By Brian Casel
Take-out is an excellent way to attract new customers without much overhead; no need for extra tables, and lots of potential for growth.
So you've ordered your disposable cutlery and hired a reliable driver, now how to expand?
More people than ever are turning to the web for takeout.
To target the growing online demographic, here are some tips to increase pickup and delivery orders from your website.
Visible phone number
This seems obvious right? We see a lot of restaurant websites and you'd be amazed at how many forget to include their phone number, or display it in the wrong way.
Your digits should be bold and visible everywhere on your website. Try an eye-catching design incorporated right into the header. Make it prominent on every page. If it takes more than 3 seconds to find from anywhere on your site, your number is not visible enough.
Remember that smartphones let users can tap text numbers directly to place a call. This means you should make sure you're displaying your phone number in text format, not embedded inside of an image or (gasp...) part of a Flash animation.
This classic marketing concept really works. When it comes to sales, people are more likely to take action when they're prompted.
Try some bold text beneath your phone number that reads "Order now!" or "Call us for delivery!"
But don't place too many different buttons or calls-to-action on a page or else they will compete for the attention of your visitor. The goal of every page should be to guide your visitor to one single call-to-action button. A clean, un-cluttered layout for your website can really go a long way to boosting more phone calls for pickup and delivery orders.
Mobile optimized website
More people each day are using their smartphones to access the web. Having a mobile-optimized website is becoming increasingly important for all website owners, but especially important for restaurant owners.
More customers are turning to their smartphones and tablets for delivery orders. These folks are usually on the go and looking for a quick way to place an order. Others might be sitting at home on the couch and want to be able to place their order right from their phone.
And other potential customers might be in town traveling for business or pleasure. They use their phones to find nearby restaurants.
Optimize your restaurant's site for mobile to make navigating and ordering easier on the go.
Reward delivery customers
Promotions and discounts are a surefire way to increase sales. Feature rewards to attract more pickup and delivery orders. Prominently feature these promotions on your website. Having a website platform that allows you to easily change these promotions makes it easy for you to swap them out to reward delivery customers.
One of the most effective strategies is offering free delivery for orders over a certain dollar amount. This not only encourages customers to order from you, but also pushes their total a little higher than they initially intended.
I personally go for deals like this all the time. On a late night in the office I go to order dinner from my favorite Thai restaurant. I would initially spend $15, but they offer free delivery over $25 so I end up getting enough food for two meals.
Try other discount strategies as well. Special discounts for pick-up orders, free items with group orders, and customers loyalty programs are all great techniques.
Delivery discount codes are also excellent for use with online ordering. Create a catchy word or number that customers can enter before checkout.
Prove your quality
Add customer testimonials to your website that are specific to your delivery service. Stuff like "Fastest delivery in town" and "Great quality takeout" always attracts more positive attention. This is very powerful because it's not you telling people how great your restaurant is; it's your customers saying these great things. This social proof really resonates with those first-time customers who are on the fence.
Not sure where to find such reviews? Take a look at your restaurant's page on Yelp. You should be able to pick out a few quotes from satisfied customers.
Of course, using Yelp means making sure you're reviewed well. Be sure to build a good reputation with consistent and quality service. Reply to reviews to show you care.
Restaurants that specialize in pickups and deliveries, such as pizzarias stand to gain the most from online ordering because customers are used to ordering from their phones or on the web. With online ordering they can do it on the website instead of by calling.
While online ordering isn't a necessity for every restaurant, it could be an effective add-on that boosts sales and ultimately your bottom line. The key is to make sure your online ordering menu is seamlessly integrated into your website, so customers feel comfortable when placing their order through you.
Brian Casel is the founder of Restaurant Engine, a website design solution for restaurants. For more advice on how to win more customers from the web, visit the Restaurant Engine Blog and get the free email course for restaurant owners.