The food delivery experience a customer has with your business starts the moment the thought to order a delicious meal pops into their mind.
From that point on, their experience of discovering your business — heading to your ordering page, selecting what to order, checking out, waiting for their delivery, and opening up that takeout box — is an important part of how they view your business.
As a restaurant, if you prefer to use your own website or app for delivery, you’re not alone. A recent survey from Square and Wakefield found that 58% of restaurant owners stated they’d rather not rely on a third-party delivery app.
Customers also want to order directly from you, with 67% of consumers stating that they prefer to use a restaurant’s site or app to order directly, with 61% citing wanting to support a restaurant directly.
Here’s how to ensure those customers have a great delivery experience from end to end, and add your business to their list of favorite places to order from.
Finding your restaurant
Hungry consumers are always on the hunt to find a new restaurant to add to their favorites. With the high brand awareness of third-party marketplaces and no shortage of competing restaurants, promoting your restaurant and your direct delivery channel can seem like a difficult feat.
One of the biggest barriers to a booming ordering and delivery business might simply be that current and future customers might not know you offer that service. Diners might be more in the habit of ordering through one of the many third-party ordering marketplaces. However, they are likely unaware of — or have just gotten used to — the high markup on their meals from paying service fees. Restaurants often have no choice but to mark up their prices on these marketplaces due to the high commission fees that the marketplaces charge them, ultimately leading to a higher cost for customers, or smaller margins for restaurants, neither of which are good for business.
Your best strategy is to take advantage of the marketing channels available to you to get the word out about your business and direct online ordering through your website. By making your business easily discoverable, you’re also eliminating barriers for your customers to engage with your business, which is where their experience begins.
- Website pop-ups and banners: Create a banner or pop-up for your website advertising online ordering and delivery services. With banners and pop-ups you can communicate delivery details, special promotions, or other important information in a way that is hard to miss.
- Google My Business: Make sure your website is discoverable through Google and includes a direct link to your online ordering page. If you haven’t already done so, claim your business on Google My Business to ensure that your business shows up in search results in Google and on Google Maps.
- Review site profiles: Word of mouth and reviews are among the most common ways diners find new restaurants. Make sure you keep up with your profiles on popular review sites like Yelp, Foursquare, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable. You can also use these webpages as a place to promote menu changes and your direct delivery site.
- Email marketing: One of the best ways to reach existing customers is through email marketing. With an email marketing tool that integrates with your Online Store, you can easily build your customer database and reach out to them to advertise your online ordering and delivery services, or alert them of upcoming promotions and announcements.
- Social media: Your social profiles are a key channel for promoting your business. Ensure you have a direct link to your online ordering page in your Instagram bio and to your Facebook page. If you’re worried about having enough space to fit links, explore link shortening services like Linktree.
Navigating your business
Getting customers to your website can be challenging, but once they’re there you’re tasked with keeping their eyes on the prize — ordering your delicious food.
Customers can get easily overwhelmed by a messy or hard-to-navigate website. Here’s how you can help hungry customers navigate through your website from first click to checkout.
Avoid analysis paralysis
It might seem like the more menu options you have, the greater the chance for a sale, but it turns out having too many options can overwhelm your customers, resulting in them leaving your page without ordering. This can be attributed to something called analysis paralysis, which causes people to choose nothing when faced with too many options. To lower the risk of your customers getting scared off by too many choices, keep your menu simple and direct. Offer variations and customizations to meet the needs of your customers, but for individual menu items remember that less is more.
Optimize your menu for delivery
Nothing gets mouths watering like pictures and descriptions of delicious food. Take professional and appetizing photos of your menu items to get customers excited to place their order. Also, be sure to let your customers know what each dish or menu item is, and what the ingredients are with descriptive menu writeups. If you have dishes that might be new to customers, this is a great place to share information and get them inspired to try something new.
Make checkout easy
Checking out should be as easy as 1-2-3. This is the last step to placing an order and should have as few barriers as possible. For quicker checkout, place “Order Now” buttons in visible spots on your website. Use an Online Store platform that provides customers with all of the information they need, like food total, tax amount, transparent service fees, and tip.
Your website should also include information about your restaurant that helps customers get to know you and your story. Create an “About Us” page and share some background on why you started your restaurant. Be sure to include links to your social media channels and any other contact information in a visible place, so that customers can always contact you easily if needed.
Receiving their delivery
Once a customer places an order, the countdown to enjoying their meal starts. Square partners with Doordash and Postmates to make sure your customers’ food has a safe journey.
These services enable customers to receive updates on their order status and allows them to track their delivery driver so that there are no surprises and customers are never left wondering where their food is.
Once their food arrives, unboxing their meal is also an important part of their ordering experience. When customers dine in, they expect you to pay attention to the small details. This extends to delivery, as well. Little gestures, like including extra sauces on the side or including a free treat, go far with customers.
Maison Danel, a San Francisco tea salon and patisserie, wanted to make customers feel like they got the full experience of their restaurant, even with take-home and delivery orders. “You can now take the experience with you, or get it delivered, versus not being able to come to the tea salon for that experience,” says co-owner David De Betelu.
Coming back for more
A happy customer is a loyal customer. All of the individual touchpoints are part of the overall delivery experience for your customers. Each part of the process can affect how they feel about your business and how likely they are to come back. But, their experience doesn’t have to end after their order is finished.
To stay connected with your customers, keep them engaged with your restaurant. You can do this by:
Offering discounts and promotions
Reward customers and entice them to come back by providing meal deals, family bundles, and other advanced discounts and promotions. Send out special promotions for moments in time and holidays, like the big game or Valentine’s Day date night — or for no reason at all — to surprise and delight your customers.
Reward customer loyalty and encourage word-of-mouth marketing by incentivizing them to come back to you with a loyalty program. This could be by offering a subscription for your meals, and discounts or promo codes to newsletter subscribers.
Whether a customer is dining in or having food delivered to their home, the experience matters. A customer’s delivery experience doesn’t start and stop once they place their order and receive their food, it happens at every touchpoint that they interact with your business. Keep customers engaged and happy with an end-to-end delivery experience that focuses on attention to detail and customer satisfaction for happy customers that want to come back for more.