Jeremy Julian

How to Optimize Your Restaurant for Mobile Orders

July 14, 2020

In today’s COVID-19 world, mobile ordering is more important than ever. To succeed in this day and age, it’s vital you optimize your restaurant for mobile orders.

Leading industry resource, Fast Casual, recently reported that more than half of all restaurant customers have already used their mobile devices to place orders – and that mobile orders this year would total $38 billion in the quick service (QSR) sector alone.

So the trend towards mobile is one you can’t afford to ignore, and it’s only been accelerated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More and more people have become used to placing mobile orders for curbside pickup or home delivery; and it seems likely that many will continue to order in this way, even as restaurants begin to reopen for more conventional dining-in services.

Making sure that your restaurant is geared up to providing an excellent service for customers ordering with mobile devices, or through your website, will therefore be essential to your success during the pandemic and beyond.

If you’re ready to optimize your restaurant for mobile orders, here are some tips:

Make Mobile Ordering Easy

First and foremost, customers choose mobile ordering for its ease and convenience when compared with using the phone or queuing in a crowded reception area. So they will quickly look to your competitors if your mobile ordering app or website is slow or difficult to navigate.

Restaurant Technologies That Improve Operations

Your app needs to include a full, visually engaging menu that allows your patrons easily to customize their orders. And it should integrate seamlessly with your restaurant POS system to allow for fast and secure payments.

If you’re accepting orders through your website, you need to ensure that it loads rapidly and, of course, that it is mobile responsive and easy to use on handheld devices.

Apart from being helpful to customers, this will have the side benefit of improving your site’s visibility in search results, and it may well be worth taking some expert advice on this if you don’t have an in-house IT specialist.   

Both website and app orders should also provide customers with immediate confirmation that their order has been received, an estimated time when it will be ready and instructions for where and how to collect it.

Allow and Prompt for Upsells

This isn’t a matter of squeezing the maximum possible revenue out of each and every customer. It’s about using your app or website to ensure that customers ae fully aware of all the options available to them in terms of sides, desserts and beverages; as well as any special offers or promotions you may be running.

Use Content Marketing

And both your app and website can and should be about much more than providing customers with a convenient means of mobile ordering.

Used imaginatively, they can be valuable marketing tools, optimizing revenues and keeping users engaged with your business by supplying them with informative, interesting and entertaining content; and notifying them well in advance of any promotions or special events that may be forthcoming.

Integrate Your Loyalty Program

Integrating a loyalty program with a mobile ordering system used to be thought of as a technically challenging problem. But with today’s apps and restaurant POS systems it need not be.

And the benefits certainly make it worthwhile.

New customers using mobile can be prompted to join your program with a single click, improving the chances of them becoming repeat customers. On the other hand, you don’t want to deter your existing members from making use of mobile ordering by not allowing them to earn or redeem reward points at the same time. 

Why Mobile Ordering is the Future

It seems likely that COVID-19 has significantly accelerated an existing trend towards mobile ordering.

And this presents restaurants that can adapt quickly with a great opportunity.

Some industry sources report the average online customer as spending 15% more than when ordering in-house. And the wide variety of apps available today also allow for the collection of considerable amounts of customer data that can be used for highly targeted marketing.

The bottom line is that if you’re not ready to optimize your restaurant for mobile orders, you need to get going, and the simple steps outlined above will be a great place to start.

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