Online ordering is a must have for any restaurant, definitively for restaurant chains. There are many companies providing online ordering services, what is important and what should you keep in mind when choosing the right online solution for your restaurant.
Your customers walk into your restaurant and immediately they understand what your food is all about, your attention to the details when setting up the chairs, the wall hangings, the colors. It is critical to understand that the more inviting your restaurant is, the more your customers will want to eat, stay, remember your brand and come back. Your online experience is just as critical, it is the opportunity to make your customers feel what they would have felt if they were walking into one of your locations. Your online ordering site must give your brand, pictures, colors and wording a critical place in the online ordering process. An easily dismissed, simple gray, generic font website may be functional but definitely will not give your customers the best first impression to your brand.
Your menu is your product, you have probably defined it in at least 3 places (your POS, your print out menu, your Doordash / Uber eats / Grubhub aggregator site). Maintaining menus in all of these is a huge hassle, makes it hard to be dynamic, learn from your customers’ behaviours and implement changes quickly. It is vital that your menu be managed in one place and changes to the menu will be automatically rolled out to your customer facing menus. Manually building or making changes to your online ordering menu is an archaic solution, it causes failures in orders, incorrect printing, incorrect pricing and basically a big mess in the kitchen. Your only viable online ordering solutions are the solutions which auto-sync with your point of sale.
When you were small, back when you opened your first location and knew everyone who walked into your store, it was easy to make the regulars feel like they were your regulars. They came often, and making them feel special made them come even more often: loyalty 1.0.1. Somebody coming back to your location in itself is very significant to your business, your customers have many options to choose from, and deciding to come back is a compliment to your product. Now, with more than that one location, your only way of showing your regulars that you know they are your regulars is by building a loyalty program. It is important to understand that your loyalty program must work seamlessly and holistically throughout all of your platforms, so if you define that in every 10th visit your customers get a free smoothie, visits must be counted in store and online, and the free smoothie must be redeemable both online and in store. Building a loyalty program which is only available for customers who visit through a specific channel defies the point of the loyalty program, if you don’t prefer in-store customers over online customers, there is no reason why benefits should be given only in-store. Conclusion: your online ordering must include and be part of your loyalty program, and even enhance the experience of the loyalty of your restaurant.
The industry leaders here are of course Domino’s Pizza, who have created an amazing fully custom-made online experience for their customers. But, for those of you who don’t have millions of dollars or the time to invest in building and developing your own custom product, there are white label solutions available for a monthly fee. Using Appfront, you can build a custom solution complete with all of the recommendations listed above and much more, get a product comparable to Domino’s for a monthly subscription price today.
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