Online ordering is growing in popularity every day. More and more customers are starting to order online. Online orders are a great way for restaurants to serve their customers. They can serve more customers now than they could in their limited dining space.
Unfortunately for many restaurants, the level of competition is also very high. Most restaurants are engaged in a fight to encourage more customers to purchase with them. To stand out from this competition, you need to make sure that you are positioned well. One of the best ways you can make your brand differentiate from others is through your online menu.
Your online menu is your silent salesman. Did you know that 77% of diners are likely to visit your website or go through your online menu before they decide to purchase with you? When customers are deciding whether to go with your restaurant or not, your online menu will be their biggest decision-making factor.
Your online menu needs to be well planned and strategically designed. You can’t just make a scanned copy of your existing menu, upload it, and expect great results. The rules of engagement are different when it comes to online ordering. Your online menu needs to be organized well and easy to navigate. Here are the best tips we can give you so that you can use right away to optimize your menu and increase your revenue:
Use Your Brand Story in Your Menu
If you want your brand to stand out from the others, you need to make sure you are telling your brand story through your menu. You can influence a customer’s decision by the simplest of subtle triggers.
If you just incorporate a positive adjective, it will create a positive perception in the customer’s mind. You need to keep that in mind when you are drafting your menu description. For example, if you have a vegan restaurant, make it known to the guests that you only used locally grown vegetables. Whatever it is that you do differently from your competitors, make sure your customers get a chance to know that.
If you are using this strategy, you can justify charging a premium on certain items. For example, the price of the meal that is cooked with organic produce is likely to be higher than the other meals on the menu. Your customers will have full transparency to the menu and it will help them come to a final decision quicker.
Do you want to maximize your revenue from your online menu? Upselling is the best way for you to achieve that. We all know that bringing in new customers is difficult and expensive. It costs four times as much to retain your existing customers than to acquire new ones. Through upselling your customers, you can generate more money from your existing customers and increase your revenue.
One of the ways to upsell your customers is to offer recommendations to them. Once they have added something to their cart, you can show them an option that says “Most customers pair it with this”. You can use your own verbiage but hopefully, you get the idea. It’s all about making a digital version of the “Would you like fries with that” effect that McDonald’s has been executing successfully. If they add the additional item to their cart, it’s more revenue for you. If they don’t, then no harm is done to you.
The other way of doing upselling is more common. You can offer customers options like “Extras, Add Ons” where they can customize their meals and add extra slices of cheese, toppings, sauces, spices, etc. This allows the customers to get creative with their meals while you make money in the process. Customers are much more likely to check a box on the screen than when they are dealing with a live server.
Optimize Menu Categories for Online Order
The attention span of people is getting shorter and shorter every day. Our goal is to make it easier for the customer to make a buying decision as soon as possible. If you don’t get a customer interested in your online menu within three seconds, there is a strong probability that you have lost that customer.
If you look at a traditional menu, the categories in there go like “Appetizers, Entrees, Sides, Desserts, Drinks”. This set of categories works in a dine-in situation as customers are already familiar with this setup. But as we mentioned earlier, the rules of engagement are slightly different in the online world.
We need to capture the attention of our customers as soon as possible. The way to do that is to highlight your most popular items right away. Your customers should know about what most of your customers are ordering from you. Think of it as a digital way to offer your recommendation to a customer. Doing this will make your customer more likely to be interested in your menu and make a purchase.
Highlight Specials and Follow Trends
Nobody can expect what the next big trend will be. But everybody can be prepared to capitalize on it as it happens. For example, a while ago the pictures of rainbow-colored foods were going viral on Instagram. A lot of restaurants joined that trend and started offering these rainbow-colored foods. That trend was short-lived and then the trend of activated charcoal blackness came into action. You will never know what the next big trend is but you can capitalize on it as it happens.
On the more predictable side of things, there are seasonal trends that you can always use to your advantage. For example, you can customize your menu according to seasonal holidays. Also, it will be a great idea if you highlight the different diets you cater to. For example, having a separate category for vegan, keto diet, gluten-free and paleo foods will greatly help your customers. It will help them navigate your menu quicker and they will know exactly where to find what they are looking for.
You can also make the most of your online menu to attract customers by providing discounts, offering “buy 1, get 1” offers, or highlighting a rewards gram. You can offer coupon codes if they order during happy hours. If you leverage these tips, you can make the most of your online menu and generate more profits for your business.