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Are you tired of playing phone tag with guests just to take their orders? Are you tired of losing money and control to third-party marketplaces when taking online orders? Want to take back the reins and streamline your restaurant's operations? Look no further than direct online ordering!
By offering a convenient and easy way for guests to place their orders directly through your restaurant's website, you'll increase efficiency, reduce costs and retain more of your hard-earned dollars and guests. In this post, we'll dive into the benefits of using direct online ordering for your restaurant and how it can help you take back control of online ordering.
If you're a restaurant owner, manager, or marketer, you know that the world of online ordering is changing fast. Gone are the days when guests had to call in to place an order or wait in line to dine in. Today, guests turn immediately to the internet to order their meals and book tables, and that trend is only growing faster every year. One of the biggest changes happening right now in online ordering is the move away from third-party marketplaces like DoorDash and UberEats to a restaurant's own direct online ordering.
In many ways, it's a welcomed step back to the way things were when guests would call restaurants directly. It's restaurants taking back control of hospitality and owning the entire guest journey. We're biased, but we think Sociavore Online Ordering is the perfect direct online ordering system for quick-service, full-service, and food halls.
Online Ordering: From Third-Party to Direct
When it comes to online ordering, many restaurants have relied on third-party marketplaces to handle the process. While these platforms can help to increase visibility and are easy to implement, they also come with some drawbacks.
The biggest drawback of using third-party marketplaces is the commission - typically 24-30% on every order. This means that for every $100 in top-line revenue, a restaurant may be losing $30 in commissions alone. Use our calculator to calculate how much third-party commission could be costing you.
The drawbacks of third-party marketplaces offering discounts and promotions cannot be overlooked. The lack of control over discounting puts the restaurant at a disadvantage. The strict pricing rules imposed limit a restaurant's flexibility in determining prices. The discounts and promotions offered on these platforms often undercut the restaurant's prices, luring guests away and ultimately hurting the restaurant's bottom line. In many cases, the discounts may even be perceived as compromising the quality of the food, damaging the restaurant's reputation.
Losing the guest relationship
Restaurants are deprived of guest data on third-party marketplaces, leading to a severe loss of knowledge about their guests. This impedes loyalty and repeats business, as the marketplace's goal is to promote a wide variety of restaurants, not just one. Restaurants face a dearth of customer feedback, hindering their ability to respond to complaints or concerns quickly. This can significantly damage their reputation and hinder guest retention. Additionally, the lack of contact information makes it impossible for restaurants to market or communicate with guests in the future, making it challenging to develop lasting relationships and foster repeat business.
Direct online ordering offers a solution to all of these drawbacks. By allowing guests to order directly from the restaurant's website, the restaurant avoids commissions. Restaurants maintain complete control over their menu and prices, providing more flexibility to adapt to their guests and the market. Additionally, direct online ordering can also provide guests with a more streamlined and personalized ordering process, increasing guest satisfaction. As a result, DOO contributes to a more substantial guest lifetime value when compared to relying on third-party marketplaces as intermediaries.
The Operational Benefits of Direct Online Ordering
As a restaurant owner, manager, or marketer, you're always looking for ways to make things run more smoothly. Direct online ordering can be a game-changer when it comes to simplifying your restaurant's operations and reducing your staff's workload.
Free your staff from the phone
Let's talk about the elephant in the room - phone orders. You know, when the phone rings off the hook and half the time you can't hear the guest's order over the background noise. With direct online ordering, those phone calls have become a thing of the past. Guests can place their orders online, and voila! No more shouting matches with guests who can't hear you and fewer phone interruptions during service.
Let's face it, sometimes staff might take down the wrong order or mess up the details. With online ordering, guests enter their own orders, so there's less room for errors.
Stay organised and in control
Instead of a jumbled mess of handwritten order slips, you'll have everything in one place and paced out based on kitchen capacity. Direct online ordering also helps to reduce staff workload by allowing guests to place their orders in advance, which means that the restaurant can prepare orders ahead of time, reducing stress during peak hours.
So there you have it! By using direct online ordering, you can make life easier for your staff, minimise errors, and keep things organised in your restaurant.
How to Implement Direct Online Ordering for your Restaurant
Direct online ordering can be a powerful tool for any restaurant, but it's important to understand and implement best practices to maximize value. Here are a few tips and best practices for effectively using direct online ordering.
Optimise for mobile
As we live in the era of mobile convenience, it's crucial for restaurant owners to understand the power of a mobile-friendly ordering system. With the majority of customers placing orders via their smartphones, it's essential to optimise your website for the small screen. The key is to create an effortless user experience with minimal clicks and swift loading times. By reducing the number of steps required to place an order, you not only enhance customer satisfaction but also boost order volume.
Make it easy to find
Prominently displaying your online ordering system on your website and Google Business Profile can go a long way in driving more orders. By incorporating a clear and prominent call-to-action button on your website, customers will be enticed to place orders without hesitation. But why stop there? Choosing a direct ordering software provider that integrates with Order with Google enables your guests to place orders directly from Google Search, Maps, and Assistant. The easier it is for guests to find and place direct online orders, the more successful your restaurant will be.
Personalise the experience
Personalise the ordering experience by allowing guests to customise their orders and store payment information for faster future orders. It's the small details that elevate guest satisfaction and take your restaurant to the next level.
Track and analyse data
A direct ordering website optimised for Google Analytics 4 with Enhanced Ecommerce event support can be a powerful tool. By tracking guest behaviour and leveraging the insights gained from analytics, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes that lead to increased sales and greater guest satisfaction. By catering to the needs and preferences of your customers, you can take your business to new heights. So why not seize the opportunity and start harnessing the power of data today?
If you want to maximise the benefits of a direct online ordering system, promoting it is key. Spread the word to your guests by advertising it in-restaurant, through your email list, and on social media. And for the tech-savvy crowd, don't forget to include a QR code within your marketing materials. By making it easy for your customers to access your direct online ordering system, you'll see an increase in sales and overall guest satisfaction.
By following these best practices, you can ensure that you're leveraging your direct ordering investment to its fullest.
Keep Direct Online Ordering On Your Website Domain
In the realm of direct online ordering systems for restaurants, it is important that they are hosted on the restaurant's own domain name - think "restaurant.com" - instead of relying on a service provider's domain name (let's say "orderingprovider.com/restaurant") or a subdomain (like "order.restaurant.com"). Despite this, most direct ordering providers fail to acknowledge the advantages of this approach. The benefits are significant, though.
You've worked hard to establish a consistent brand experience for your guests - from the decor to the menu items. But did you know that having your online ordering system hosted on your own domain name can also contribute to that consistency? When customers are directed to a third-party domain, it can lead to confusion and disorientation, which can ultimately detract from their overall experience. By having your own domain, you can ensure a seamless and cohesive brand experience for your guests.
Guests are more likely to trust an online ordering system that is directly connected to the restaurant's own domain name. When the online ordering system is hosted on a third-party domain, guests may feel uneasy about providing sensitive information, such as their payment details.
Boost search engine optimization (SEO)
Having an easily accessible ordering menu for guests not only benefits them but also enhances your restaurant's SEO. This is because search engines like Google consider websites with direct online ordering systems on their own domain names as credible and trustworthy sources for users seeking specific dishes. By investing in such a system, you can boost your restaurant's online visibility. Prioritising restaurant SEO through a direct online ordering system is a smart move for any restaurant looking to grow its online presence.
More effective digital advertising
By directing guests to your own domain for direct ordering, you can use "cookies" for retargeting them with ads later. This is a tactic that the most successful third-party marketplaces and direct-to-consumer companies use to their advantage, and it can now be implemented by your restaurant. How does it work? By using Google or Facebook advertising cookies to track visitors' actions on your website, and then delivering personalised ads to them when they browse other websites or social media platforms. This boosts the likelihood of conversion, resulting in improved ROI for your digital advertising campaigns.
Placing the online ordering system on your restaurant's domain name not only streamlines the process but also drives traffic to other parts of your website. Guests who access the online ordering system are more likely to explore other areas of your website and learn more about your restaurant, place a private event request, purchase a gift card, and more.
Hosting the online ordering system on the restaurant's own domain name offers numerous benefits and is an important, if not the most important, aspect of building a strong online presence for a modern restaurant.
There are many examples of restaurants that have implemented direct online ordering on their own website domain. Here are a few real-world examples to demonstrate the effectiveness of this method.
Mario's Kitchen - Delta, BC
At the heart of Tsawwassen, British Columbia lies a culinary haven known as Mario's Kitchen. They set the bar high when it comes to executing direct online ordering with pickup and their own delivery drivers. With a seamless and user-friendly online ordering system, customers can easily browse through the menu, select their desired items, and place their orders quickly. By using their own delivery drivers, Mario's Kitchen is able to provide their customers with reliable and efficient delivery services. Fulfilling hundreds of orders a week means having a smooth operations workflow is paramount. Using Sociavore as their direct online ordering platform on their own domain, the team can manage and fulfill orders using order pacing, cloud printers, a real-time dashboard, and automated SMS messaging to keep their team and guests up-to-date. Direct online ordering saves them an estimated 28 hours of staff time on the phone every single month.
Graffiti Market - Waterloo, ON
Graffiti Market was using Square Online Ordering and a Square Online website but saw third-party ordering become over 80% of their takeout orders. Their direct online ordering solution was severely underperforming compared to third-party due to a slow loading site that wasn't built for restaurants. They replaced their slow website with a Sociavore restaurant website and now have over 300 pages indexed in Google, and direct online ordering integrated with Google Maps, Assistant, and Search. Direct online orders are increasing again, as well as a significant increase in website traffic.
YIAYIA - Guelph, ON
YIAYIA, a beloved Mediterranean bowl and wrap joint is a masterclass in implementing direct online ordering. Utilising Sociavore's access to North America's largest delivery network, YIAYIA offers the convenience of both delivery and pickup through their website and Google Maps, Assistant, and Search. With an impressive 50%+ reorder rate within 30 days, YIAYIA's direct online ordering system has proven to be incredibly popular among guests. In fact, third-party marketplaces account for less than 10% of all takeout orders, highlighting the success of YIAYIA's in-house ordering platform.
These are just a few examples of how direct online ordering can help increase revenue and guest satisfaction and streamline operations for restaurants. The key takeaway from these examples is that direct online ordering can have a significant impact on a restaurant's bottom line. By implementing direct online ordering, restaurants can expect to see an increase in revenue, a reduction in errors, and a higher guest lifetime value.
In this blog post, we've delved into the fascinating world of direct online ordering for restaurants. By embracing this innovative technology, restaurants can unlock a host of benefits that will leave their guests more satisfied and their staff more efficient.
We've explored the many ways in which direct online ordering can streamline restaurant operations, reduce errors, and simplify inventory management. But the benefits don't stop there. With direct online ordering, guests can enjoy a faster and more convenient ordering experience, allowing them to customise their orders and reduce wait times.
To truly take advantage of this game-changing technology, we urge restaurant owners, managers, and marketers to make the leap and implement direct online ordering in their own establishments. By following best practices and taking the necessary steps to set up direct online ordering, you can quickly and easily begin to build guest loyalty and drive sales. The future of online ordering has arrived, and it's time to embrace it.