With cold weather and new indoor dining restrictions approaching, online ordering will be the primary revenue source for many restaurants. Historically, popular events and holidays drive restaurant sales up 306% for both in-house and online orders*. Today, diners are more determined than ever to celebrate special occasions, especially from home.
We want to make sure your restaurant is prepared for 2021, so we have put together a promotional calendar and five tips to help you:
- Optimize your online ordering presence
- Promote your offerings early & across your channels
- Prep your culinary team for events
- Implement new marketing strategies
2021 TOP ONLINE ORDERING MOMENTS
Up Your Pickup Game
Optimize your pickup procedures to be as streamlined as possible. Give guests confidence in your safety and ordering protocols and they’ll be back again.
- Have a dedicated staff member to greet guests and handle phone inquiries.
- Clearly mark the designated pickup area to expedite the pickup process, keep guests distanced, and avoid disrupting dine-in service.
- Maintain an open line of communication for guest questions and complaints via telephone, email, or social media. Make sure guests can reach your restaurant and employees are trained to handle these situations, as a positive experience is more likely to lead to a repeat order.
Bonus: Invest in technology that allows the entire ordering, payment, and pickup process to be done smoothly and virtually. Choose a partner that allows diners to input car details and pay in advance to facilitate a faster pickup, and integrates SMS alerts when an order is ready.
GET CREATIVE WITH MENUS
Review your PMIX report to see which dishes sell best during these holidays, and develop your takeout menu around those items. Include interactive items that allow guests to add the finishing touch. Think: ready-to-reheat Christmas turkeys, do-it- yourself dim sum for Chinese New Year, and DIY cocktail kits for Oscar viewing parties.
- Add large meal kits or beverage bundles to your takeout menu to help diversify your revenue streams.
- Finding it difficult to translate a fine dining menu into takeaway? Create dishes that bring your hospitality home, like serving your signature truffle fried chicken in a branded bucket for Superbowl Sunday, or turning your sommelier’s wine and cheese pairing into a take-home option for Valentine’s Day.
- Don’t forget to call attention to your offerings. Create new menu categories such as “Football Specials” or “NYE Packages” so these stand out from your traditional online menu categories.
Bonus: Make it exclusive by offering a limited number of these options available for presale on your online ordering website and watch the orders roll in.
Update your websites, menus and social channels with your promotions to make sure your digital audience is in the know well in advance of the holiday or event.
- Website popups make sure your offers are seen by everyone who visits your page - just don’t forget a clear “Order Now” call-to-action.
- Digital directory listings, like Yelp, allow you to promote holiday offerings at no cost, so update your listings with these details.
- Share offers on social media in advance, with engaging stories and posts, to give followers ample time to plan ahead.
- Paid social ads, even with a small budget, go a long way when they’re hyper-targeted to guests living within takeout-distance. Link directly to order to make it easy for diners.
- Enhance your website SEO to make your restaurant more discoverable by adding in keywords related to these events, such as “Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home”.
- Create specific email campaigns to communicate your promotions to guests in your database.
Bonus: Stage a photoshoot of these offerings, or use high-quality stock imagery, for digital content. Captivating photos can give you the extra edge, especially when many restaurants are competing for the same diner pool.
PROMOTE ANYWHERE AND EVERYWHERE
Customer retention is much cheaper than new customer acquisition when you have a captive audience. When customers are engaged, your promotions should be front and center.
- Use table tents and check presenters to promote specials within your restaurant. This applies to gift card promotions, takeout options, and holiday and event offers.
- Keep your takeout diners coming back for more by placing promotional flyers in all to-go bags to reach existing loyal guests at home.
- Improve visibility to passersby, either drivers or pedestrians, letting them know you’re open and offering specials. Sidewalk A-frames and improved outdoor signage go a long way.
Bonus: Take a walk around your restaurant. Any focal points – street lamps, neighboring business windows, etc. – are opportunities to promote your restaurant. During these times, local businesses are eager to support each other with cross-promotions.
DIRECT IS BEST
While every online order counts, it’s important to prioritize promoting your direct ordering options across your channels to avoid commission fees and to streamline your operations for increased efficiency.
- Find a tech partner that integrates with your third party channels so you can manage all your orders and your menu through one system, while still allowing you to accept orders from guests using marketplaces to find restaurants.
- Make your Google preferred order link your direct ordering platform link. There is no reason to pay third party fees for customers who were already planning to order from your restaurant!
- Use every opportunity to educate your guests about the importance of ordering direct - on your social channels, in your emails, and even on inserts in your takeout bags. Consider including a special promo to incentivize direct orders.
LOOKING TO DRIVE MORE PROFIT, COLLECT MORE GUEST DATA, AND DRIVE REPEAT ORDERS THIS YEAR?
Schedule a SevenRooms demo to learn how we are helping restaurants get more out of their online ordering.Learn More