For a restaurant to succeed at online ordering, it’s important to stay updated on what’s working in an online ordering menu and what’s not. The way design, aesthetics, and structure of the physical menu are important in the dine-in set up for a restaurant, the online world has its own dynamics which can have a huge impact on the business.

With the changing economy and rising trends for online food ordering, customer’s expectations are also evolving. Restaurants need to adapt to these changes constantly to keep up with the trends.

Why is an online menu so important?

The online ordering menu is the first step where the customers interact with the restaurant. Once the customers come across a well developed digital menu, it acts as an advertisement for the restaurant to strengthen the customer experience and grow the revenue outside the restaurant.

According to the research conducted by UBS called “Is the Kitchen Dead ?” a UBS analyst wrote :

“Online ordering has started to become the norm, thanks to the convenience, accuracy, and ability to integrate payments. At scale, ubiquitous on-demand and subscription delivery of prepared food could potentially spell the end of cooking at home.”

And if the customer’s perspective has to be considered, Hudson Riehle, SVP of Research and Innovation Services for the National Restaurant Association says:

“From the consumer perspective, there’s nothing more convenient than having the restaurant come to them. The off-premise component has been primarily responsible for industry growth over the past decade, and it won’t be decreasing into 2018 and beyond.”

With the research above, it can be said that consumers today are more inclined to online ordering. For a restaurant owner, an online menu serves as the primary thing to introduce a customer to a restaurant. Now, the challenge here is to present a well-executed digital menu to the customers considering there is no physical staff helping the user choose the dish.

Data for tracking & improving online ordering menu

The bedrock of good menu optimization is analytics and it can be easily achieved with the help of online tools such as CRMs and dashboards which can empower the stakeholders to remain on top of their businesses. Here are some ways on how the restaurant owner can use best practices to improve the online ordering menu and increase sales:

Data For Refining the Menu

Segmentation of menu into easy and handy categories and subcategories not only draws the customer’s attention but makes it accessible for quick comparisons.

Analysis of the sales volume of the items across various aggregators would help develop an understanding around what’s working on different platforms, thereby, helping in understanding the customer base of different platforms. This can be used to add, remove or rearrange certain items from the menu for better growth. Identifying and removing the unpopular items (which don’t contribute to sales and profits) from the menu becomes much easier and quicker with these distributions to get rid of food waste and unnecessary cost.

With data, a restaurant manager can also try different strategies to optimize the online menu. For instance — different segmentation of items can be tested over a particular period of time. Observing the online buying patterns of these menus would help in continuously in refining the menu

A common trend while analyzing items is segmenting them into groups like :

All-time greats

Items that are ordered a lot and customers tend to re-order them.

Hidden gems

Dishes that are not ordered that much, but once someone tries them, they are hooked.

One-time wonders

Items that are ordered a lot, but people don’t tend to reorder them.

Dawdlers

Items that aren’t offered very often and when offered, people don’t order it again.

Data For Price Discovery

Analysis around the larger data sets of the costs of menu items would help in hitting the sweet spot on pricing.

Not only this, but analytics also plays a vital role in deciding the prices of the combo items and giving discounts. Keeping the track of the sales volume and feedback of different discounts given on the various combo items would turn out great in assessing the business.

Data For Upselling & Cross-Selling Items

Data can be used to detect and add modifiers to the online ordering menu of those items that customers regularly seem to “add on” to their orders. For example, ordering an extra beverage along with a meal. This would present the restaurant with the opportunity to upsell and cross-sell items on their menu. Data can also be used to plan out special combinations/value packs/family packs for particular occasions, based on the past performance of those items during those occasions.

While trying out various promotional strategies for different online aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato, measure which of the promotional strategies of what particular items bring out the greatest response. Using this information along with data on sales volume across different platforms, restaurant managers can get a better picture of customer’s preferences.

Summing up

A Restaurant’s analytics can help restaurateurs to uncover insights about the business that they never even knew existed — it’s through this analysis that the greatest growth occurs.

In today’s cut-throat competition, restaurateurs need every edge to win in the food-tech marketplace, and restaurant analytics will help get them where they need to be.