For restaurants, the past year has been transformative. In many cases, this meant the closing down of establishments that failed to adapt. Others managed to hang on by the fingernails, while some thrived in a new world. Now, whether your restaurant is new or a COVID survivor, there is no excuse for not having an effective order-in strategy.
While you can be successful with telephonic orders and orders made through delivery services, it is also worthwhile to have your own online ordering system. You can create a simple and effective system through Wix, without needing any knowledge of web development. This will give you all the functionality a restaurant needs, with the ability to showcase your menu in all its glory, allow patrons to reserve tables, and make the process of ordering takeout or deliveries streamlined.
There are some important things to keep in mind when moving to an online ordering system. Here are the 5 best practices your restaurant should follow.
Interactive Menu Items
Showcasing your menu in an attractive way is important. However, functionality is even more crucial. Your menu should have all the items with their prices, as usual, but your patrons should have the option to click on them for more info.
When they click on the menu items, they should see exactly what the item contains and any preferences they need to choose. They should be able to add the items straight to the cart from there.
If you cater to special requests on an item, that should be clear, along with any price difference they may have to cover.
Payment Options (and security)
When people are ordering items online, the biggest barrier that will keep them from completing the order is a lack of appropriate payment options. Cash on delivery might suit you, but patrons ordering in may not have cash available. On the other hand, you may want to avoid cash, but then you are losing customers who don’t have the option to pay via digital means.
At the very least, you should have card options while making a decision over whether cash is worth the trouble. Adding options such as PayPal can give customers wary of using your credit card payment portal a way to pay with peace of mind.
On that note, it is crucial that you share exactly how your website secures any payment information shared by customers. Without that transparency, many people would rather use one of the food delivery apps.
Online ordering systems are not just about ordering food delivery. Your ordering system can also give you functionality for table reservations. This is a great option to have both for you and the customer. From your side, every reservation is immediately logged into your calendar.
On the customer’s side, they don’t have to specify the details over the phone to someone they can barely hear for all the noise. They know that their details come through clearly and that the table will be waiting for them when they arrive. It is also clear to them that they have not been double booked and they can always check the details of their reservation.
Using an online ordering system of your own gives you some essential marketing advantages. It becomes easier than ever to ask customers to opt in to updates and offers from your restaurant. Since they are already submitting an online form, they are more likely to give you permission to send messages to their phones or email addresses.
With a mailing list, you can share every exciting update you have, reminding your customers that your restaurant is always an option while getting them pumped up for discounts and deals.
With the right kind of content delivered, you can even provide value with ideas of meals they can make, the nutritional benefits of certain foods, and guidelines on creating meal plans. This content will give them more reason to trust your restaurant and think of you when they want good food from good people.
Your online ordering system should not only serve customers who already know where they want to eat, but should also make it easy for new customers to find you. With SEO tools, you can optimize your website for search engines. By targeting people searching in your area, you open yourself up to a much wider customer base.
The type of content we mentioned before will also help in this regard, bringing in organic traffic from people nearby who are looking for informative articles.
Moving to your own online ordering system has a lot of benefits. You cut out the middleman, circumventing commissions and directly interacting with your customers. It provides you with a whole new means of customer service, while making it easier than ever to market effectively.