During the past year and a half, restaurants have clearly realized the need to have a robust online presence for ordering takeout and delivery.
For many operators, that effort began through partnerships with third-party delivery platforms, which have allowed restaurants to expand their reach and generate sales from new customers.
Operators can add another dimension to their digital capabilities, however, with a branded online ordering website of their own — a great way for loyal customers to order delivery and takeout directly from your restaurant. A branded website that offers ordering functionality allows operators to capture more business from customers who begin their search for a restaurant online and can help operators keep and retain those customers over time
A 2019 survey from marketing-services agency MGH found that 77% of consumers reported visiting a restaurant's website before going out to eat or ordering takeout. More than half of those — 62% — reported that the restaurant's website discouraged them from ordering takeout.
A branded online ordering solution can help restaurants capture more of those potential sales from users browsing their menu online, build loyalty with existing customers and generate ongoing marketing opportunities through the capture of data. In today's expanded digital world, restaurants must take advantage of the reach, awareness and customer base of third-party food delivery apps while also building their own online ordering capabilities.
Several providers are offering this type of online ordering solution, so how can you be sure which one is right for you?
Here are five things you should keep in mind when considering a branded online ordering solution:
The ability to take orders directly from your customers — 100% commission-free
The online ordering platform should allow you to accept delivery and takeout orders and be 100% commission-free.
Your online ordering site should also come with the ability to run promotions, discounts and loyalty programs to drive additional order volumes.
Grubhub Direct, a branded online ordering platform from Grubhub, is helping operators succeed by providing those capabilities and more.
"Restaurant owners today are focused on what it takes to run their business and recover from the pandemic," said Amy Le, owner and chef of Saucy Porka. "They often do not have the time that it traditionally takes to develop and manage their own ordering website, which is why tools like Grubhub Direct will give us a way to build our online brand presence and thoughtfully grow the relationship with our diners."
Restaurant operators do not pay marketing fees on orders received through their Grubhub Direct ordering site. They pay only standard credit card processing fees and, optionally, a competitive delivery fee if the restaurant chooses to have Grubhub drivers deliver for them. Operators using self-delivery pay no delivery fees for Grubhub Direct orders.
Grubhub Direct also does not charge for access to customer data, loyalty programs and promotions.
Easy-to-use marketing and promotional tools
Look for an online ordering platform that offers you easy-to-use marketing and promotional tools that you can use to cater directly to your customers and encourage them to place orders directly from you. These tools also help increase your revenue by increasing order volumes.
Grubhub Direct allows operators to run the promotions and loyalty programs that suit their goals. Promotions are a great way for restaurants to give customers coupons for future orders placed on the restaurant's Grubhub Direct website. Restaurants can choose from several promotion types: first visit promotions, spend-based loyalty promotions or visit-based loyalty promotions.
Grubhub Direct offers a powerful marketing tool that empowers restaurant operators to gain more control over their marketing, promotions and overall communications.
"Our guests are always looking for the best loyalty and rewards, and through our branded ordering app, we have access to the tools and insights that enable us to create personalized promotional campaigns to help our guests on their health and fitness journey," said Rebecca Miller, chief marketing officer at Smoothie King.
"In today's digital age, it's crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of our guests and their ordering habits for acquisition and engagement efforts, and Grubhub's technology solves for that — empowering our brand to grow and stand out in a crowded landscape," Miller said.
Access to customer data
Data about your customers, including name, email addresses and order history (menu items, lifetime spend, order sizes and fulfillment methods), should be right at your fingertips. You can use this data to customize the ordering experience and market directly to your customers.
This is one of the most important benefits to look for in a branded online ordering platform — the ability to use your customer data to build stronger relationships with your customers and use that data to inform the promotions and loyalty programs that you run.
Consider including incentives such as discounts and coupons that are timely and appropriate for each individual to drive frequency or higher checks, for example. Or opt for strategies to reactivate lapsed customers or to prevent them from becoming lapsed customers.
With Grubhub Direct, you can see a personal profile for each customer that includes contact info, order history, lifetime spend and other information, all of which can be downloaded for marketing and communications applications.
Your online ordering system should make your life easier, not harder
It should offer accessible menu integration, account management and easy-to-use interfaces so you can update your restaurant information with just a few clicks.
It's also important that your online ordering partner is available to provide ongoing support for you as you run your site. Look for a partner that has technology that can streamline your ordering strategy and resources to help you optimize the potential of your branded online ordering site.
Brand your online ordering experience
Every restaurant has its own personality, and that uniqueness should shine in your online ordering system. Loyal diners should recognize your restaurant's look, and new customers should get a feel for what your restaurant stands for.
Incorporating your restaurant's personality into your online ordering system should be easy. Look for an online ordering system that lets you control the look and feel of the user interface. That means the ability to customize fonts, colors and images across your site.
Maximize your digital presence by using online ordering marketplaces to reach new customers while also having your own online ordering website to build customer loyalty and take orders directly from your customers.
Solutions such as Grubhub Direct, which offers a commission-free, add-on component to a restaurant's existing digital presence, can make setup easy and allow operators to seamlessly connect their ordering platform with their other branded channels.
Visit Grubhub Direct to learn more about how to take control of your online ordering operations.