With summer sizzling on and the pent-up demand for dining out at an all-time high, it’s easy to forget about the benefits of online ordering. But savvy operators know the importance of building and maintaining relationships with every guest, on- and off-premise, all year long. So it’s no wonder that more and more restaurants are turning their focus to technology solutions that can help them manage their takeout and delivery operations so that their guests’ dine-in experience doesn’t skip a beat.
With so many different options available and a multitude of factors to consider, choosing the right online ordering platform can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled – and answered – your most burning questions below. Read on to learn everything you need to know to make the right decisions about online ordering for your business.
1. WHY SHOULD WE OFFER ONLINE ORDERING AT ALL?
Because numbers don’t lie. There has been a massive uptick in online ordering over the past few years, and experts say it shows no signs of slowing down. With the global online food delivery market expected to surpass $150B with 1.6 billion users in 2021, now is the time to capitalize on these upward trends. And with more than a third of consumers paying upwards of $50 per order, the potential revenue capture has never been bigger.
2. WILL ONLINE ORDERING DILUTE MY BRAND?
Quite the opposite. With online ordering and on-premise operations running at the same time, you can reach customers looking for a night out on the town and those who would prefer to spend their evening at home on the couch. By casting a wider net, you not only broaden your brand reach; you grow your client database at the same time, opening up enormous opportunities for cross-selling, strategic customer segmentation, and hyper-targeted marketing campaigns.
3. HOW CAN I AVOID THIRD-PARTY COMMISSION FEES?
Fortunately not. We’ve all read horror stories of restaurants buckling under the crushing weight of third-party fees. It isn’t hard to see that – for all but a few corporate giants – the old online food delivery business model is broken. Yet many companies still insist on charging exorbitant commission fees and keeping the valuable guest data that comes along with every order, leaving restaurants with pennies on the dollar. Luckily, there are platforms that take an operator-first mentality, eliminating extra fees while making sure you always own your customer relationships.
4. SO WHO REALLY OWNS OUR GUEST DATA?
This is the
million billion dollar question! Certain companies may promise commission-free orders, but often if you read the fine print, you’ll notice there’s no mention of data ownership. That’s because operators are tacitly agreeing to pay with valuable customer data instead, allowing the corporate giant to essentially hijack the guest relationship in an effort to drive business towards their own online marketplace.
An illustrative example: Aaron places an order directly with Chez Miso through their third-party digital “storefront.” Chez Miso pays no commission on that order, yet the third-party platform doesn’t care if Aaron repeats this order again and again. Why? Because they now know Aaron’s email, address, and phone number, which means they can market directly to him, encouraging him to visit their website and order from any of the thousands of other restaurants in their marketplace.
5. BUT GIVEN THE POPULARITY OF MARKETPLACES, WHY SHOULD WE GO DIRECT?
Because it’s time to stop paying a digital landlord. Like all real estate, visibility in a third-party marketplace costs money – and data. With direct online ordering through your website and social media channels, you save significantly with each order. Your guests avoid the headache of downloading another app, while you keep the flexibility to arrange last-mile delivery on your terms, and even customize your offering to include things like meal kits or subscriptions. Plus, if you sync your customer outreach to an online ordering marketing calendar like this one, you’ll never miss an opportunity to boost your revenue.
6. WILL ONLINE ORDERING DISRUPT OUR ON-PREMISE SERVICE?
It doesn’t have to. Fully-integrated online ordering software lets you manage delivery and pickup orders alongside reservations, and sophisticated pacing tools ensure a smooth service on- and off-premise. With central menu management, you can easily design and update your menu with pictures, prices, modifiers and upsells. Plus, two-way SMS texting keeps you in constant communication with customers, while automated order status updates let you focus your attention on the dining room.
7. HOW CAN WE DRIVE REPEAT ORDERS?
Direct online ordering solutions allow you to collect an unprecedented amount of data that you can leverage to enhance the off-premise experience and retain more customers. Guest profile tags help you easily identify your online ordering “regulars”, big spenders and more. Segmenting your client database based on these insights opens up endless opportunities for personalized service and targeted marketing.
Book a demo today to learn how SevenRooms can help you save on direct orders, streamline operations, understand your guests and drive repeat business.