Since March 2020 restaurants have been forced to focus more on delivery and curbside pickup orders because of COVID-19.
It’s why from February to April there was an 840% increase in weekly food delivery sales. The importance of this revenue to the restaurant industry isn’t going away any time soon.
McKinsey predicts that after the pandemic, consumers will still spend more on online food ordering than they did before the pandemic.
In fact, food delivery is estimated to grow to more than $220 billion by the year 2025, which equates to about 40% of total restaurant sales.
Here’s how restaurant owners can take advantage of this trend and increase food delivery sales.
Before we go any further you should take stock of your current operation.
Some restaurants rely heavily on delivery apps like DoorDash and UberEats. Others use their own online ordering platform. Some rely on both.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. The best thing you can do here is to consider the pros and cons of both.
There are many benefits to third-party delivery platforms like Grubhub, UberEats, and DoorDash. The main one is that they can bring in new business and significantly expand your restaurant’s exposure.
But they also come with some significant cons:
With in-house delivery options, you have total control over your delivery experience as customers order online from you. This means you connect directly with them, while better controlling your margins. The challenge with this option is that:
Once you’ve nailed down your ordering process, use these five tips to increase your restaurant’s delivery sales, and keep your restaurant busy.
The fastest way to increase your restaurant delivery sales is to target people searching for exactly what you provide.
With Google Ads, you can target potential customers who live in a specific geographic area. Here’s an example of a local search ad in action on a Maps search.
You can use this Google Sheet of example keywords from Digital Restaurateur to give you an idea of the kind of searches you should target with your campaigns.
They also have an excellent guide to setting up your first campaign if you’re completely new to search advertising.
Promotions are a double-edged sword. If you use them strategically, you can build loyalty and attract new customers.
If you use them at random, there’s a chance you lose money on people who don’t care, would have ordered anyway, and/or value a whole different set of benefits.
So how do you get your food delivery promotions right?
The folks over at 9fold found that offering an incentive that lasts for less than 60 days and can be re-used by customers multiple times is the most effective promotion strategy.
Their hypothesis for why this is the case is that it encourages habit formation.
While creating the right promotion is the first step, you also need to share it with your audience. The best way to do this is by sending text messages. That’s because text messages have:
On top of this, about 69% of consumers order food online using a mobile device.
Studies into the influence of online reviews on food delivery sales all conclude the same thing:
potential customers care what others have to say about their experience with you.
If you’re curious just how much they matter, the Harvard Business Review found, “a one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5-9% increase in revenue.”
So your focus should be on generating genuine and good reviews on different review and social media sites. The more reviews you generate, the more credibility you’ll have.
Your menu arguably has the most significant impact on your overall delivery experience.
So don’t be afraid to customize it so it better suits delivery. Consider factors like:
Taking into account all of the above will ensure that the actual dining experience is as good as it can be, increasing the likelihood a customer will order food again.
Changes to your menu don’t only affect your customer’s experience, they also make an impact on your profitability. If you use a third-party app, small orders leave you with tiny margins—or sometimes no margins at all. Ask yourself whether it may make sense to:
Working with influencers is an approach that’s worked well for meal delivery kit services like HelloFresh. (This post from Mandy Moore generated close to 30K likes.)
It’s as simple as making a list of people who you think would be a good fit and reaching out to them. You can provide them with a discount or offer in exchange for a review or post. (Some influencers with a high count of followers may ask for a fee.)
If you want to learn more, Trycake has a comprehensive guide to how restaurants can work with local influencers.
Managing a restaurant requires wearing a ton of different hats at the best of times. With COVID-19 and the shift to delivery and curbside pickup, it’s even more challenging.
While it might seem like you’re just fulfilling a short-term need by shifting to delivery orders, all data points to this being a trend that’s not going anyway anytime soon.
That’s why it’s best to act on these tips sooner rather than later.
If you’re looking for more resources on how to grow sales, check out our text message marketing for restaurants guide.