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We are at a tipping point in terms of merging restaurants and technology, and I don’t mean “tipping” in the sense of “please tip your bartenders, they’ve been working hard”.  Although, yes you should always do that. Online ordering for restaurants is increasingly becoming more than just a passive attempt to rope in extra revenue, but it was slow getting to this point and the best is still around the corner.  The restaurant industry as a whole was relatively slow to adopt online ordering as an essential part of day to day business, and that’s not because restauranteurs are slow learners, it’s simply a matter of customer behavior and the change of buying habits taking some time to gain momentum in that direction. Customer behavior is always a driving factor in changing of ANY industry standard operating procedure and restaurant online ordering system adoption is no exception. Now that online ordering for restaurants is here to stay, it’s imperative that restaurants take a step back and put the proper online ordering systems in place so that they are best positioned to take control of the process and guide it in a way that most benefits their bottom line.

Linking Third Party Online Ordering Systems on Your Website with a CTA

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This is in reference to having your own custom website that you paid good money to have built and then placing an “Order on Seamless”, “Order on GrubHub”, “Order on Delivery.com” etc. as your main Call to Action button. Seriously, this one just hurts to think about.  The only time it makes sense to do this is if you have absolutely no other way to receive the potential order and the choice is between you losing the order entirely and you paying commission on the order.  If you already have a restaurant online ordering system in place and a customer has taken the time to find your specific website, this simply doesn’t add up to good business practice.

It’s the equivalent of searching for rental car on Hertz.com and then when you find the car you want Hertz decides to pass you over to Orbitz.com to complete the transaction.  No, that would never happen. The only purpose of a third party commission based system is to pull in extra business you wouldn’t have already otherwise had by leveraging their advertising and marketing efforts.

Having Repeat Loyal Customer Order Online Through Third Party Systems

Sure, everyone is always looking to drive NEW business, but repeat business is the bread and butter of any restaurant, it’s what we rely on and it’s what will keep you profitable.  An article in Forbes cites “a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%”. Yes you can argue that at least those customers are still ultimately placing orders with your restaurant, but at what cost? And for how long? Now that their attention is focused on a third party facilitator, they are essentially now being exposed to any other restaurant that might be the highest bidder for that customer’s attention on the third party ordering portal.  So what’s the solution? There is no silver bullet, you just need to plug away at some basics and you can be sure to drive customers to your in-house restaurant online ordering system.

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DO – Create visually appealing “Order Online Direct” handouts

Create visually appealing “Order Online Direct” handouts to educate your customers on the benefits THEY will receive when ordering direct with your restaurant online ordering system and make sure they get into the hands of customers along with to-go/delivery menus or positioned at tables if you have a dining area.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_row_inner]

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DO – Create a way to capture your customer’s details and contact information

Specific customer data is held under tight guard by third party commission based system so that’s not an option, but don’t just stop there. An appealing “sign up” popup form on your website, a “text to join” method on a handout or menu are proven to get the attention of loyal customers that would be happy to give you their business directly, especially if you give them the incentive of exclusive coupons and promotional updates.

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DO – Create a consistent email marketing campaign to keep in touch with your customers

Create a consistent email marketing campaign to keep in touch with your customers. If you have a restaurant online ordering system in place (such as 9fold) – take advantage of the fact that those customers are actually YOUR customers and so is the customer order history and data that goes along with it. If you don’t have an email system in place already such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, consider using the 9Fold email marketing package that allows you to integrate your online ordering with our custom branded solutions to fit your restaurant’s voice. There is a reason that large third party systems keep in touch with customers by email frequently, it’s where they spend most of their time and if you aren’t part of the conversation, you’re missing out on opportunity.