Whether you’re social media-savvy or a total stranger to social networks, there’s something to be gained from using digital platforms to promote your restaurant.
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.
You know that these demographics spend plenty of time scrolling through their favourite social media apps and websites. So how can you use social media to capture a new batch of customers? It’s easier than you think. Check out our five favourite tips for leveraging social media to gain more 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.
That’s because people like visuals – and on apps like Instagram, users are drawn to images that actively capture their attention, like ones that contain food.
Make sure each and every picture you post on social media is eye-catching and clear; this means taking photos in a well-lit area with a clean, uncluttered background. Position your 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 an appetizing 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:
- Navigate to your page and click the grey button under your cover photo
- Select “Edit Button” from the drop-down menu that appears
- 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 gain trust and manage your reputation. We recommend enabling reviews on your Facebook business page so that new customers feel confident about placing an order with you.
To enable reviews on Facebook, follow a few simple steps:
- Navigate to your page and select “Settings” on the left-hand side
- Select “Templates and Tabs”
- Select the “Reviews” tab
- 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
- 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.
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):
- Go to your Instagram profile
- Select “Edit Profile”
- Under “Public Business Information”, tap “Action Buttons”
- Under “Select a Button” choose “Order Food”
- Select a partner for your business’s food orders
- Add the relevant menu link
- 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:
- Start a story with a picture or graphic
- Go to your stickers by clicking on the third icon on the top right of your screen.
- Find the action sticker that says “Food Orders”
- 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.
Takeout and delivery have existed in the restaurant industry for a long time. However, these options took on a new life when the COVID-19 pandemic began. Suddenly, takeout and delivery weren’t just convenient ways for people to access their favourite food spots – these tools had become the only bridge between restaurants and their customers.
In-person dining has returned, but restaurants who introduced takeout and delivery options during the pandemic have found that these tools are worth keeping permanently. In 2020, the Agri-Food Analytics Lab revealed that almost 50% of Canadians intended to order food online at least once a week upon the return of in-person dining. In early 2021, Statistics Canada reported that 50.7% of bars and restaurants in Canada will likely adopt contactless delivery or pickup options on a permanent basis.
Now, takeout and delivery aren’t merely an emergency approach to keeping restaurants afloat; they’re something that can be perfected to serve customers to the best ability. That’s why decision makers in the restaurant industry should choose a digital dining service that actually works for them. For example, there are in-house options and third-party options.
In-House vs. Third-Party Applications
There’s no way you haven’t seen third-party delivery and takeout applications. These are the big names known for dominating digital stores with delivery apps in recent years – especially in times like the pandemic. As the term “third-party” suggests, these tools are operated by other companies, allowing you to take a hands-off approach. You can easily bring them into your foodservice space to reach a new batch of customers. These services do, however, come with some caveats – notably, high commission fees and an inability to customize the tools.
For those reasons, you may prefer to do things differently. That’s where in-house takeout and delivery tools come in. In-house tools allow you to run things yourself – usually straight from your own POS. Learn below why in-house tools might be the right option for your restaurant.
Offering Your Own Takeout and Delivery
You may be interested in trying in-house takeout and delivery. Perhaps you’ve already attracted loyal customers using third-party apps, or maybe you’ve never tried digital tools at all. Either way, introducing in-house takeout and delivery tools can be both exciting and daunting. How can you tell if you’re really ready to take a hands-on approach to digital dining?
The trick is to find the right solution. If you’re looking for a service to support your in-house digital dining experience, make sure you look for the following benefits.
1. Create customer loyalty for yourself – not for other companies
When customers order food from third-party apps, they aren’t building loyalty to the individual restaurants. Instead, they’re building loyalty to the app. Think of it this way: on a third-party app, customers are given plenty of options, and they’ll typically pick the restaurant that gives them the best value regardless of who it is. In other words, it’s like being in a giant digital food court; it’s a much less personal experience.
By offering your own takeout and delivery service, customers build loyalty to your restaurant and your restaurant only. You can increase this effect even more by offering exclusive online deals or establishing an in-house loyalty program. Keep in mind that customers are happy to support local businesses. According to a DoorDash food trends report, 80 percent of Canadians plan to do more to support local businesses in 2021. Similarly, an AAL report showed that more Canadians have used an online service direct from the restaurant than delivery apps (see the graph below).
2. Save on fees for both you and your guests
How do third-party takeout and delivery apps make their money? Many restaurateurs know the answer: third-party delivery apps charge restaurants anywhere from 15-30% per order for their services. In some ways, this is a fair rate for new customer acquisition. Of course, third-party apps provide great value to restaurants by exposing them to a huge audience of potential customers.
Once your restaurant has paid these fees to acquire new customers, you might want to make the switch to save money and provide your own takeout and delivery. Why pay the acquisition cost more than once when you don’t have to?
While it’s true that these services require additional investments to start, they more than make up for it with the extra revenue incurred from commission-free takeout and delivery orders. Say goodbye to operating at break-even or at a net loss, as many restaurants have had to do during the COVID-19 pandemic (based on research by Restaurants Canada.)
The savings also work for your customers as well. With no extra fees, customers have more room to spend on food and tips, making it a win-win situation.
3. Maintain better control of the quality of food and service
Third-party apps are appealing because they do a lot of the work for you. For example, they take care of advertising, menu creation, and much more. Yet, because of this, the restaurant owner has much less control.
With your own takeout and delivery service, you can control many important aspects of the dining experience.
Some examples include:
- Prices (zero commissions and lower service fees allow you to offer more competitive prices)
- Menu look and feel (being able to dictate your own colour scheme, layouts, and design)
- If you’re looking for guidance on digital menu creation, check out our 6 tips for creating the ultimate contactless menu
- Food quality (you control exactly how fast food gets to your customer, meaning better, hotter food for your guests)
- Branding (being able to display your restaurant’s logo on the packaging and delivery vehicle)
- Service quality (having a say over who delivers the food and how professional they are)
For more on this, take a look at Omnichannel ordering: Why you should take (back) control of your dining experience.
4. Give customers an easier experience
It’s no surprise that people love convenience. In fact, a Food in Canada article reports that convenience is the most popular aspect of takeout and delivery tools among Canadians who order food online. When you offer your own takeout and delivery, you give your customers an easier, simpler service.
With your own takeout and delivery service, customers can order without having to navigate the endless offerings of third-party apps. This means fewer ordering mistakes (which are costly and diminish the overall customer experience), more menu exploration for guests, and a lower probability of being overwhelmed by the sheer number of restaurants.
Even better, you can integrate your digital menu and delivery service directly with your social media and website. This lets customers order from your establishment without having to jump between apps and sometimes even devices. For more on this topic, check out our 5 tips for optimizing your social media to increase online ordering.
Getting Started with Your Own Takeout and Delivery
If you’re thinking about taking control of your restaurant’s takeout and delivery service, App8 can help. With our customizable solutions, we give you the tools you need to offer a seamless, omnichannel dining experience that you control, without the high fees.
Get started today: https://app8solutions.com/online-takeout-ordering/.