Step by Step Guide on How to Take Your Restaurant Online

Today’s diners expect to be able to eat restaurant-quality meals from the comfort of their home. To keep up with consumer demands, restaurants need to offer a delivery service. But this isn’t always a simple process—hence the growing need for a guide to opening restaurants online.

Customers crave ease, efficiency, and an enjoyable dining experience—all with a simple swipe and click on a screen. And it’s not just casual eateries capitalising on online delivery. Fine dining restaurants are getting in on the game too.

Today, more than ever, it’s important to take advantage of digital technology to grow your restaurant and begin offering an online delivery option. Not only does this allow your restaurant to meet the evolving consumer demand for greater convenience, but it has advantages for you and your staff too.

When hunger strikes, customers can order there and then, even if your restaurant hasn’t yet opened. If restaurant owners are forced to close their doors to in-house diners, they can continue to serve customers via delivery, offering a major safety net. And you can also cater to a wider pool of people when you’re not limited to how many you can seat in your restaurant.

But moving your restaurant online takes time and effort. It’s vital to establish a clear process for your expansion from in-house dining to online delivery. Restaurants need to plan, invest, and choose the right tools and platforms for the job. And you’ll have to consider important questions such as your target audience, order and delivery method, marketing strategy, and customer support service.

How to take your restaurant online - Online Ordering - Top4 Marketing

This article will show you exactly how to launch online food delivery for your restaurant. We’ll start by looking at why it’s so important, before walking you through a step-by-step guide to accepting online food orders.

Our objective is to help business owners transform their brick and mortar business to sell online with a roadmap to launch, the right questions to ask, and case studies to find inspiring success stories.

We also want to help anyone start an online business today by explaining how you can make money online, sharing ideas and inspiration, and talking you through a step by step guide to launch your online business.

 

Why should you offer online delivery for your restaurant?

The food delivery market is set for rapid expansion. Revenue in the online food delivery segment is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 7.5% each year.

Online Delivery Growth Statistics - Top4 Marketing

As online delivery becomes an increasingly powerful player in the restaurant industry, it’s vital that your restaurant offers an online delivery option. Online delivery will help you stay ahead of the competition while also boosting your bottom line.

For example, online delivery allows restaurants to appeal to a wider audience. You can cater to those who are mobility impaired, live less locally, or who aren’t able to drive.

And you can further boost sales through the use of data. By capturing customer details online, you can conduct customer analysis and use this to improve your service, providing personalised offers to customers, and encouraging repeat sales.

 

How to take your restaurant business online

A step-by-step guide featuring tools and platforms for restaurant owners to start accepting online orders and delivering food. Here’s how we’ve organised the guide:

  1. Planning: What to consider before you begin accepting online orders
  2. Launch: Get your restaurant menu online
  3. Growth: Improve your online delivery service
  4. Support and retention: Keep your customers happy and coming back for more

 

1. Planning: What to consider before you begin accepting online orders

A proper plan is essential for ensuring the success of your restaurant online venture. Here are the important questions you should ask yourself before getting started.

 

Who is your target audience?

Workplace or home?

Before you begin marketing your delivery service, you’ll need to know who you’re aiming to reach. Firstly, are you planning to deliver to customers in the workplace or at home?

While 82% of online orders are placed from home, only 16% are placed from the office. However, given the increasing dominance of tech-savvy millennials in the workplace, it’s likely that those online food delivery services catering to corporations will experience a large amount of growth in the coming years.

 

Healthy eaters

Targeting health-conscious diners could be a smart business move. According to a study by the University of Westminster, one of the most common reasons that deter people from delivery services is a concern about the healthiness of the food. By highlighting your food as wholesome and nutritious, you can attract new customers to the online ordering option.

 

Different generations

Millennials spend the highest percentage of their budgets on prepared food compared to other generations. With their fast-paced lives, they’re more likely to be tempted by the convenience of delivery.

Nevertheless, a study by Payscale shows that the majority of people reach their peak earning between the age of 44 and 55. This demographic will have more disposable income. Alongside the increasing popularity of online food delivery, this is a solid reason for going after more senior buyers and may offer a valuable differentiating factor for your business.

 

Will you adjust your menu?

Inevitably, not all items on your current menu will be suitable for delivery. It all depends on how well they retain heat and support transportation. Furthermore, more intricate meals might be difficult to recreate on a mass scale if order volume increases dramatically.

Fine dining establishments, in particular, will have to consider which parts of their menu are scalable and deliverable. Can your sophisticated tasting menus, for example, be expected to survive transit?

It’s about re-imagining what you can offer diners. Rather than a traditional luxury experience, emphasize that you provide quality products, cooked to perfection, to be enjoyed within the comfort of the diner’s home. Perhaps consider developing a prix fixe menu to keep your operations simple and streamlined.

Instead of dinner, you might also want to think about offering a lunch menu for time-pressed professionals. Currently, 65% of all food deliveries are for dinner. Meanwhile, breakfast accounts for just 5% of deliveries and lunch 11%. This offers an alternative market opportunity for businesses looking to differentiate themselves.

 

Branching out into online food delivery entails a few new liabilities.

Driver security 

Who is responsible for the safety of your delivery drivers? This depends on whose vehicle it is and the details of each party’s insurance. In many cases, the driver’s insurance policy may have a business-use exclusion clause.

Make sure to ask about your driver’s insurance coverage if you plan for them to use their own vehicle.

 

Food quality

The meal is your responsibility until it reaches the consumer. Food hygiene depends on processing, transportation, handling, and storage. This means you need to ensure it is delivered on time, at the right temperature, and in perfect shape.

 

How will you accept orders?

Next, you’ll need to decide how to accept meal delivery orders. There are a couple of options and pros and cons to each.

Your own website or app: 

This is a popular option among consumers. According to a 2017 study, 83% of respondents ordered takeaways directly from a restaurant, compared to 43% via a third-party platform.

For restaurant owners, it also has several advantages. A website or app can be used to showcase your food and you have total control on how the menu and any images are presented, creating a branded page that conveys your unique offering.

You can also change the menu whenever you want and have control over any promotions or offers. You also have access to customer preference data, unlike with third-party platforms. This means you can engage in targeted marketing.

Financially, it also makes a lot of sense. While you’ll have to pay an upfront cost for building a website or app, the returns, later on, will be higher as you won’t have to pay a commission to a third-party. UberEats, for example, charges a restaurant 30% to deliver their food. GrubHub receives an average of 13.5% per order from restaurants.

 

A Top4 Local Microsite

The advantages of using our location-based platform Top4 are numerous. You don’t have to pay the initial upfront cost of designing a website or app. You also get free marketing and exposure to new customers who may not yet have heard of you.

Additionally, here are some features you do not want to miss on your Top4 Local Microsite!

Find nearby local restaurants

  • Access their basic information, such as name, address, phone number, email address, map and Google map directions.
  • Browse through their overview, gallery, products, and press releases.
  • Read verified reviews from local people before making your purchase.

The Yarra Indian Restaurant - Top4 Local Microsite Restaurants - Top4 Marketing

The Yarra Indian Restaurant Top4 Reviews - Top4 Marketing

Easily scan a QR Code to access their menu + Contactless Ordering

Support your local restaurants – cafes – RSL Clubs and Pubs with Top4. Viewing their menu is now easier than ever with our brand-new QR Code and Contactless Ordering features. Supporting your local restaurants has never been easier with Top4.

Scan QR Code + Contactless Ordering for Restaurants - Top4 Marketing

Top4 QR Code Menu - Top4 Marketing

  • Browse through restaurant menus and order immediately, direct to the restaurants.
  • Access the latest deals and redeem coupons from the participating local restaurants in your area.

Follow your favourite local restaurants

Connect with over 150,000 active local businesses – cafes – restaurants – RSL clubs in Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia!

Support the local restaurants in your area with Top4 now – https://www.top4.com.au/restaurant/

 

What about delivery?

Currently, the majority of restaurants handle their own deliveries rather than out-sourcing the job to delivery platforms.

When you start out, a third-party delivery system might be best. It’s cheaper and quicker to set up as you don’t have to recruit, hire, and train drivers. Plus you don’t have to pay for delivery vehicles.

If you do decide to handle your own deliveries, there are few things to consider:

  • Having your drivers use their own cars is the cheapest and most convenient option for you, but you won’t be able to ensure that the vehicle is properly maintained.
  • If you invest in company cars, you can have them branded as additional marketing.
  • Bike delivery is an eco-friendly option that will win you kudos with eco-conscious consumers.
  • As for deciding your delivery radius, begin with a certain area and a certain time slot, and see how things progress. Once you’ve gained experience, you can commit to longer delivery hours and a greater distance.

 

Planning your workflow

A well-organised workflow is key to maintaining speed, and in online delivery, speed is everything. 60% of consumers cite it as a key factor. The optimal wait time is no more than 60 minutes.

You’ll need to train your employees to help them adapt to the new workflow as you’ll likely see more late night orders, or more orders on a particular day if you are catering for an event. You can expect the highest volume of orders on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, when 74% of orders are placed.

The good news is that bad weather usually increases deliveries while in-house dining goes down, and the reverse is true too. This means less chance of staff becoming overwhelmed by orders.

You’ll need to dedicate a separate area to assembling deliveries so it doesn’t get in the way of normal restaurant operations.

 

How will you market your restaurant online?

When it comes to marketing your new online delivery venture, consider your unique value proposition. What makes your restaurant special? Emphasizing your unique qualities will distinguish you from competitors. 

Instagram and Facebook can be used to spread awareness of your brand. You might also consider taking advantage of digital influencers and food bloggers to further build awareness before launch.

Local Marketing for Restaurants with Top4

At Top4 Marketing, we realise how important local marketing has become for many businesses, especially local restaurants, even more so post-Covid19. With few to no visitors, local restaurants will have to rely on takeaways, home delivery, and online ordering.

This is why we have been improving our Location-based Google Marketing Platform Top4 to further accommodate local restaurants and keep the business running.

Restaurants - Top4

 

2. Launch: Get your restaurant menu online

Once you’ve planned how to proceed, time to set it all up.

Register with your chosen platform

Online you can fill in the necessary details such as your location, the type of food you serve, and your estimated number of orders per week. A representative from the platform will then be in contact with a partnership agreement.

 

Or launch your own site

We recommend Shopify for any restaurant owner who needs a website. This software service makes building a site simple with over 70 templates to choose from and customisable themes as well. Shopify Experts are available to ensure seamless functionality and high visual appeal.

Or you can get in touch with one of our Web Xperts on Top4 Marketing. We can help you with your digital strategy and work with you to create a high-performing website. We can also help you to devise marketing solutions to get your restaurant business on the road to online delivery success.

 

3. Growth: Improve your online delivery service

There are a couple of key ways to build your restaurant’s online delivery service:

  • Consider switching from third-party services to in-house deliveries to cut out fees and increase revenue.
  • Expand your delivery radius. But be aware that beyond a certain distance, it becomes hard to maintain quality. You need to be able to deliver the food in less than 60 minutes from order time. Use customer data to see where most of the orders are coming from and focus on marketing efforts in areas that are quieter.
  • Expand your menu. Pay attention to trending foods. You’ll also want to think about offering vegetarian and vegan options. People are increasingly interested in sustainability and sales of meat-free food are predicted to rise in the next year.
  • Consider catering for special events like weddings or networking events, or partnering with companies to deliver lunches for employees.
  • Partner with food waste apps like Food for All, which offers unsold meals from local restaurants with a 50% discount, reducing food waste and turning it into additional profits. According to their website, 90% of their customers say participating with Food for All improves a company’s brand image.

 

Boost online delivery revenue through marketing

Smart marketing will allow you to reach more people, retain existing customers, and increase sales.

Using social media as a place to share content might not directly accelerate sales, but it will boost brand awareness and customer satisfaction. Post dynamic and original content that speaks to your audience. Consider a blog to increase traffic to your page with how-to articles, interviews with members of staff, or pieces about the inspiration for your menu.

Sea Lounge - Facebook Post - Top4 Marketing

Make sure your restaurant is on Top4. And ensure that the mobile version of your site looks just as good as it does on desktop. Many people will use their phones for delivery and want a flawless digital experience.

On your website, you’ll want to highlight any professional accreditations or awards. Include reviews from newspapers and magazines to appear more trustworthy in the eyes of new customers.
As for photos, invest in quality images, or none at all. Photos that aren’t professional can be detrimental to your brand image.

 

4. Support and retention: Keep your customers happy and coming back for more

High customer satisfaction means more positive reviews and more sales.

Constantly evaluate the customer experience and enhance the customer journey by reducing any friction in the checkout process. The ordering process should be easy and enjoyable. Eliminate any unnecessary steps that could frustrate a customer and lead to drop-offs. Providing multiple payment options is another way to reduce abandonments.

Keep your customers happy by answering queries quickly. An FAQ page is a good place for customers to get answers and stops queries from clogging up support channels.

Managing customer reviews is key. Promote positive testimonials on your landing page. And make sure you reply quickly to posts and comments on sites like Facebook, Google Maps, and TripAdvisor. Customers appreciate that you care about their thoughts.

Asking for feedback via surveys will not only help you improve your service but also show customers that you are interested in their experience.

Getting customers to return to your service means building a relationship with them. Do what you can to continue the conversation. Let them know about any new additions to the menu and give them loyalty discounts as an incentive. Send them special promotions for events like their birthday or Valentine’s day.

Don’t overdo it though—they don’t want to feel pestered.

 

Get more reviews with Top4

Here’s where Top4 can help. Our location-based marketing platform Top4 will add a brand new feature that helps your business receive the reviews you deserve. Here’s a sneak peek of our new feature:

Top4 new feature about sending reviews - Top4 Marketing

With one easy click, you can import your existing contacts from Gmail and send them emails to ask for your business’ reviews. If you don’t know what to write, we also added a customized message that will help you convey your message!

Top4 new feature about sending reviews - Top4 Marketing

Not only that, once the reviews start coming in, we’ll help you manage them and keep those spammy fake reviews away from your business.

Are you ready to get started?


To find out how we can help you with your Website + Marketing, using our unique location marketing platform called Top4, get in touch today www.top4marketing.com.au

Looking to build customer loyalty through social media? Don’t forget to add your business to Top4.com.au

List your business, create your own digital store to sell goods and services, and share posts on social media. Promote your business on Google instantly! Should you need help with local digital marketing then view our new Google Marketing Platform and services Top4 Marketing

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Source: luxedigital

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