One of the best ways for restaurants to cope during the Coronavirus pandemic is to widen their horizons and explore alternatives to dine-in such as online ordering. A lot of people are cooped up inside their homes now trying to practice social distancing and ordering food online. As a restaurant owner, you can cater to their needs by selling your food online.
However, that can be tricky if you’ve never done it before and have no idea where to start. Below, you will find five tips on increasing the number of online orders during the Coronavirus pandemic (and beyond).
How to Increase Online Restaurant Sales During COVID-19
1. Optimize your restaurant website for sales
First thing’s first, do you have a website for your restaurant yet? If you don’t because you’ve managed without one pre-Coronavirus, it has probably become pretty clear you need one in the COVID-19 era.
So, the first thing you should do is hire someone to build a restaurant website for you. Even better, if you’re short on cash and can’t afford to spend money on a website right now, use a restaurant website builder.
Once your restaurant website is live, you need to make sure it’s optimized for selling as much as possible. To do that, ask yourself these questions:
- Can my customers see the online ordering button on the homepage?
- Do they have access to all important information (opening hours, contact, menu, etc.) at a glance?
- Does the menu contain eye-catching images?
- Is the menu responsive and does it load on any device?
- Is my restaurant website mobile friendly?
If you’ve answered “Yes” to all of these questions, your restaurant website is ready to sell. If you didn’t, you have to work on improving what’s missing. Even if you don’t have any website, you can easily learn How to create a restaurant website for free.
2. Add contactless food delivery options
Nothing is more important to customers right now than safety. That means whenever they order food online they want as little human contact as possible. So, what can you do as a restaurant owner to put their minds at ease? First of all, come up with different delivery and pickup options:
- Curbside pickup
- Zero-contact delivery where the driver rings the doorbell and leaves the food at the door
- Meeting the driver outside/by the car
Next, offer several payment options: online via credit card, PayPal, Apple Pay, etc. If the customer can pay online and doesn’t even have to meet with the driver to get food delivered at their door, they will be more willing to order from your restaurant.
3. Sell gift cards and vouchers
Even if you’ve reopened, some people are still concerned about going out to eat. Things might look like this for a while, which is why it’s good to have a backup plan. In addition to selling your food online, you can also sell gift cards for people to redeem when things are safe enough for them to visit your restaurant in person. You get some money now and they get the promise of a delicious meal.
You can do something similar with vouchers featuring discounts or freebies, especially if you were forced to cancel reservations because of the virus. These vouchers are also great as gifts that people can give to their loved ones.
If you want to show your customers you care, you can start selling vouchers for front-line workers too. People will be happy to buy them from you to reward the effort of essential workers.
4. Make mobile ordering easy
A lot of people tend to order food online from their phones because it’s easier and more convenient. But nothing will make them go away faster than a website that is not optimized for mobile devices.
That said, ensure customers have a flawless ordering experience on your website no matter the device they are on. Here are some things to look out for:
- The menu loads properly on any device.
- The ordering button is visible and easy to tap on.
- There are no elements that aren’t loading or can’t be displayed on mobile devices.
- The customer doesn’t have to zoom in to read the menu properly.
- The website loads fast and doesn’t freeze when accessed on mobile devices.
Customers don’t want a complicated website when they’re hungry and are looking for a restaurant to order food from. Just give them a simple, clean experience and they’ll be coming back for more in no time!
5. Sell meal and cocktail kits
Kits are very popular with foodies right now because they allow them to enjoy a restaurant-quality meal while still giving them something to do at home, alone or with their families. You could just sell meal kits, but why stop there? Add cocktail kits to the menu as well and you’ll see your sales skyrocketing.
To put a personal touch on the experience, you can add a handwritten note to every kit you deliver. Even better, throw in a voucher for 10% off their next order and you will encourage them to order again.
Selling food in the middle of a pandemic is not an easy task, especially if you had to shut down your restaurant. However, thanks to technology like online ordering systems and optimized websites, you can still sell your delicious food online.
The tips above are just the beginning, but you can always come up with creative ideas to entice customers to order more. So, what are you waiting for? Set up a restaurant website, activate online ordering, and start taking orders today!