QSRs like Taco Bell, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, and other large brands are seeing drive-thru sales increase to as much as 90% of their overall business. Taco Bell is taking extra precautions to protect its customers by sealing its takeout bags with a sticker and having them insert their own cards into the chip reader at the drive-thru. Wendy’s is cleaning high-touch areas every 15 minutes, and McDonald’s closed its playgrounds. With so much growth in drive-thru and off-premise ordering due to COVID-19, independent operators of takeout and dine-in only restaurants are increasingly turning to online ordering to boost contactless sales.
Before COVID-19, Kismet Bistro in Newport News, Virginia, only received 5% of its sales as takeout orders. Now, with Virginia restaurants closed for dine-in service since late March, the bistro is offering curbside pickup to recover from the 60% decline in sales it saw over the past two months.
Across the United States, many other independent restaurants are in the same boat. A survey by the James Beard Foundation revealed that 80% of independent restaurants were unsure that offering delivery and takeout would allow them to survive. Even while laying off 91% of hourly employees as of April 13, 51% of independent restaurants included in the survey still needed to take out at least $50,000 in loans.
Traditional ways of getting delivery and takeout, like calling ahead or going into the restaurant to place a to-go order, fail to completely capture all of a restaurant’s target market. With phone orders, customers will not be able to select their meals and add-ons until talking to a live person – making the ordering process more complicated than it needs to be in this digital age. Plus, your staff wastes precious time on the phone handling last-minute modifications and questions that an online ordering app or web page would typically handle.
How to Quickly Establish Online Ordering
Setting up online ordering is easier than ever – download our step-by-step guide to establishing an online presence to give your customers the convenience, speed and safety they have come to expect over the past few months of staying quarantined at home.
If you have a cloud-based point of sale system, ask your provider if there is a native online ordering solution available that integrates directly with your POS software.
Build Your Online Footprint
As you’ll read in our online ordering guide, hungry customers are increasingly looking online for their next favorite restaurant. Even after states reopen dining rooms with social distancing protocols in place, many of your potential customers may still be wary of eating in public places. To capture more business after setting up online ordering, follow these tips:
- Include your address to help customers find you through localized searches
- Make sure location hours reflect the specific start and end times for online orders and delivery
- Create a shorter, easy-to-read menu for online orders
- Include order buttons so customers can order directly from your site
- Use third-party delivery services to help your customers find you in multiple places online
Get Social Media-Savvy
Social media does more than just promote your business to a mass audience; it entices repeat customers to explore your offerings and encourages new customers to give you a try. Our guide to building an online presence contains many helpful tips for going social, including the following:
- Create posts encouraging guests to tag your restaurant after they receive their order
- Post daily specials and popular menu items
- Be as helpful as possible by answering questions through social media
To learn more about setting up your restaurant for a new normal, check out the blog posts below: