The Ultimate Guide to Online Ordering for Restaurants

The Ultimate Guide to Online Ordering for Restaurants

In December 2020, 20% of total US restaurants had closed and 40% of existing restaurants were expected to close within the next 6 months without government assistance.

Restaurants are having a hard time getting back on their feet after a tough season of closures and restrictions.

But, let’s not focus on the bad, let’s focus on how these constant changes have provided a huge opportunity for restaurants to rethink how they serve their customers. One of the still new, but fastly becoming normal approaches to revamping the restaurant in current conditions is online ordering.

By offering customers the option to order food online you will be able to gather customer contact information which will be useful for remarketing. You can also learn about your customers’ habits and preferences so you can make personalized recommendations and have the opportunity to upsell when those customers return. These personalized touches will create an emotional attachment for the customer and your restaurant which will automatically increase the lifetime value of your customers. Also, the accuracy that online ordering provides when integrated with your current POS decreases stress on your staff to give correct order customization as well as having to remember your total menu and promotions. That means less training required for the staff and less accidents, both of which save money.

This Ultimate Guide will walk you through every step of integrating online food ordering into your current system.

But first, let’s discuss . . .

Why should your restaurant offer online ordering?

A lot of change can be credited to good ol’ COVID-19. Approximately 33% of new online food ordering customers were motivated by the pandemic. Before 2020, digital ordering made up only 10% of the market. By April 2020, there was a 51% increase in Delivery App downloads compared to March and by November 2020 digital ordering had jumped to consume 28% of the market. So what could be causing this trend?

It all starts with your customer expectations. Online orders combined with no contact check out, pick up, or delivery options allows minimal outside contact and can be a safer option for people who are tired of eating instant rice and peanut butter at home. Customers' attitudes post pandemic consist of still wanting to eat in at a restaurant as well as having a greater interest in healthy foods, fast food, and delivery and pick up options.  But let’s not give all the credit to the infamous virus. Millennials make 60% of their purchases online and they prioritize brands that offer a seamless digital experience. People are expecting restaurants to keep up with the times. In fact, 31% of diners report that the restaurants they eat at are lagging behind in technology.

Even if your customers are from diverse generations, today, all of your customers are becoming accustomed to restaurants having an online ordering option. Smartphone orders, in general, are now a $38 billion dollar industry. 69% of consumers have ordered food online with their mobile device.  Add it all up and you’ll discover revenue from online ordering in the United States has increased by 20.2% where it now sits at $26.5 million.

Things are happening fast for businesses who figured all this out early. Chipotle experienced a digital sales growth from 20% in late 2019 to 60% in the 2nd quarter of 2020. Wingstop saw their sales jump from 30% to 60% in the same time period.

It only gets better from there, (if you're on the right side of the game). 40% of customers expect to spend more on pick up or delivery over the next 6 months. The industry is expected to grow to $32.4 million by 2025 and by then online ordering should represent 30% of orders.

Technology has the ability to help restaurants overcome a lot of logistical problems. If your competition does not already have an online food ordering system, and you do, you will be winning over the competition. Online food ordering is becoming a standard, because customers want the option of relaxing in a restaurant for a while or sometimes they just don't have time or don't want to. Customers want the option of delivery or pick up. For this reason, online food delivery has experienced the largest amount of growth in the sector with a market volume of over $58M in 2019.

60% of United States consumers order delivery or takeout once a week. Online food ordering restaurants can be more profitable than traditional ones. 34% of consumers spend at least $50 per order when ordering food online. 20% of consumers say they spend more on off-premise orders compared to a regular dine-in experience. Digital ordering as well as delivery has grown 3 times more in less time than regular dine-in transactions since 2014. You don’t have to worry about the digital world taking all the loyalty out of things because 70% of consumers say they’d rather their money go directly to the restaurant instead of a third party when ordering food. This guide will tell you how to avoid third party players while still being able to play the online food ordering game.

There is a lot to learn here if you are starting from scratch, but our ultimate guide to online ordering should be able to get you started.

Great digital Menu

Great Digital Menu

Just like in Restaurant Foundations 101, the basics of online ordering start with the menu. New customers will want to look at your menu online before going to your restaurant. For this reason, you should have your restaurant menu on your website, Google My Business listing, social media, and any food ordering platforms. 

Digital menus are famous for restaurants offering dining experiences because the customer avoids touching physical menus that are passed around. Instead of paper menus, many restaurants use QR codes or NFC technology to let customers seamlessly navigate to digital menus on their devices. Giving customers options that limit their risk lets them know you value their safety and allows for everyone to return to a sense of normalcy. 

You are building your digital menu grants you the opportunity to reevaluate your offerings to provide an experience most suitable for your staff and customers. Here are some best practices for a digital menu for restaurants!

  1. Analyze your menu's profitability. It would be best if you looked at everything from price, to descriptions, to general offerings. Consider repricing items to make items more competitive under new conditions. 
  2. Begin serving menu items that were limited during the pandemic. 
  3. Center your menu around a single core item and comfort foods. 
  4. Make sure you focus on value items first and then upsell from there. 
  5. Streamline everything. Please don't overdo it with categories; maybe reduce offering numbers for online orders.
  6. If your restaurant is offering delivery, maybe avoid including dishes that won't travel well. Consider staying on-trend and adding popular food items like meal kits that customers can take away to cook at home.
  7. Reinvent your menu to capitalize on food trends. The nice thing about digital menus is that you can seamlessly change them and continue adding and removing items to keep up with what's cool.
  8. Add ingredient, allergen, and nutritional information to your digital menu.

A trend that isn't going away anytime soon is the customers' power to evaluate their dishes' nutritional value. By including ingredient, allergen, and nutritional information in your menu, you enable customers to choose foods within their dietary restrictions. This is crucial because otherwise, individuals with these restrictions may not eat at your restaurant for risk of eating something they are trying to avoid.

When building your new digital menu, keep in mind how your customer will experience the menu. What are they looking for? They want to see high-quality photos, in-depth descriptions, and options that fit their personal preferences. Optimize your menu to showcase your meals. While updating your menu, be sure it is suitable to be the central component of your restaurant website. It should be easy to locate. The menu's descriptions should be thorough but concise. Your menu should be complete so that consumers don't feel they are missing out on something by using an online food ordering system. Keep your online menu up to date to avoid any confusion or out-of-stock orders. Is your menu complete with this information?

Personalizing the restaurant menu

Personalizing the restaurant menu

Online ordering gives the customer a chance to spend more time with the menu. 20% of consumers say they spend more on off-premise orders compared to a regular dine-in experience. So, take the steps to make recommendations. AI technology can empower you to make incredible and accurate recommendations based on dietary restrictions, taste preferences, location, and even the weather.

By making menu options personalized, the customer will feel like a “regular.” To do this digitally, you will have to implement developments that allow customers to create their own identities on your system. You will then want to personalize offers using data from known interests, order history, and location. Use AI systems to create custom menus as well as tailoring menus to the day, hour, and season.

Here are a few ways you can optimize your menu and encourage upselling:

  1. Starting with a budget-friendly core food item like french fries and then offer ideal pairings from your menu.
  2. Categorize trending foods like plant-based items in easy-to-identify lists.
  3. Make the allergen and ingredient labels concise and easy to read.
  4. Offer foods that are difficult to replicate at home.
  5. Only include menu items that travel well if the order is for delivery or takeout.
  6. Use combo pairings to give a better value for money.
  7. Produce meal kits that let customers experiment with special ingredients or cuisines at home.
  8. Personalize based on previous orders, ask if they'd like to repeat an order and make changes to similar dishes.
  9. Personalize pricing menu items and regional dishe..
  10. Let customers build their own dishes by picking out ingredients.

36% of consumers say they expect to be able to save their payment information in the app, and 39% expect to be able to save their previous orders and their favorite menu items. When someone has ordered from you before using your online ordering system, save that information and speed up the ordering process the next time they visit your restaurant. Ask them if they would like to order the same thing and give them the option to change it up. You can also make recommendations based on what their tastes or preferences might be because you know what they have chosen in the past.
For instance, in 2015, Dominos enabled customers to order a pizza in seconds using an emoji on Twitter. Customers had to create a Domino’s Pizza Profile and link it to their Twitter handle. The feature was designed so users are able to re-order their Easy Order by simply tweeting #EasyOrder or the pizza emoji to @Dominos.

Also, in 2014, Chipotle encouraged guests to make their own burritos. This strategy moved up their sales graph from 11.6% to 17.5%. When entering Chipotle’s app, the first question they ask you after logging in is if you would like to reorder what you had last time and they give you the option to change it up without having to start over.

As personalized menus become a norm, collecting information on customers in a digital format will be a need and not only a luxury.

Google My Business Integration

Google My Business Integration

77% of people search for restaurants online before visiting. A few things they look for: restaurant address & location, reviews and whatever they can find about the restaurant that enables them to make a better choice.

A great way to promote your restaurant's website is by creating your Google My Business Listing. Be sure to claim your Google My Business listing. Update it with your complete address, opening & closing hours, your contact information or a link to your online ordering system. It’s also a good idea to continue updating your Google My Business profile with recent photos of your restaurant and food. If you have a new item in your menu or a new offer, post an update about that too. More recent updates creates an active Google My Business profile which means better rankings & more online searchers will see you while searching for restaurants nearby.

Having your Google My Business listing up to date is a must when you want your brand to be search engine friendly.

Chatbot

Chatbot

Orders placed online are on average 20% larger than in- restaurant purchases. Why might that be? It’s because online technology can upsell. Also, the customer is uninhibited by the waiter's availability to take their order or rushing them to make a decision. This means they have more time to study the menu. So what if you replaced the waiter with a chatbot? Adding a chatbot to your restaurant’s website is a great convenience for your customers and will ultimately increase sales. It may seem weird to put a robot in charge of speaking to your customers online but restaurant chatbots can actually create a seamless and enjoyable experience for your customers and your staff. For this reason, 80% of businesses wanted to be using chatbots for consumer facing products by 2020.

Specifically, chatbots for restaurants provide a lot of great benefits for everyone involved. Customers on your website can order food online in a more engaged & conversational manner, reserve a table, and find out the best location nearest them (if you're a chain) with no wait time. A restaurant chatbot is unstoppable; it’s on 24/7 and can handle any amount of customers with no wait time. They use NLP (natural language processing) - a form of artificial intelligence, so customers can have natural conversations with the chatbot.

The chatbot experience gets more patrons in the door and keeps people coming back. These little robot waiters can create a seamless, enjoyable customer experience by advertising promotions more widely and they can even gather leads for catering events.Chatbots can also advertise promotions one on one with customers and even help them place catering and event orders.

If you integrate a chatbot on your website you can experience more accurate reservations, save time, have a better customer service, save resources, simplify delivery, takeaway and table service, ask for feedback, and nurture customers by getting their personal information such as email, location, and phone numbers. Chatbots for restaurants nurture customers by promoting special deals using email, text messaging, and instant messenger platforms. The data you collect through chatbot interactions will be invaluable when it comes to remarketing and personalization efforts. Restaurant chatbots can make personalized food recommendations using previous purchase information. They can follow up with customers and ask for feedback. Their ability to instantly communicate with customers allows them to create a simplified table service, delivery, and takeaway experience.

Chatbots are a huge time saver. With a little robot working for you on your website, you will be able to understand market demand better, provide constant availability and fast responses, as well as reduce customer service costs. You can change the role of your chatbot depending on your goal. There are many opportunities to send promotional messaging and upsell. This one-time investment in restaurant chatbot gives you an incredible ability to engage with customers, attract new customers and increase customer loyalty all while saving on your money and workforce effort.

Restaurant website - Optimized for user experience

Restaurant Website

If you forget everything in this blog, the most important fact you should remember is 77% of your customers will visit your restaurant website before going to your restaurant. That means there is a large conversion opportunity so be ready to warm up your e-commerce game. E-commerce for your restaurant is a whole lot easier and more affordable than it used to be.

Having a restaurant website with online ordering optimized for customer experience acts as a digital storefront. Consumers prefer to order directly from the brand’s mobile option versus a third party option, so it's a must to have a mobile optimized restaurant website with online ordering.

Here are some best practices for a restaurant website design!

  1. Once again, think from the customers’ perspective. When they arrive at your website, what should they see? Where should they click first?
  2. Start with a minimalist restaurant website design with up to date information and development.
  3. Immediately announce your online ordering system on your website.
  4. Incentivize ordering online for example, “Get $5 off when you order food online.”
  5. Use pop-up ads to drive users to begin an order or enlist in email.
  6. Use Google or Apple autocomplete wherever possible.
  7. You can funnel traffic directly to your digital menu where they can then place an extremely accurate, customizable order.
  8. Offer an intuitive search to improve user experience.
  9. Have ingredients & nutritional tags on your menu so users can search for foods with certain ingredients or qualities.
  10. Add text fields for customers to leave notes to the staff for any particularities.
  11. Include a progress bar so users can see how long the progress will take.
  12. Don’t forget to include suggestions for relevant upsells and add ons.

You can also get creative here using online ordering. Use your website to sell merchandise, meal kits, event tickets, catering, and gift cards. Promote your newsletter and implement opt-in boxes to grow your email list. Gather information about your customers using feedback forms and remembering their past orders. These little tweaks in your system are expected for restaurants in this day and age, and you can use the platform to skyrocket your sales.

If your restaurant is small you may be able to get away with using your website as a sole online ordering system. In this guide we will give you several examples of how to set up online ordering without hiring a third party. We caution against using third party systems because they can come with high commission costs. However, you can significantly expand your reach by hiring a third party platform.

Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing a third-party system!

  1. When choosing a third-party system, consider their ability to customize your platform to best represent your brand. 
  2. How easily can their system be integrated into your POS system? 
  3. Compare the fees of several services before choosing. 
  4. How are they able to offer promotional support and marketing offers? 
  5. Do you have access to your customers’ data preferences and demographics? 
  6. Be careful to find an ordering provider that doesn’t charge commissions. 

Third-party commissions will usually suck up to 25% of your profits. But 70% of customers will prefer to order directly from you instead of the third party app. By using your own online food ordering system, you will avoid fees and can hire a developer. You will also remain in control of your brand and visuals. Whether you choose to hire a developer or not, to have 90% of your orders be online just maintain your website and make it mobile friendly. It’s best to grant your customers choices to ensure they discover an arrangement that's most helpful for them and so they don’t switch over to one of your competitors. There’s no question that third-party apps are great to create leads and pick up permeability but they charge crippling commissions up to 35%. For this reason, we suggest a methodology that combines third-party apps along with your online ordering system. This way, your faithful clients will order from your site (commission-free) and you may be able to capture more potential clients and inevitably incentivize them to utilize your website.

While converting your restaurant into a digital system decide the best options for entering or exiting certain markets and shifting strategies. To develop this seamless creation of digital automation, you should:

  1. Update all operating procedures
  2. Safely store analytical data in a cloud-based system 
  3. Clean up procedures to make labor processes more efficient. 
  4. Use your collected data to send personalized messages to loyal customers. 
  5. Send time sensitive offers to customers who left during the pandemic.
  6. Consistently keep new pandemic driven customers in constant contact using social media, email, search ads, loyalty programs, and local mass media. 
  7. Implement printed promotions.
  8. Let your customers know you are ready and listening and you need their support.  
  9. Leverage data throughout the company lifecycle. 
  10. React quickly by identifying pain points and using technology to solve problems.
  11. Collect data when using digital orders to optimize decision making. 

The end goal when creating your website optimized for online food ordering is to create an enjoyable experience for the customer. Here are some things to keep in mind when optimizing your restaurant website. 

  1. Configure your restaurant's website with strong contact information.
  2.  You can make finding your restaurant easier by embedding google maps. 
  3. Have clear links to online ordering throughout your website, social media, and mobile ordering apps, and even food ordering with Google. 
  4. Share your story on your website. 
  5. Include quality food pictures, a clear direction to your menu, promote specials. 
  6. Keep your branding and logos consistent throughout. 
  7. Provide a way to gather customer reviews. Include links to social media accounts and the ability to sign up for a newsletter. 
  8. And most importantly, make the site mobile-friendly.

Search Engine Optimization & Schema.org

Search Engine Optimization

Now that your restaurant website is popping, you need to make sure it's discoverable. Search Engine Optimization or SEO is a way of strategizing your website's content so that search engines, like Google, will be more likely to suggest your website to a user as a top search result.

You can optimize your website using popular keywords within your blogs and titles. Use resources like SpyFu or Google Keyword planner to discover these keywords. You will want to include both highly popular and more modestly popular keywords to increase your chances of being discovered organically via search engines.

The biggest opportunity for a restaurant is the local SEO. You can optimize your website to appear in search results for any local searches related to restaurants. For example, ‘restaurants near me’, ‘French restaurants near me’, ‘order keto food near me.’ Any search terms that a customer can use to search for a restaurant like yours, that’s what you need to win on.  You can also partner with other sites to increase your visibility. Collaborating on blogs or having your restaurant reviewed or reported on by a local blog could really benefit your website’s SEO. Customer reviews are really important when it comes to SEO. So be sure to push for your customers to leave reviews on Google, Facebook, and any other review sites new customers may be lurking on.

Take advantage of digital advertising, Google ads, Facebook ads, social media, and location targeting. Use geofencing display ads to drive online orders from nearby customers. Use time-sensitive coupons for people nearby.

A vibrant social media presence can improve your SEO as well. Spread the word on social media, inform current customers and attract new customers. Leverage social media to promote your online food ordering system. Show off your food as well as your staff. Promote your restaurant on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Facebook & Instagram offers a shop now button that you can link to your online ordering system. Promote on instagram, IG stories, Instagram Live, Reels. Tell your story and reveal your passion. You could even create your own unique hashtag that shows off your restaurant's feed and encourages customers to share their experience with your restaurant using your hashtag. Be sure to link all of your social media channels to your online menu. Just think, a user could be scrolling on instagram, see your post, head to your page, click your link and begin an order. Offer social media only special offers so you can track where your customers are connecting with you. Social media is a great way for restaurants to connect with customers because many more people have been using it since the pandemic.

With proper search engine optimization and strategy, it’s easy… if you take action before all the restaurant owners near you realize the same thing & start giving you tough competition. The early-bird advantage alone can bring you a lot of business.

Text Messaging

Text Messaging

Text messages are opened 70% more often than email. Collect your customer phone numbers to communicate more actively with them. You can use text messaging systems to alert customers of the status of their order, timely promotions, and reminders. You can also set up an ordering system via text messaging much like chatbots. Texthood lets users text a number to start an order. Text Restaurants sends users custom messages and lets users respond with pre-formulated quick response buttons.

It's surprisingly easy to get your customers to convert to this form of ordering. According to Technomic’s 2018 Takeout & Off-Premise Consumer Trend Report, 29% of diners would order via text message, including 40% of 18- to 34-year-olds. Once again you’ll want to make sure your text messaging efforts are linked with your POS system so everything is cohesive and automated. Text messaging is an effective way to reward your guests, streamline your online ordering process, and generate customer feedback.

Gamification

Gamification

34% of the world plays video games. Video games have an immense power to motivate users because it taps into our distinct drive for competition, exploration, curiosity, reward, recognition, status, and achievement. It is surprisingly easy for restaurants to harness this same instinctual motivation using gamification. Only restaurants have the power to hook customers with real rewards instead of virtual ones. Restaurant gamification is built on rewarding points. Users who get rewarded as a result of gamification do not want to lose those particular rewards and will continue doing whatever it takes to retain them. This creates an emotional connection between your restaurant and the customer in which case the customer’s value increases as much as 27%. Having a gamification system in place is a way of telling your customers, “If you do that, I’ll give you this.” Make sure you are generous with your rewards and not just offering “the chance to win something.” Make it worth their time. These tactics of reward will build customer loyalty, retain the attention of a new customer, and increase sales raising profit margins.

Time sensitive offers cause customers to spend more than they would normally. An example of a time related discount would be to tell a first time customer to return within a week after their first visit for a 20% discount. Normally, the customer might not have planned to return so soon. If you limit an offer to a given time frame, the time constraint will require the customer to make a decision faster. The sense of urgency results in the customer spending more in a shorter period of time.

A referral program promotes the willingness of word of mouth marketing. It rewards the efforts of your customers to bring in their friends. Use gamification to attract and build a larger loyal fan-base on social media. You could do this by rewarding customers for sharing their experience. For example, if a user tags your restaurant in an instagram post of them and their friends having brunch at your cafe, you could share their post on your instagram story and maybe even send them a coupon for a half of coffee. These types of rewards will encourage people to continue to share their experiences at your restaurant with their friends.

A multi level incentive program can be used in gamification. Take steps to develop programs where one call to action met by your customers leaves you with several benefits. For example, ask customers to share their honest feedback. Incentivize reviews using generous offers such as coupons or freebies. When they complete the review you will benefit in three ways.

  1. You will be able to pinpoint ways to improve your service.
  2. You will make your customers feel heard and appreciated.
  3. You can also use positive reviews for marketing purposes. 

Another form of gamification is the loyalty program. The ”Achieving Big Customer Loyalty in a Small Business World” concluded that loyal customers spend 67% more per purchase than new ones. The traditional approach is to use stamps and punch cards that can be collected by customers every time they make a purchase and when they reach the goal of (let’s say) 10 stamps, you reward them with a free item. This is just an example, but lots of restaurants are using these loyalty programs to motivate their current customers to return more often. Reward cards help you gain repeat business because they motivate your customers to continue returning to your restaurant. Receiving a stamp for buying a personal pizza creates instant gratification. Collecting points with the goal of eventually redeeming them for percentage discounts leads to repetitive behavior. Offer a rewards or point system and create channels to send them reminders to interact with your restaurant.

60% of loyalty members will use a brand’s app compared to 5% of all users. In this mindset, you can begin to treat customer loyalty as currency. Drive repeating business using loyalty programs. Let regular customers reorder quickly by saving their previous orders. You should encourage customers to download your app or interact with your other marketing materials because it will create loyalty in the long term. Give these customers exclusive offers, incentivize online orders, or other actions specific to the marketing channel they are using. Reward customers for ordering ahead, making reservations, or for sharing their experience on social media. You can also offer first-time customers a reward to welcome them.

73% of diners believe that tech is what’s needed to improve their experience and 31% of diners report that the restaurants they eat at are lagging behind in technology. The new take on loyalty punch cards is the NFC card. Back in the summer of 2011, the Korean Times reported that Korean coffee shop chain Café Bene became the first merchant to introduce an NFC-based coupon system that provided customers with a loyalty “stamp” with each visit. Customers with NFC phones would simply place their handsets close to the NFC touchpad to receive instant coupons for free coffee that they could redeem at their next visit.

Online ordering allows you to make this a little more fun. For example, the Starbucks loyalty program allows you to collect points through the app as well as order and pay. Needless to say it's paying off because Starbucks saw a 26% rise in profits and 11% in revenue. If you don’t have the capital to pay for a new app to be developed, but you want to up your game from paper punches and stamps, you could try using NFC cards to keep track of rewards.

61% of consumers say that they would rather purchase food at a restaurant than a grocery store, simply because of the experience. So why not enhance the experience with virtual and augmented reality? Augmented and Virtual Reality can transform customer experience within the food and drink market. Virtual renderings of food can be used to create a hyper realistic menu. AI marketing campaigns under human supervision can increase campaign performance by 15%. Or you could use AR Gifting where the customer scans a code or signage or marketing material to bring up a menu of items and dishes to gift, recipients open the gift through an augmented reality experience. Snapchat filters can show customers your restaurant's dishes by creating immersive virtual experiences.

Branding games can become fully immersive and used to create multi sensory experiences. Here are a few examples:

  1. Skullmapping, created small scale visual mappings. ‘Le Petit Chef’ tells the story of a small animated chef who is projected onto diners’ plates and proceeds to ‘cook’ their food, on their plates in front of them.
  2. Treasury Wine Estate partnered with a development company to create living labels. When the customer scanned the label with their phone, they would see the character become animated and speak to them.
  3. Pokemon Go is in the process of establishing waypoints within partnering businesses to drive traffic to sponsored establishments.
  4. In 2015, Patron Tequila launched a 360-degree video utilizing Oculus Rift technology. The video shows how tequila is made from harvesting to distillation.
  5. Burger King recently launched an app allowing users to virtually burn ads from burger competitors.

These are only a few examples of how VA can create excitement when a consumer experiences a brand. The idea of virtual reality is still new and customers perceive a wow factor that they will remember, share, and want to experience again. 3-dimensional menus are popping up and eventually there will be 4D menus. Experiential dining will take on a whole new meaning once virtual dining becomes mainstream. Just think you could be in your home town, but for one hour, you look around and you're eating on a terrace in France.

The barrier to mass adoption of AR and VR includes the cost, the limited choice of vendors, and the requirement of equipment. AR and VR technology is very expensive. Most setups require custom software. Only a few vendors monopolize the AR and VR space. While augmented reality can be leveraged on a smartphone, virtual reality requires specific equipment,

AR experiences might be possible for your restaurant right now, but in the next 10 years, it's going to be a must-have.

Gamification builds off a reward system that builds customer loyalty, increases retention rate, and increases sales. Not to mention the endless opportunity for shareable social experiences. With a good strategy in place, you can satisfy the customers needs, increase customers' spend per visit, and incentivize more frequent visits.

Contactless ordering

Contactless orderning

Despite the slow progress we are making towards our new normal, safety is still a primary concern for consumers.If you can make your customers feel safe and comfortable when ordering food online from your restaurant, they will most likely return to guarantee that same experience. Taking steps to provide contactless ordering can be a great way to create a safe transaction.

Online ordering includes digital menus as well as the ability to submit an order and pay for it from the comfort of your home or vehicle. Since dining rooms are being held to strict room capacity standards, adding pick up and delivery services to your offerings ensures a no- contact experience that can keep your kitchen running. For this reason the delivery market share jumped from 7% in 2019 to 20% in 2020. 

A good contactless ordering system will give you and your customers  the following benefits:

  1. Reduced wait time
  2. Easier transactions
  3. Enhanced customer analytics
  4. Real-time decisions with seating, staffing, and specials
  5. Social marketing efforts that prompt real-time sharing
  6. Interactive reviews
  7. Customized promotions

Here are steps you can take to ramp up your contactless ordering capabilities: 

  1. Launch your online ordering system. 
  2. Let customers navigate to the menu and ordering system via QR Codes or NFC stickers.
  3. Customize menus based on user preferences or current conditions for faster ordering.
  4. Include nutritional content and the ability to customize orders.
  5. Allow diners to request the assistance of a waiter and the check to be delivered.
  6. Include contactless payment in your online and in-store capabilities using mobile transactions and NFC cards.
  7. Invest in packaging that looks good and preserves the food during travel time.
  8. Set up a pick up system inside the restaurant and train staff.
  9. Set up delivery systems, hire staff, and make contactless delivery and available options or hire third party delivery services that provide contactless delivery.
  10. Have alerts in place for delivery and service times so customers know when they can expect their food.
  11. Enroll customers in promotional messaging programs.

Contactless payment options can provide exceptional experiences when implementing contactless ordering for restaurants. Mobile payments can let customers order and pay from their phone. QR code and NFC payments can make navigating to online ordering systems more efficient. According to a new report from Juniper Research, the NFC retail payments market is set to surpass $180 billion globally by 2017, with North America, Western Europe and the Far East making up 90% of the market value. In these geographic regions, more than one in four mobile device users will pay in-store using an NFC-equipped device by 2017. Are you ready to digitize your customer experience and provide contactless ordering options?

Why restaurants need to include nutritive value in their menu

why restaurants need to include nutritive value in their menu

In 2018, the FDA established rules stating that restaurants must present the caloric value of foods in the same way that retail food establishments are required. Not only is caloric value an important add-on for your menu, but whole nutritional information can be incredibly valuable for your customers. Adding nutritional information on your menu meets consumer demands for healthy decision making power. Having the option to make choices that suit their dietary needs will create loyalty and bring in new customers which will ultimately increase revenue.

People are becoming more and more aware of calorie counting, macronutrient, and even micronutrient value. Even children like exploring different nutrition dishes. If you’re not sure how much detail you should put in your nutritional information, ask your customers using online surveys and data you can gather from your website’s analytics.

Right now, veganism is a growing trend and preference for many people and if you can’t meet their needs you are missing out on their business. Also, there are a lot of people with different kinds of strict dietary restrictions that would like to be able to eat out. If you can serve these people you will be able to widen your audience. By displaying detailed nutritional information, you are letting your customers know that you are committed to their health. Are you empowering your customers to make healthier choices?

Personalizing the customer experience.

Lastly, we recommend personalizing customer experience. A strategy you can consider putting to the test is shifting the focus from customer segmentation, which isn’t really efficient in real time, to identifying distinct identifiable contexts where customers have unique needs that drive demand. Instead of grouping customers based on demographics or psychographics, bring your attention to creating outcomes or meeting certain use cases.

Personalizing the customer experience