When guests are sat in a restaurant one of the first things that will happen is their waiter or waitress will run through a few series of options for them.
This could be the daily specials, drinks, sides, starters or desserts. A well-trained staff member may even have the opportunity to recommend items tailored to their tastes. This has two end results. First, the customers feel well taken care of and the get a better dining experience overall. This is vital if restaurants want to encourage repeat eaters. The second reason, and similarly the reason why staff training is so important is that it can increase the overall spend of the customer.
When it comes to online orders there is no opportunity for staff to impact a customers experience and buying decisions in the same way. However, just because there is no direct interaction between staff and customers doesn’t mean that you can’t create a positive ordering experience and help customers order exactly what they want. The same techniques that are used across retail can be applied to online ordering for restaurants to achieve this.
The goal with the strategies we outline in this article are to increase average order value (AOV) while simultaneously delivering a smooth and enjoyable customer ordering experience.
5 Strategies to Increase Restaurants AOV
- Upselling. By presenting similar dishes to those they have already added to their basket you can encourage online visitors to upgrade their purchase. For example, someone might put a ham pizza in their basket only to see that it’s only a few extra dollars to get the meat supreme.
- Cross-selling. An example of how this might work for online orders for restaurants is to encourage additional purchases from visitors of starters, sides or drinks. For example, you might have suggested pairings.
- Packs and Discounts. Two for the price of one or meal deals are examples of how these strategies are commonly implemented. This encourages visitors to spend more to get the best deal.
- Free delivery. Delivery can be expensive for restaurants and for eaters. However, by placing a minimum order value to obtain free delivery there is a good chance that customers will fill up their basket to this minimum value.
- Charitable donations. By donating a portion of profits to charities you can do a little good while encouraging customers to spend a little more. For example, you might say that 5% of all orders over $50 go to charity X.
Place online ordering front and centre on your website
Your restaurant’s website is your shop window. When people look for you online they need to easily find it. Plus it needs to be very clear how they can order as well as entice people to place an order.
Upfront there should be delicious pictures of food with alluring descriptions. There should be clear instructions and links to your online ordering site. If you have a mobile ordering app such as the one we offer then this needs to be promoted here as well.
You should also make your menu freely available for those interested. Once people are hooked, you can use imagery and description as well as the layout of your online ordering system to encourage higher value orders and create a seamless buyer journey.
What we love about Burger Burger‘s website is the clarity of their offering and the tantalising image-centric focus of their home page. It immediately makes you want to order and the two calls to action “Book a Table” and “Order Takeaway” make it easy for the online visitor to make that decision.
Offer special items through online ordering, and incorporate discounts
Not every meal item is designed to be served up for delivery. Some things, like ice cream desserts, just don’t travel well. So, it makes sense to adjust your menu accordingly. However, you can also turn that around. Instead of offering a limited online menu, you can create specific online order items which are only for takeaway.
This strategy could take multiple different forms, such as weekly deals or daily specials. And when paired with a discount and loyalty program you’ll not only encourage higher value orders, you’ll likely build up a selection of loyal regulars.
Use your online ordering app or the online ordering program integrated into your POS system to set up these special promotions. Finally, once you’ve set up your incentives you can leverage social media to drive new customers to your website and increase your online orders.
Edo Japan are a great example of a business which has optimised their online presence to promote online orders. At the top they have an immediate call to action as well as promoting their own app. Additionally, it’s obvious and easy to find their menu as well as being able to quickly find your closest store.
Finally, they have highlighted their online deals and promotions which will act as an incentive for online visitors to dig a little deeper and encourage both a bigger online spend as well as repeat orders.
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