Food is an essential consumer good that everyone needs, which is whyfood businesses have are still booming in this pandemic world. If you want to initiate a startup, a food business is a perfect choice that will take you a long way. Why? Because over 40% of American households order food from online restaurants.
Food businesses don't take too long to thrive, and their pay-off period is usually under twelve months. Although, this time duration applies more to online food businesses than high-end brick-and-mortar restaurants.
There are countless benefits to opening up an online food business. Here's what you need to know.
Establishing a food business is relatively simple. You can choose the items and prices for your menu. It's your choice which kind of cuisine you want to serve, the portion sizes, variety, etc.
There's no hard and fast rule regarding an upper and lower limit of customers you want to serve. Since it's all online, you can cater to as many customers as you want.
Moreover, you don't necessarily need an office or space to host people; you can operate your business from your home, given you have enough space to prepare your dishes.
An online food business needs an online ordering system. These systems are widely available and used by most vendors in the food industry. They provide a lot of flexibility, and customers can access your website from their phones and computers any time of the day.
Having an online presence in addition to a physical presence is far more beneficial than only having a physical presence.
The ease of ordering food at the click of a button has been well received by the masses. Most people expect restaurants to have an online delivery service and prefer ordering in over dining out. The revenue of the online food delivery segment is expected to grow to 270 million USD by the end of 2021.
It's more convenient for people to order food than to get ready, drive to a restaurant, place their orders, and then wait for their food to arrive.
Online delivery applications provide real-time information on the status of order preparation, the location of the delivery person, and the estimated time of arrival. This is a plus point for customers because with online orders, there won't be any situation where they spend time and effort to reach a restaurant only to have to wait or find out the dish they wanted isn't being served.
It would help if you kept your customers' convenience and benefits in mind when switching to an online business.
Improved Customer Experience
Traditional brick-and-mortar restaurants have to consider a lot, including customer experience, the restaurant's location, ambiance, and, most importantly, the food itself. Many people don't like being in the presence of other loud customers and commuting all the way just to eat.
So going online will save you all the trouble and expenses for low-priority operations. You can focus on the menu and makeyour online ordering system as user-friendly as possible.
Why Go Online?
You might think there isn't much difference between a traditional restaurant and an online food business. A business going online is an entirely different ballgame.
Most restaurants and the retail industry have adopted online order systems. These are POS or Point of Sales systems that record all transactions, customer relationship management, and inventory management.
Visually Appealing Interface
Studies suggest that people tend to splurge when they're hungry, and anything that looks appealing will grab their attention. An attractive online presence will enable you to grab potential customers' attention and increase your sales.
Having a visually appealing website and social media outreach helps considerably. POS systems integrate these features so that you can control everything from one point.
Online Customer Profiles
Customers can make accounts and enter their required personal information. Customers don't need to provide their residential address each time they order from the same restaurant. Their customer profiles also keep track of what customers order, and you can use the POS features to analyze this information and figure out which items on your menu are popular.
If there is a regular customer, you can offer them a special discount or offer. This improves customer relations. Having loyal customers is better than having more customers who don't return after the first visit.
Since you already have personal information like phone numbers and email addresses, you can send automated emails and text messages to wish your customers a happy birthday. Moreover, you can send alerts about special discounts and limited edition offers.
According to Forbes, paying attention to what customers have to say and reflecting on their feedback is the key to standing out from the competition. You can create online feedback forms so customers can review their orders and experience.
You could send a prompt online a few minutes after the customer receives their order. This way, you'll get accurate feedback compiled in one place.
It's a brilliant alternative to using paper comment cards. If you want to generalize the feedback from each customer, you won't have to look through each one manually because online forms provide statistics for responses.
You can add all kinds of payment options for your customers, including online bank transfer, credit card, debit card, and cash on delivery. Online ordering systems have encrypted robust cyber security, so you won't need to worry about your or your customers' bank information being leaked to scammers and hackers.
Ordering online is much more convenient for customers. If you use an online ordering system, you'll also need to use a mobile application. While customers can make a phone call and place their orders, sometimes it isn't convenient for them to do so.
The mobile application will let them place their orders without disturbing people around them. Business Insider states that mobile orders account for nearly 10% of restaurant sales; this number is expected to grow, so it's best to follow the trend now.
Simplifies The Ordering Process
All order information is processed through the online order system. This eliminates the probability of missing or messing up an order. Brick-and-mortar restaurants could be understaffed on some days, the waiters could mess up orders, and some people might have to wait a long time for their orders to be processed.
However, a POS system simplifies the entire procedure. The system will inform you when a new order has been placed and where it needs to be delivered. When multiple deliveries need to be made, the system will analyze when and where the rider should be dispatched. The GPS will ensure the timely delivery of fresh food.
Disadvantages of Brick-And-Mortar Restaurants
Let's see why having a physical restaurant can be problematic when you're starting out.
One of the most significant downsides of having a physical business is paying for rent and other amenities. Commercial plots have an expensive lease, and the contract has numerous conditions. A lot of your savings and profit will go into paying the rent, and you might have to hike up the costs on your menu to pay for your establishment. Higher rates could discourage customers and lead to lower net revenue.
Rent and mortgage are also heavily dependent on the restaurant’s location. Ideally, you'd like a location that is accessible for most of your target stakeholders. Getting a space near other hotspots is likely to be very expensive, and the payback might not suffice.
Not that you won't have employees if you have an online business owner, but you'd need more human resources if you have a brick-and-mortar food business. You'd need janitorial staff, cashiers, and waiters to run your brick-and-mortar restaurant. However, you can save a lot if you opt for an online business.
Overhead and Startup Costs
Brick-and-Mortar restaurants require mammoth investment in the incubation stage and maintenance. You'll have to pay a lot for utilities, like water, electricity, and gas.
These days, most people want everything served to them quickly. Businesses that meet this demand are successful. Waiting time in drive-thrus and restaurants has increased, so you won't have a good time unless you reserve.
If you order online, there's a set period for deliveries, and since you have an online order system to optimize everything for you, there'll be a higher customer satisfaction rate.
How to Start Your Online Food Business?
You can hire CRM strategists for restaurants like Menucrm to setup an integrated point of sale system for your business. We create the best online restaurant management software and applications, so all our clients flourish.
Our engineers have over twenty years of experience using state-of-the-art technology to optimize client websites, applications, and social media outreach.
Feel free to contact us today to get more information regarding our online ordering software.