Did you know that online delivery orders could overtake phone orders sometime this year or in 2016? According to research from the NPD Group, 1.02 billion phone orders were placed versus 900 million online orders year-to-date as of May 2015. Online ordering is growing so fast that YTD orders already surpassed the 2014 total of 810 million. Your customers are making fewer phone calls in favor of going digital:
If your restaurant doesn’t offer online ordering or uses an incomplete digital solution, we invite you to contact us immediately to launch or bolster your online capabilities. It’s vital that you stay ahead of your competitors. If this closing gap isn’t enough to convince you, please also consider the following ten benefits of online ordering.
Firstly, what is online food ordering?
Also referred as web food ordering or restaurant e-commerce, online ordering software takes customer orders from a digital menu that is hosted on a website, processes payments, and transmits order details to the restaurant operator.
What are benefits of online ordering for restaurants and their customers?
1. Drive new business – Digital devices are ubiquitous and consumers are increasingly searching the web for places to eat or to order from. An online ordering website is an essential component of your sales funnel whereby it functions as the conversion point for your marketing efforts.
2. Encourage larger orders – A digital menu presents your food in a shopping interface that encourages your customers to easily add items to their cart, which typically leads to larger order sizes. For this reason, appetizer impulse-buying is far more common in online orders compared to phone orders. Online ordering is also popular for groups where including additional shareable appetizers is typical.
3. Upsell – Paper menus cannot clearly display all possible variations for each dish. In contrast, a digital dish listing can be customized for optional size upgrades, premium substitutions, up-charged toppings and condiments, all to increase your sales. Your online customers can take their time behind the screen to review all possibilities and to customize their perfect–and higher dollar–meal.
4. Grow repeat business – Online ordering systems enable you to build a database of customer contacts. Nurture loyalty by keeping in touch with your customers across multiple channels; reach out through promotional email, text messages, and mobile app push notifications.
5. Automate Order-Taking – Don’t ever miss an order because your phone line was busy. Similarly, online ordering frees your staff from the phone, enabling them to spend more time on the restaurant floor taking care of your dine-in customers. Your website effectively acts as a digital waiting staff that can scale to any order volume.
6. Minimize miscommunications – Words get lost during bad phone connections or in noisy environments. Online ordering leaves a digital trail and ensures that customer orders are accurate and prepared as desired. The end result is higher customer satisfaction.
7. Offer payment security – Online payment processing is safer than providing a credit card number over the phone or fax. A secure website offers a trustworthy outlet for your customers.
8. Conveniently update your menu – Are you adding new dishes or revising prices? Simply update in one interface to reflect changes on your website and mobile app.
9. Engage visually – Pictures of delicious dishes are a sure hit and valuable when a name and a description don’t entirely convey your culinary experience. Images may also encourage your customers to try new dishes the next time they order.
10. Accept alternative payment methods – With online ordering providers like Menufy, your customers can pay with the popular PayPal digital wallet and the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. All funds are wired to your bank account just like other customer credit card payments.
Takeout and delivery food ordering behavior is shifting from analog to digital. A website that facilitates online ordering is crucial to meet this trend and to satisfy your busy customers’ need for convenience and safety. On the restaurant side, drive new clientele, enjoy larger orders, and encourage repeat business, all while streamlining your takeout and delivery process. Your success depends on it.