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Restaurant Resource Center


How Online Ordering Can Bring Your Restaurant New Customers

When it comes to ordering out, the only thing people want as much as good food is convenience. How many people would honestly consider eating fast food if it wasn’t fast? Some of the most popular casual chains in the business right now, such as Panera and Chipotle, are doing well because they offer a made-to-order meal in a hurry. In short, what they offer is convenience.

But you don’t have to run a fast food joint to offer convenience. Today, approximately 60% of Americans have a smartphone. With restaurant online ordering, just about any restaurant can capitalize on that. Combined with the fact that restaurants are the most searched industry on mobile devices, it may not be long before online ordering won’t just be a good way to drive new sales, it could become all but mandatory for remaining in business in the digital age.

Increased Revenue

The first thing you need to know about online ordering for restaurants is that take-out orders made over the Internet are, on average, 20% larger than phone orders. There are a couple of reasons why. First and foremost, allowing customers to order online preempts the possibility of social embarrassment. That is to say, ordering online means eliminating the chance your customers will be embarrassed about ordering extra sides or toppings.

Online ordering also solves the classic problem of employees who are good with customer service, but bad with sales. Because online ordering platforms automatically upsell customers on your behalf, you don’t have to worry about employees who aren’t good salespeople. If you’ve ordered a pizza online, you’ve probably already experienced this personally when they tried to sell you additional breadsticks and refreshments half a dozen times before your order was complete.

Digital ordering also allows you to join an online food court (such as GrubHub or Eat24), which helps you gain access to thousands of potential customers who can remotely browse your menu. More customers mean more revenue, and not just in the short term. According to one report by PMQ Pizza Magazine, the return rate for customers who use online ordering is approximately 95%, making it one of the easiest ways to build customer loyalty and drive long-term sales.

Order Accuracy

How many times a year do you have to credit customers who got the wrong order or receive a bad review online for one? Between language barriers, poor reception, human error and background noise, there are already more than enough ways to get an order wrong. Online ordering completely gets around all of these problems and helps ensure that you get orders correct the first time. Better still, it allows you more efficient ways to allocate labor. If a single phone order takes 3 to 5 minutes, that process can quickly add up to hours of the day that your employees aren’t able to serve customers who are actually in your restaurant.

Insightful Analytics

Social media marketing, text marketing, email marketing and most of the other major modern marketing tactics all depend on the availability of customer data. With online ordering, you can get the names, email addresses, phone numbers and order history of hundreds or thousands of customers with no effort at all. It’s much easier to generate a buzz around your next promotion if you have an email list with thousands of active customers.

Here to Stay

Restaurants are notorious for being one of the most difficult types of businesses to run. With an online food ordering system, small independent restaurants can start to level the playing field between themselves and industry giants, which couldn’t be more important in the state of the economy today. American e-commerce is a $200 billion industry, and if you want to get a piece of that pie, you’ll want to embrace online ordering as soon as possible.

Krista Wolfe is a marketing project manager for where she writes to help small businesses, teachers and healthcare professionals make more informed decisions on office essentials. She also writes on our new community blog, Café Quill, about a wide range of business matters such as leadership, productivity and work-life balancing. Krista lives in Chicago and you can find her on Google+ or LinkedIN.