are they likely to oblige, this will help restaurants free up their phone lines to address questions and comments that can’t be taken care of in the online ordering platform.
Promote in person
How will your regular in-store customers know you offer online ordering if you don’t tell them? Make sure they’re aware of your online ordering platform and how to access it. And the more you promote it, the better – it may take customers a while to warm up to the idea or they may forget about it if they’ve only heard about it once.
A good way to promote your online ordering platform is to print the link on menus and boxes, as well as invite your employees to mention it during interactions with customers. That way, customers who are used to ordering in the physical store or restaurant can also order online when they don’t feel like making the trip.
Offer an incentive
To get customers to try out the platform, offer them a reason for doing so. For example, consider offering free delivery for online orders. Chances are that the monetary and operational benefits of freeing your phone lines and staff members – not to mention the increase in orders – will be worth waiving the charge.
Online ordering is an undeniable aspect of the future of restaurants – customers are using their computers and mobile devices more and more every day, especially to complete everyday tasks.