Online food delivery is one of the most dynamically growing segments of the restaurant business. According to Statista data, more than one in four (25.3%) internet users will order food online. Yet in the crowded and competitive online environment, many restaurant owners struggle to get their message heard.
The most obvious and straightforward way to build the company’s online presence in the online food delivery ecosystem is to enroll in one of the online food delivery apps, be that of Uber Eats or Glovo. While convenient and easy to use for both the restaurant owner and the customers, these come with some drawbacks.
According to the Business of Apps report, the revenue of the food delivery apps has risen from $8.7 billion in 2015 to $26.5 billion in 2020. The growth remains stable and the main fuel of it comes from the commissions of the online food delivery companies – and these are paid by the restaurant owners and customers alike.
According to the journalist test performed by The New York Times, the overall costs of the online food delivery apps can stack up to 91% higher end price for the customer, including all taxes, fees, and markups. When it comes to Uber Eats, the commissions vary from 30% with full service including transportation to 6% when the user chooses the pickup option.
The most effective way to cut these expenses is to run your own online food delivery channel. Check all features of Ordering Stack, this is an online system for ordering and order processes in restaurants. With self-service kiosks and POS Integration.
Why do you need your own online food delivery channel?
An owned delivery channel provides the restaurant owner with multiple benefits, with the top of mind being listed below:
As mentioned in the introduction, the costs of online food delivery apps are ten to stack into amounts that quietly undermine the profitability of the business. When the company owns the online delivery channel that enables the customer to place an order, pay for it and get it transported to his or her home, a huge part of all that the external provider gets paid for is in-house. Thus, the customer can be provided with a much more attractive offer.
Being vendor-locked to an online delivery platform of any kind highly reduces the flexibility of the company. With the new technologies being introduced, the company without sticking to the modern ways of doing business can find itself frozen in an antiquated, platform-specific business model.
Also, if the major share of the company’s operations is done using a single platform, the restaurant is depending on it. And the platform can change the rules at any time – for example, rise the commissions, introduce new rules or ban the restaurant for any reason – also by mistake.
Last but not least, the users are communicating with the brand through multiple channels, including social media or email. They expect the company to be the same in every channel. Forcing them to switch to some unfamiliar environment (an external service) can be frustrating and reduce the customer experience.
How to promote the owned online ordering channel
One of the key advantages of joining a platform like Uber Eats or Glovo is the access to the mass of customers who are currently looking for something to eat. This app can be compared to the alley full of bars and restaurants, where diners come.
When going out of this ecosystem, the restaurant owner finds himself alone in a deserted corner of the internet – but not for long, if the marketing is done properly.
1. Run brand awareness ads and campaigns
Brand awareness refers to all jobs done to inform the customers about the sole existence of the company, without exact selling them anything. According to Wordstream data, up to 37% of online shoppers say they use social media for “purchase inspiration”.
This is also about delivering information about the existence of the restaurant. providing the users with the menu and inviting them, not exactly converting or selling.
2. Share visually appealing content
When it comes to online food images, Instagram and Pinterest are powerful platforms. So powerful in fact that according to StudyFinds up to a third of diners buy food only to take the picture of it and post it online – but not actually to eat it. Moreover – 19% confess they never had an intent to eat the ordered food and 27% changed their diet to eat the better-looking food that is more suitable to be posted online.
This strong and influential community is a great opportunity for the company – the restaurant owner has multiple occasions to share images of the food, either daily during the preparation or with photoshoots.
This requires some investments, with the need to buy a good camera (or at least a good smartphone) and some lighting devices, yet the possible gains are huge.
On the other hand though, in such a competitive landscape, building an online presence without appealing images is hardly possible, so this point is a must.
3. Use Google my business
Google My Business is a service tightly connected with Google Ads and Google Maps, that enables the owner of a local business to reach the clientele that is around.
According to HubSpot data, up to 46% of Google searches are about local information. Also, up to 88% of searching visits ended in a visit to a local store. This comes as a perfect fit for the restaurant – the need to eat something is urgent, so the user is interested in his or her nearest restaurants.
When it comes to online food delivery the time of the delivery is crucial – having dinner in ten minutes is much different than needing to wait for it for over ten hours due to the traffic jam or just the distance.
4. Use targeted marketing
The customer in the restaurant usually remains anonymous. But on the internet, the company can collect the data and build up knowledge about him or her. This can be further leveraged with building the targeted marketing efforts.
This can come in at least two forms:
- Email marketing
The company can gather the emails of potential and current customers to share the marketing messages with them. According to the data gathered by BenchmarkEmail up to two-thirds of email users like to receive marketing emails – assuming it is not spam, but a wanted message.
The restaurant can (and should) run email marketing campaigns with an aim to either build up brand awareness or convert them to buy.
- Narrow social media targeting
While email marketing is a way to keep the current customers close to the brand, social media give the possibility to attract new buyers. There are multiple ways and conditions to target the social media ads, based on the proximity to the restaurant, the social traits like age and dining preferences, and much other information that may influence the purchasing decisions.
Social media platforms offer the possibility to target people similar to those who are already followers of the brand, so building the reach is easier at this point.
5. Go mobile
The smartphone is one of the most popular devices in the world, with 83.89% of the planetary population owning one. It is a computer right within the user’s pocket. Being available there is a convenient way when the company’s services are required is crucial in establishing the relationship with the customer.
The restaurant and food ordering business are usually prone to emotion-based decisions, done in little to no time. In the end – it is all about being hungry. The fast work and convenience of the mobile app were one of the multiple factors behind the success of Uber Eats and similar offerings.
That’s why providing the customers with ordering apps, be that native one or Progressive Web App is a must for a modern restaurant, especially a fast-food one.
6. Use content marketing
The key goal of the internet is to provide the user with the information he or she is looking for. This creates a huge opportunity for companies to provide this information in an attractive and legible form, using content marketing.
The key idea behind content marketing is to deliver appealing and attractive content to be used in attracting new customers. When it comes to the restaurant, the key challenge is in building skills required to create the content, be that writing, making photographs, drawing images, or making movies.
The problem can be solved by hiring an external specialist (freelancer or agency), building the internal marketing team, or finding a partner, for example, an influencer.
7. Run a loyalty program
A loyalty program is a win-win strategy for both the restaurant and the company. The former has an access to discounts and dedicated offers based on his or her previous choices. The latter gathers the data about customers and can reach them with the next offers to keep them interested and engaged in the brand.
According to TechJury data, up to 43% of customers spend more on brands they are loyal to. Also, the loyalty program is the way to reduce customer churn. According to the data mentioned above, the 5% reduction of the customer churn can increase the profitability of the business by between 25% and 125%.
8. Blur the lines between online and offline
The brick-and-mortar restaurant is also a powerful channel to attract and retain customers – assuming the company is eager to encourage the customers to use the online channels. Depending on the strategy, the restaurant can give leaflets to the customers, share promo codes encouraging them to order via the owned channel. Easing pick-up orders can be also a way to blur the lines between the online and offline world.
9. Observe, learn, react, and test
Last but not least, the best marketing is one the company finds on its own, with the constant testing and evaluation of the marketing efforts. Both in the online and offline worlds the marketing needs to be done in the hypothesis – test – evaluation cycle to spot the best techniques and optimize what can be done better
Online food ordering is a business not that different than typical e-commerce. Yet there is no “one size fits them all” marketing, no matter if the company sells food, apparel, or anything else.
If you wish to talk about the ways to promote the online selling channel of your restaurant, don’t hesitate to contact us now!