Online food ordering has been on the rise for quite some time, even before the pandemic impacted the world. A large volume of carry-outs and takeouts had already been replaced with online orders. However, the lockdowns and bans on dine-ins have further boosted the online food delivery industry. If we talk particularly about the US online food delivery industry, it has been witnessing tremendous growth for some years.
The US online food ordering apps have been experiencing around 20% of YoY growth for the last two years or so. It has also been estimated that US citizens roughly spend around $30 billion on ordering food online every year. The online food delivery landscape is expanding not only in the US but also worldwide and has gone way over the $200-billion mark.
The Competition Is Feisty and Fierce
15-20 years ago, online food orders and delivery were not commonplace. The internet was still not at its best and the development of smart phones had only just begun . In those days, only big fast-food chains could afford to offer food delivery, primarily through phone (call) orders. The fast-speed internet and smartphone are two of the main catalysts for the growth of the online food delivery industry. They have enabled every small and large, independent, and franchised food joint to introduce online orders and their fulfillment with the least logistics hassle.
Today, almost every restaurant accommodates online orders via large third-party online food ordering apps and delivery platforms or through their own web and mobile apps. This prevalence of online food ordering has spoiled customers for choices. There are too many options, no matter what someone wants to eat and where they are.
Amid this saturated market with fierce completion, a restaurant has to present itself as a “wholesome package”. Besides taste, variety, and prices, this package also includes a good customer experience. Therefore, a restaurant also has to focus on improving its customer experience to go one up on its competitors.
In this post, we will keep our focus on this critical aspect of a restaurant business. Here, we will discuss with you seven ways through which a restaurant can improve its customer experience for online orders.
1. Optimize Your Google My Business Profile
If you want to improve the customer experience for ordering food with your establishment, you need to identify where that journey starts. Most of the time when a person gets hungry and considers ordering something local that’s not from a big fast food chain, they search for it on Google. Google provides them the most relevant results based on their search keywords and location. For instance, when a person from Jersey City searches for “best thin crust pizza”, they will come across a list of top restaurants in their vicinity.
What are those restaurants? The restaurants that appear on top of such online food queries are the ones that have optimized Google My Business Profiles. It is essentially a profile where you can provide all the essential details of your restaurant, from the menu to open hours and order placement to navigation.
When an online user searches for your restaurant’s name on Google, they should get that optimized GMB page right in front of them where they can quickly scan through your menu and order food within a couple of minutes.
Without an optimized GMB profile, improving the customer experience of users reaching out to your restaurant via an online search is almost impossible.
2. Have a User-Friendly Website with Seamless Online Order Options
Today, the website of a restaurant doesn’t serve as an information and marketing platform only. In fact, it is now more of an online food ordering platform than anything else. Most users on any restaurant website essentially look for the “order now” button. Therefore, restaurants need to build and do up their websites around this fact.
Rather than making a website that’s just full of customer reviews and scrumptious high-definition food pictures, where it is hard to find the online order option, have a web platform that predominately acts as a food ordering platform. You can have customer reviews and food shots on the site but make sure they don’t get in the way of a consumer placing their order.
3. Get a Purpose-Built Mobile Application for Your Restaurant
Local restaurants and eateries often develop a pool of repeat customers. The best way to improve the experience of those loyal consumers is to get a mobile application for your restaurant. A customer who likes to place their meal orders with your establishment time and again will happily download the app. A bug-free food ordering app (food ordering mobile application) with seamless UI is always an improvement on web platforms.
Also, you can offer better personalization and customization with a mobile app. With an app, you can provide live updates to consumers (the order has been placed, food is ready, the order is on its way, etc.). With push notifications, you can reach out to customers with discounts, offers, and new items on the menu.
Through the ingenious use of push notifications, restaurants can ease out the decision-making process for customers. When customers don’t have to stress over options and think too much while ordering food, it eventually translates into a good experience overall.
4. Offer Optimum Customization of the Menu
Online food ordering usually entails no-contact dealing. There are no representatives on the call to provide options and answer queries. Therefore, the menus should be self-explanatory and highly customizable on online food ordering platforms. The idea is to make sure that customers can process their orders without doubts and back and forth.
If your online menu has pizza on it, make sure you mention all the essential details, like its ingredients, size, and price. Moreover, you must offer customizations with toppings and crust variants. With every food item, make sure customers can get all the needed info and customize their order then and there.
Keep in mind that a restaurant’s online food ordering system with a basic menu that lacks information and customization details will cause a significant number of customers to drop the restaurant for its competitors.
5. Provide Multiple and Integrated Payments Methods
Once a customer places their order, they are moved to the payment page/window. Here, you also need to ensure that customers don’t struggle in any way. For that, you need to provide an integrated payment system where customers can pay the bill directly on your restaurant’s web or mobile application. Also, make sure there is more than one payment option. For instance, a customer should have the room to pay via banking cards, e-wallets, online transfers, and cash.
In many cases, customers abandon their food carts at the payment page because they can’t find a suitable option for paying the bill. If you don’t want to lose a customer who is just on the brink of conversion (sale), always offer multiple payment options.
6. Loads of Discounts and Incentives
Which option is more likely to produce a better customer experience?
- A regular online order
- Online order with no delivery fee, or better yet a discount
If we keep other factors constant (base price, taste, etc.), the second option will most definitely involve a better customer experience. Therefore, you need to garnish the entire process of your online food delivery with discounts and incentives. In many cases, those discounts and incentives also compensate for things that are lacking. For instance, you might receive more orders than your competitor despite having a limited menu or slow delivery just because your online ordering involves substantial discounts.
7. Focus on Timely Delivery
Suppose a restaurant has a very intuitive web/mobile application with great customization details and multiple payment options. A customer manages to place an order with that restaurant without a hassle. However, the delivery time of the food extends to a point where the customer doesn’t feel like eating anymore. On top of that, when they receive that late delivery, the food has turned all cold and soggy. You can imagine and empathize with the customer here and easily tell about the experience they have gone through.
So after all said and done, it is the delivery time that often determines the entire user experience. It has the power to render all the factors we have discussed above useless. Therefore, focus on improving your delivery system. Get more than one delivery partner on board. Always provide a realistic turnaround time or even a couple of minutes more than that. For instance, it is better to promise 45 minutes and deliver in 40 minutes than promising 30 minutes and delivering in 45 minutes.
If you have noticed in the discussion above, a web or mobile application plays an integral role in shaping up the customer experience for online restaurant orders. In other words, getting a responsive, feature-intensive online food ordering application can get you halfway on the path of offering a good customer experience.
This is where MenuCRM can help you with its web and mobile application and web development. Contact MenuCRM today and start the work on improving the customer experience for your online orders right away.