Food delivery apps have become our saviour as online ordering has become the new norm in the wake of the pandemic. Managing both home chores and work tasks, most people have resorted to using food delivery apps to order food from restaurants. While this can be a blessing for restaurants, it is important that restaurants aim to retain their customers to boost revenue. From offering discounts to adding healthy meal items, restaurants are quickly finding newer ways to ensure customers keep ordering from them.
Today, customers can choose from a plethora of restaurant options. So, what can a restaurant do differently to ensure it retains loyal customers who will order from it repeatedly?
We’ve put together a guide to understand ways to improve your restaurant technology, delivery methods, facilitate customer retention and continuously find ways to optimise a user’s online ordering experience.
1. Stay Relevant on Social Media
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are the new contact points between a customer and a restaurant. Social media enables restaurants to communicate with their customers, build a brand and spread awareness. It’s a great low-cost marketing method to capitalise on and build a subscriber base.
For example, Chaipoint’s Instagram has approximately 50k followers. It leverages its Instagram page to keep customers engaged with content promoting conversation & engagement - all revolving around the love for chai! It allows customers to feel like they are part of a community. Social media updates also help in creating brand recall value in customers’ minds.
2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
There’s no better way to gauge a restaurant than reading people’s reviews and thoughts about the food. Restaurant reviews have become a profession for many people. From critics to food bloggers, almost everyone has an opinion. Encourage customers to leave you reviews on social media and food delivery apps such as Zomato. Great reviews will help your restaurant rank higher and be more visible for online ordering.
One form of reviewing these days is social media reviewing. Send freebies in the form of new menu items or hampers to famous bloggers and other kinds of influencers who will post photographs of your food on their pages, thus giving you larger outreach.
3. Ensure ‘Top of the Mind’ Awareness
There is no better way to stay engaged to customers by remaining at the top of their minds. Once you collect data about customers, such as their birthdays and anniversaries, make sure to reach out to them with enticing offers on those dates. To have better customer engagement, you can send personalised messages to existing customers, send them weekly offers through email or SMS marketing, etc.
4. Use Food Aggregators
Food aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy have enabled customers to be in touch with restaurants constantly. Listing oneself on these aggregators will enable restaurants to find constant visibility with customers. Aggregators frequently send updates and offers to customers throughout the day in a targeted manner to get them to open food delivery apps and spend a few minutes on online ordering their favourite food.
Pizza Hut is one restaurant that has increased profitability through food delivery apps and aggregators. It uses aggregators to provide customers with offers and discounts every day of the week, making customers salivate after its offerings and find it impossible to stay away from online ordering.
5. Use Tools to Automate Online Delivery
Gone are the days of manual ordering; most restaurants use various software and tools to manage their inventory, menu and orders across all food delivery apps and aggregators they are listed on.
A classic example is McDonald’s, which uses UrbanPiper’s software to manage orders, menus, and inventory across multiple food delivery platforms with HUB.
6. Stay Abreast With The Latest Trends
While online ordering is increasing, so is customer awareness. There are various trends that get created throughout the year - one such example is that of healthy eating. Now that eating out has become a norm rather than an occasion, people are primarily inclined towards opting for healthier food options. Restaurants need to update their menus to accommodate various trending diets that people have caught onto, and be aware of the latest food cravings people have.
7. Give Customers the Option to Pre-Order/Customise
Time is of the essence, as people are typically scuttling to get 40 hours of work done in 24, including meals. Taking this into account, restaurants are now offering customers options to pre-order their meals to save time. Pre-ordering is like signing up for a meal subscription for people who are constantly working and often miss out on meal timings. Customers are more likely to choose from restaurants that offer this service, especially for daily meals.
Even for special occasions, many restaurants offer custom-made food. For example, Cake Zone offers customised cakes which need to be necessarily pre-ordered. It has witnessed increased profitability by allowing customers to send in pre-order and customisation requests.
Another winning example is Subway, the DIY sandwich and salad restaurant that allows customers to build their food. As more and more people are particular about the ingredients, & what their food should contain, offering customised food will make customers return in a jiffy.
With many ways to improve sales by using the latest food tech and restaurant marketing strategies, which ones do you think fits your restaurant the best? Running a restaurant is no easy feat, especially in the times we live in. With growing competition, it’s difficult to remain afloat in the restaurant business unless you really listen to what your customers want. Online ordering is here to stay, so it’s the way you help your restaurant adapt to food delivery apps and digital platforms that will help you ultimately boost sales.