If you’ve just implemented online ordering at your restaurant, congratulations! You’ve made a smart decision that will set your restaurant up for long-term success.
There’s plenty to think about when you’re just getting started with online ordering, but there’s no need to feel overwhelmed. We created this checklist so you’ll know exactly what you need to do to make the most of your online ordering. If you can check off these boxes, your restaurant will start seeing increased profits.
Optimize Your Menu for Online Ordering
Your online ordering menu should not just be a replica of your restaurant’s dine-in menu. Think about which menu items travel well and what’s well-suited to takeout and delivery. Also it’s okay to start small, selling a portion of your menu rather than the whole thing. Start with your best-selling and low-spoilage items.
Bear in mind that your online ordering menu is likely to change based on demand. Be open to changes after you launch online ordering.
Set Up Credit Card Processing
When you first log in to your MenuDrive account, you’ll have the option to customize the platform to best suit your needs. That includes establishing details like order types, order receiving methods, and colors. One of the most important setup steps is adding a credit card gateway, so you can receive online payments.
Make sure your credit card gateway is up and running before announcing your new online ordering system to customers. You can see gateway options in your MenuDrive Admin Control Panel.
Take Food Photos
Customers love seeing appetizing food photos, and you’ll love seeing increased orders as a result. Add aesthetically pleasing photos of your food to your MenuDrive Design Settings and Photo Manager, to drive traffic and sales.
If you’ll be offering delivery, you’ll need to do a bit of additional planning. Think about the following:
Will you handle deliveries with your staff, or will you partner with a delivery service? MenuDrive integrates with DoorDash for flat-fee third-party delivery, or you can choose to manage delivery in-house with your own staff.
If you’re doing third-party delivery, where will orders be picked up? Designating a clear pick-up area will make it easier to handle the hand-off from your staff to delivery couriers.
If you’re doing third-party delivery, will hot and cold items be bagged separately? If so, be sure to factor that into staging areas and the courier pickup location.
An important part of being prepared for online ordering is anticipating the packaging needs that come with it. Orders placed online will have different packaging than orders placed in-house. Here are some items you may want to stock up on:
Single-use cups and lids
If you’re not sure what type of packaging would be best, ask your distributor for guidance — and samples. Also be sure to check with your local health department for requirements on hot and cold items.
You can choose to put napkins and utensils in each online order, or you could have customers check a box to add them to their order. If customers are given the option to check a box, it’s likely they will choose to use their own napkins and utensils, helping your restaurant save on inventory costs and cut back on waste.
Train Back-of-House Staff
Prepare your staff for upcoming changes by training them on order prep for pickup, curbside, dine-in, delivery, or whatever combination of order types you’ll have at your restaurant. Make sure they know where they’ll get notified about incoming orders and how to follow through on and package those orders. And make sure you know who will be doing what, where order prep will take place, in what order each step in order prep will occur, etc., so rush times don’t turn into chaotic times.
For order pickup, make sure your staff knows how to identify the customer, to ensure that the right customer is getting the right order.
For courier pickup, make sure your staff knows everything they need to give to the courier, including sauces, utensils, etc. The courier is likely to be in a hurry and won’t have time to wait while those things are being collected.
Add Online Ordering to Your Website
Once your online ordering site is live, make sure it’s findable on your restaurant website. Add a simple “Order Online” button to your website, to direct site visitors to your online ordering platform.
Add Online Ordering to Your Print Materials
Reprint your takeout menus with your online ordering site info, so your customers will know exactly how to place their next order. You could also promote your new online ordering site with traditional print materials like flyers, table tents, or business cards, as well as exterior signage.
If your restaurant is on a third-party aggregator like Grubhub or Uber Eats, you can create cards or flyers with a discount for ordering directly through your online ordering platform. That way, you won’t have to pay the high commission fees. Offering a 10% discount is much better than losing up to 40% of a sale to a third-party aggregator!
Update Your Online Presence
Now that you have online ordering, make sure it’s everywhere your customers might find you.
Google My Business profile. Fill out your Google My Business profile to get found by locals who are searching for restaurants offering online orders near them. When you do, your restaurant will be added to map results. The more your restaurant’s website is optimized for local search results, the higher you’ll rank in local online searches.
Yelp. Make sure your Yelp page indicates what types of orders you’re taking and gives quick access to your online ordering portal.
Facebook. Add your online ordering website to your restaurant’s Facebook business page.
If you’ve never offered online ordering before, get excited for the big reveal! Your customers will love discovering that they can now order your delicious food from the comfort of their couch.
Here are some ways you can spread the word:
Social media. Get active on social media, start posting about your new online ordering platform, and share the stories that make your restaurant unique. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are great for spotlighting your menu items; you could also build up a YouTube channel and even start posting to TikTok.
Email campaigns. When you’re just starting out, don’t worry about creating a comprehensive email strategy. But if you have an email list already, you can use it to let your customers know about your new online ordering platform. You can send out email campaigns directly through MenuDrive, and set up email marketing automation with personalization tools.
Coupon codes. When you post to social media or email customers, you can include special limited-time coupons to encourage people to visit your online ordering site. Visit Coupons in your MenuDrive Admin Control Panel to build dollar- or percentage-based discount codes.
Loyalty program. Reward your customers for sticking with your restaurant, and in turn, make them even more loyal to your restaurant’s brand. You can build order- or spend-based rewards programs in MenuDrive.