Online ordering is becoming an increasingly popular way for millennials and Gen Z to interact with restaurants. But whether you’re struggling with long lines or have noticed a reduction in your regular patronage, it can be advantageous to offer online ordering and carryout options. Plus, it’s not nearly as hard to implement as you might think.
The Nature of Dining is Changing
Many people avoid sit-down restaurants because they simply can’t spare the time. Millennials are a very busy generation, and they want low-cost, relatively healthy food in small portions that they can eat on the go. And even if they do have the time, they prefer ordering online for carryout or delivery rather than getting dressed up just to grab a bite to eat. As a result, sales are declining across the board for casual restaurants. If your restaurant is to survive and thrive in this current market, you need to adapt or else risk going out of business.
Convenience is King
Ease of use is one of the primary reasons people use an online ordering system. With the changing demographics of diners, you have to remember that not everyone has the time or desire to sit down inside a restaurant to enjoy their meal. However, that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to enjoy your food. In fact, it’s more likely quite the opposite — they want your food, but when forced to choose between quality/taste and convenience, most people will opt for convenience. And there’s a significant amount of convenience in being able to place an order online. Millennials and Gen Z suffer from sky-high levels of depression and anxiety, so when they have food allergies or want to make substitutions, they’d rather do that anonymously from a computer screen than face-to-face.
It’s Less Complicated Than You Think
At this point you’re probably procrastinating adding an online ordering system for your restaurant because you don’t know where to start, and you’re worried that implementing the new system will be more work than it’s worth. After all, you’re a busy person, too. But you’ll be surprised to learn that it doesn’t take much to make the switch and start offering online ordering. All you need is a platform and your menu. As for the rest, it’s not like you’re making anything new. You already have the food and the employees to prepare the additional orders — although you may find that you have to hire one or two new employees to handle the extra demand. And if you don’t already have one, adding a food warmer to your kitchen is a good idea to make sure orders stay warm until your customers show up to pick up their food.
It’s Good for Your Marketing Strategy
Offering something new and different, such as online ordering, can be a boon to your overall marketing strategy, and especially local SEO and social media marketing. Whether your potential customers want to order online or enjoy the ambiance of your dining room, stronger local SEO helps them find you before they find your competitors. And once they’ve had a good experience ordering from you once, they’re more likely to think of you again next time they’re hungry. Plus, they’re more likely to recommend you to their friends in-person and in reviews. This too will help boost your bottom line.
Boost Your Revenue
What little inconvenience you may experience during the transition to online ordering will quickly be made up in the additional revenue that you can expect to experience. After all, more convenience means fewer barriers to people buying your food, which means more customers. If you partner with one or two food delivery apps, you also make it possible for people to order from your restaurant and have it delivered to them. Furthermore, evidence shows that online orders tend to be larger than orders by phone or in-person. In other words, your capacity and earning potential doesn’t have to be limited by the size of your dining room anymore.
You know that you have the best food in the area, but there’s tons of people out there who don’t know that yet. By opening your restaurant to online and app ordering, you make yourself more available to your target market. It may be just what you need to boost revenue and experience the growth and success you’ve always dreamed of.