Using phone apps to place meal orders has become commonplace for today’s smartphone savvy consumers, and if your pizzeria, restaurant, café, pub or club doesn’t offer this functionality, you’re missing out on potential orders.
Signing up with a third-party online order platform such as Menulog, Deliveroo or Uber Eats will provide you with access to this important channel, and there are also various customisable packages available which enable you to build an interactive online menu and/or create your own mobile app — usually with payment platforms which integrate with your Point of Sale (POS) system. Typically these require you to sign up to a monthly plan and some also charge a setup fee.
In choosing which option is best for your business, it’s important to try before you buy, i.e. test out the order platform for yourself. Put yourself in the place of the customer, and see whether the ordering experience is easy, hassle-free and efficient. If not, steer clear of that platform and go for another.
In order to give your customers the optimal mobile ordering experience, the following factors play an important role:
1. EASE OF NAVIGATION
How your menu is laid out really depends on the number of items you offer. Some online menus are difficult to navigate and hard to read, and this may be because there’s simply too much choice. Offering drop-down options and enabling customers to navigate meal choices by category can make it a lot easier for them to find the menu item they’re looking for, faster.
2. ABILITY TO SAVE FAVOURITE ITEMS AND ORDERS
If your customer regularly orders the same beverage, main, dessert or entire meal, they’ll want to be able to save this information for easy retrieval at a later time, rather than having to key all the information in from scratch when they next place an order. So make sure this functionality is included in an easy to access format.
3. MEAL DEALS AND MENU PAIRING SUGGESTIONS
You can use your mobile order platform to upsell to customers if it’s able to suggest complementary items based on what they’ve ordered so far, or alert them to discount opportunities based around meal deals or specials which include one or more items that they’ve ordered or that are favourites.
4. ESTIMATION OF ORDER/DELIVERY TIMES
When placing an order, your customer will want an estimation of how long until it’s going to be ready. Similarly, if they’re ordering a meal to be home delivered, your platform should be able to provide them with a reasonable estimate of the time to delivery. For this to be effective, you need to ensure information relating to cooking and delivery times is kept up to date and accurately reflects high traffic periods or busy nights.
5. LOYALTY PROGRAMS TO REWARD FREQUENT CUSTOMERS
Your mobile order platform is also an excellent way to encourage customer loyalty through an automated rewards program. This also keeps customers coming back through the incentive of free or discounted meals after they’ve spent a certain amount. The aim is to make placing an order with your business into a habit. Some order platforms will even boost the opportunity for customers to earn rewards based not just on how much, but how often they order from you. The more flexibility your platform offers in this regard, the better for business.