Nine Ways to Increase Food Orders Through Your Online Channels

A chef preparing a to-go order

In recent years, online food ordering and delivery has increased in popularity. In Australia, one in 10 families with children aged under three buy takeaway meals daily, as do 25-to-29 year olds, according to a 2019 study commissioned by pasta company San Remo. The popularity of takeaway food options and delivery apps has shown no signs of slowing down since then.

Through 2020 the food service industry faced increasing pressure to adapt and offer new channels for ordering and serving food. For some, this included a fast pivot from in-person dining indoors to safer food delivery options. Other businesses expanded their ecommerce offerings, selling everything from meal kits to pre-mixed cocktails online.

There are so many options for food service businesses looking to adapt and expand. Here’s a look at how you can attract more attention to your restaurant website and increase your online orders.

Get listed in local directories

Once you have your website set up, the next step is to make sure your business is discoverable and listed in local online directories such as Zomato and Yelp. If you haven’t done so already, claim your Google My Business and Bing profile as this will help your business appear in local search results.

Use local keywords on your website

Another way to increase the chances of discoverability is through keywords. Keywords are the terms and phrases people type into a search box. Search engines use them to understand and rank your website in search results. Use hyper-local keywords across your site, such as in blogs, page titles, captions and URLs, to improve your visibility in local search results. For example, a customer’s search for “cafe in Parramatta” would bring up your business if you use the right keywords across your website.

Use social media

Platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook are great for engaging people in conversation and learning more about your customers. To better understand your followers and what food offerings and services they’d be interested in, consider running polls and contests. You can look to the results for insights to update your online menu and give your customers what they want, with the ultimate goal of keeping their attention and increasing repeat business. You can also use social media to advertise your restaurant website and any specials or new items that you’ve added to your menu.

Optimise your website for mobile

About 79% of customers order online via a mobile device. This means it’s essential your restaurant website menu design is just as quick and easy to use on smartphones and tablets as it is on desktop. Some easy ways to make your website more mobile-friendly include using a mobile-friendly online ordering platform and making sure your menu structure is clean and easy to navigate on a smaller screen.

Explore targeted ads

It can be tough to grow your visibility on social media organically, so consider setting aside some budget for paid advertising to kickstart your channels. Start by running and testing small campaigns with niche audiences, and using the results to better understand how to adapt your online store and restaurant to what your customers are most receptive to. Platforms like Facebook allow you to narrow down your targeted audience to specific demographics such as local area, income level, interests and hobbies, to make sure you’re reaching the right prospective customers.

Create experiences

People dine out for more than just the food, they do it for the experience. It might be that they want to catch up with loved ones in a relaxed and warm atmosphere, try new cuisines or simply want someone else to do the cooking and washing up for them. Whatever their reason, delight your customers by helping them re-create the dining-out experience at home. Get creative and try ideas like themed evenings with suggested music playlists, cooking live-streams, or virtual supper clubs with live music on Zoom. For customers that want to dine in their own homes, you can create an enjoyable experience through your website. With an easy-to-navigate website and seamless checkout, customers can still gain an appreciation for your business from the comfort of their homes.

Reward loyalty

Show your loyal customers how much you value them by setting up a loyalty program. It could be that you reward customers with points and vouchers that are redeemable against future purchases. Or perhaps they have early access to limited-time deals or promotions on special occasions.

Boost your reviews

Make it easy for customers to review your business, whether that’s on social media, your website itself, or on a business listing. Include a review link in post-order emails and respond to as many reviews as you can, even if it’s just to say thank you.

Share beautiful visuals

People love beautiful visual content such as images and videos, which never fail to get mouths watering. Take high-quality shots of your meals and behind-the-scenes footage of your chefs at work and share them on your social channels, particularly Instagram.

Finally, pay attention to the performance of these tactics so you can compare which avenues yield the best return and where to focus your attention and resources. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different ideas!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.