Nothing makes you happier as a restaurant owner than seating and serving diners. It’s how you can delight them with your front of house team’s outstanding service and the stunning presentation and sumptuous flavours of your dishes. Every aspect of your restaurant’s ambience has been precisely engineered to provide an unforgettable experience for your diners. One that can’t possibly be replicated at home.
But, despite all of your efforts, you’ve noticed that many of your peers are using a restaurant’s online food delivery service, rather than dining in. In fact, 57% of Aussie diners prefer to order their food online for pickup and/or delivery. They are opting to order food online and getting it delivered straight to their doors. And while such a notion may offend some dine-in purists, there’s no denying that such an operational shift has enabled many restaurants in Australia to stay on their feet during the peak pandemic period.
Widespread access to digital technology has revolutionised the way we consume restaurant food. The pandemic has accelerated omnichannel operations within the service industry. As part of a study in conjunction with YouGov Research on restaurant industry trends, we looked at how more restaurants are expanding their businesses online. Let’s chat about how an omnichannel approach and creating a strong online presence can benefit your restaurant.
What is an omnichannel approach?
An omnichannel approach expands your restaurant’s brand and business beyond your four walls through other channels such as online sales and delivery. This might mean enabling customers to order online and collect meals to take home, offering in-house delivery or delivering via third-party platforms like Deliveroo, Uber Eats or Menulog.
Based on findings in our Future of Restaurants report, we found that omnichannel operations will become standard practice for restaurants in the coming years. Almost two-thirds, (64%) of Australian adults have continued using online restaurant services over the past 12 months, with 40% stating that online ordering and delivery is the service that they will use the most. So, failing to offer these services could see your restaurant losing valuable revenue streams.
But let’s be clear, it’s not enough to simply offer food for takeaway and delivery. You also want to ensure that online users get a great experience with your brand with the same care and attention afforded to the diners who pass through your doors.
Let’s take a look at how to do it right and offer an online service that helps to strengthen your brand.
How restaurants can adopt an omnichannel approach
Today’s technology affords restaurants an opportunity to enrich the customer experience, while also making themselves more accessible to consumers who might not ordinarily pass through their doors.
An online presence enables your customers to develop a stronger relationship with your business. They can book a table online, keep abreast of exclusive offers and discounts, share feedback about their experiences and of course order meals for home delivery or collection.
1. Be present on social media
Your restaurant’s social media presence is a powerful marketing tool, facilitating meaningful engagements with diners. Add value to your brand and strengthen your relationships with customers, share exclusive offers and promotional codes with your audience, identify brand advocates or convert them into brand ambassadors and encourage users to share their experiences (including sumptuous shots of your food) with their peers. Your profile may also include a link in bio that customers can use to book online, schedule a delivery or leave you a review.
2. Create an online store
Incorporate an Online Store into your channel mix where customers can peruse your menu and schedule orders for collection or in-house food delivery. Wow your prospective diners with delectable images of your restaurant and your food, as well as making it quick and easy to view your availability and book a table if they prefer to dine in.
Turn any business into an online business with a free eCommerce website.
3. Use email marketing
Use your website to encourage visitors to subscribe to email marketing updates. With email marketing, you can alert customers to exclusive offers, promotions and discounts as well as seasonal additions to your menu. Plus, it’s a great tool to keep them up to date on exciting events at your restaurant! This adds value to your brand and enhances your relationship with your customers.
4. Offer in-house delivery
Offering an in-house delivery service empowers your restaurant to bring your dining experience to customers’ homes. With your own in-house restaurant delivery team, you can extend the same high standard of customer service that your front of house team offers.
5. Engage in third-party delivery partnerships
Alternatively, if you don’t have the capabilities to offer deliveries in-house, offer partnerships with a third-party like Uber Eats, Deliveroo or Menulog. Your menu is imported to third-party platforms and perused by prospective customers on apps who can then place orders fulfilled by subcontracted drivers.
6. Use QR codes
Tableside QR codes can be a useful way of facilitating self-service ordering via your website. Scanning the code can take diners directly to your menu and enable them to order food and drinks to be delivered to their table. A great option for the COVID-conscious, the socially anxious or those struggling to engage the attention of service staff during busy hours.
How an online store can benefit your restaurant
Selling food online might not have been what you had in mind when you first opened your restaurant. Nonetheless, shifts in consumer behaviour mean that the majority of consumers still continue to interact with restaurants online post peak pandemic periods. Even though restaurants are again fully functional across Australia, the proverbial toothpaste cannot be put back in the tube. So how does your online store benefit your restaurant?
Creates new opportunities and enables new customers to engage with your brand
Serves as a wonderful showcase for the experience your restaurant offers
Offers convenience and peace of mind for the customer by facilitating fast and secure transactions
Ensures that customers have paid for their orders, reducing the risk of dining and dashing
Is tailored to the preference of many consumers who prefer to engage with brands online rather than in person
Helps you build a larger and more enduring community around your brand
As more and more people engage with your online store, your SEO improves organically. Over time, your restaurant may be positioned above its competitors in search engine results pages.
How Square can help
Crucially, your restaurant needs to be able to process many different types of transactions through its POS system in a way that’s consistently effective. This will help your business to cope with rising demand seamlessly.
We can help you there.
Square offers an all-in-one POS system for restaurants which is a comprehensive and easy-to-use platform that seamlessly coordinates online and on-site orders. Square Kitchen Display System helps you to manage orders from a single screen, while our online order integrations make it effortless to showcase your menu on third-party apps.
We’re here to help you ensure that customers get an outstanding experience from your restaurant, whether they’re ordering in-person or online. The kind that keeps them coming back for more.