There is no substitute for connecting directly with customers if you want more direct orders.
The good news is most customers want to have a direct relationship with your kitchen instead of having to place orders through a third party.
There are 6 ways to stay connected with customers and create a unique experience for them:
Easy online ordering
Give customers an easy, friendly way to order or re-order from any devices. Your site should be extremely mobile friendly and fast.
Don’t ask them to download an app prior to ordering. Make sure your site is compatible with all mobile browsers. Accept online payments from reputable credit card processing services such as Square.
Order status updates
Give customers a heads up if the line is long. Use a virtual line indicator and let customers know their place in line prior to ordering. During the wait, they can see their place moving up, allowing them to estimate how long it would be before they get ready to come to you.
Send them text (or email) notifications for order receipts, when their order starts being prepared, and when it’s ready to be picked up.
Drive up is the new delivery. Customers are opting to pick up their food more and more. This trend is prompted by the longer wait and the increased costs of food deliveries.
Give customers an easy pick-up experience and they will come back to you again and again. Offer curbside ordering and curbside pickup without leaving their car.
Phone and text support
Customers love to call even with all the latest online ordering technologies. They want human interactions. They need information that is not on the menu.
Most kitchen staff are busy to answer the phones promptly and consistently. Use a phone and texting response system that’s tied to your ordering system to offer the best of both worlds: ordering food efficiently while getting the personal touch.
Customers love to share how good your food is, or how it can be improved.
Offer an automated survey after each order is completed. Hear from them first before they tell everyone else if there’s a problem with an order. You can also ask them to post a positive review on Yelp or Google, which will certainly help attract new customers.
If possible, use a Loyalty system to reward repeat customers with points, which can be redeemed for future purchases.
Be as active as possible on Instagram and Facebook. This is the go-to place for many users when they look for the next meal idea.
Many restaurant owners are too busy, or don’t know how to post on these popular social platforms. Use a service with restaurant experience to post for you if necessary.