Let’s face it: 2020 was a year that shook up the restaurant industry like never before.

In the blink of an eye, your guests went from eating out to exclusively ordering in. In fact, the Agri-Food Analytics Lab at Dalhousie University released a report in November 2020 that revealed a 15.8% increase in the number of Canadians making food orders at least once a week, totalling around 4.2 million people.   So, as we set up takeout solution after takeout solution, we started to do some research. What we found was that online ordering was far from just a trend. Going forward, 49.4% of Canadians intend to keep ordering online at least once a week once the pandemic is over.  

So, the question becomes: what can you do to keep up? You’ve already implemented online ordering, but now it’s time to do more (using a tool that is completely free!). Two words: social media.

Using social media to your advantage will help you reach a massive market of gen-Z and millennial consumers. According to a report by Restaurants Canada, 79% of gen-Z consumers and 71% of millennials order food or beverages from a restaurant at least once a week. This tech-savvy group of consumers is one of the most important markets for the restaurant industry today and could be critical to your success and growth during and after the pandemic.  

All that being said, here are 5 tips to help you leverage social media to increase your online orders.

5 tips for optimizing your social media to increase online ordering:

1. Grab your guests’ attention with high-quality food images

Nothing triggers a food craving like seeing a mouthwatering photo on your social feed.

According to a recent study by Snappr, you can increase your orders on restaurant ordering apps by 35% by simply including high-quality photos of your food.

Make sure each and every picture you post on social media is eye-catching and clear; this means taking it in a well-lit area with a clean, uncluttered background. Take pictures with your food as the centrepiece and think about how you can grab someone’s attention while they are scrolling through social media. If you’re looking for an example, take a second to explore one of our sample digital menus.

For more tips on how to take photos that can create a 35% increase in orders, check out our free guide to food photography for restauranteurs!

2. Make ordering easy by setting up your Facebook call-to-action button

Imagine this: your guests are scrolling through Facebook when all of a sudden they stumble upon a mouthwatering photo of your food. They head to your profile to place an order but realize that they have to leave Facebook. They decide to finish browsing, quickly forgetting about their spontaneous hunger and all the hard work you put in to make your food look so appetizing.

Now imagine that, instead of having to leave Facebook, your guests can order or book straight from your Facebook page. All you need to do is change the big blue call-to-action button at the top of your page to better suit the action you want your visitors to take. It’s easy:  

  1. Navigate to your page and click the grey button under your cover photo
  2. Select “Edit Button” from the drop-down menu that appears
  3. Choose your desired call-to-action, such as “Start Order”

With this button, your visitors will be redirected to another tab where they can start their order right away – if you don’t have a digital menu yet, head to app8solutions.com/digital-menu/ to get started today. Or, check out our 6 tips for creating the ultimate contactless menu.

3. Earn your guests’ trust by responding to reviews on Facebook

Did you know that 90% of guests do research online before visiting a restaurant? That’s why it’s essential to enable Facebook reviews on your business page so that new customers feel confident about placing an order with you.

 To enable reviews on Facebook, follow a few simple steps:

  1. Navigate to your page and select “Settings” on the left-hand side
  2. Select “Templates and Tabs”
  3. Select the “Reviews” tab
  4. Flip the switch to enable visitors to leave reviews of your restaurant

To make the most of this function, you need to respond to your reviews as well. Tell your positive reviewers that you appreciate their time, and tell your negative reviewers that you’re considering their suggestions. Onlookers will see that you truly care about your customers, bringing them one step closer to ordering from your restaurant.

4. Serve your guests better by filling out your profiles completely

Whether you’re building a new profile from scratch or updating existing accounts, make sure your bio is complete and comprehensive. There’s nothing worse than having a visitor that’s ready to buy from your restaurant give up because they can’t find basic details! Put your important information front and centre so that guest feels confident placing an order.

Make sure your profiles include:

  • Hours of operation (and COVID restrictions)
  • Current offering (dine-in, takeout, delivery)
  • Link to your website (that goes directly to your order page)
  • Address (or addresses, if you have more than one)
  • Contact information (email, phone #, social media)
    • On Instagram, adding an email address or phone number to your bio generates a button that users can click on to call or email you. This makes it super easy for your guests!

Bonus: On Facebook, you can add other important information for your customers such as cuisine type and price ranges.

This tip is especially important if your restaurant offers its own takeout and delivery or supports omnichannel ordering.

5. Make it easy to place an order by linking your menu to your Instagram

Remember the customer that saw your food on Facebook but decided to finish browsing their feed instead of ordering? Well now they’re on Instagram and the same thing is happening!

Luckily, there’s also a way to let your customers order food straight from Instagram. The instructions to set up food orders on your Instagram business page are as follows (coming from the official Instagram website):

  1. Go to your Instagram profile
  2. Select “Edit Profile”
  3. Under “Public Business Information”, tap “Action Buttons”
  4. Under “Select a Button” choose “Order Food”
  5. Select a partner for your business’s food orders
  6. Add the relevant menu link
  7. After you’ve entered the website, tap “Done”

Your followers will now be able to order your food through the “Order Food” button on your Instagram profile. Don’t stop there though—you can also put this button in your stories! Remind customers of the great food you offer and make it even more tempting by making it just one click away. It’s simple:

  1. Start a story with a picture or graphic
  2. Go to your stickers by clicking on the third icon on the top right of your screen.
  3. Find the action sticker that says “Food Orders”
  4. Place it anywhere on your story and post. This sticker serves the same function as the “Order Food” button on your Instagram profile

Try out each of these tips and watch the online orders start rolling in!

If you’re looking to give online ordering a try, go to https://app8solutions.com/online-takeout-ordering/ to get started today.