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a picture of a hardcopy menu along with its digital version for online orders

How to improve online food order sales at your restaurant?

By Nadine Hashem

Let’s face it, it’s the era of online ordering for most of the businesses especially retail and restaurants.


Whether the reason is accelerating technology, aim for convenience, need of speeding up different operations or social distancing, online ordering is becoming more and more popular in different industries, and you definitely need to adapt to online sales.


If you want to remain competitive, you would want to enhance and win your sales generated from online orders.


The US food delivery users have drastically increased from 66 million in 2015 to 111 million in 2020.


Of course, restaurants dependence on online ordering versus on-site varies among restaurants and depends on the type of cuisine and services you offer but despite this remote ordering and offsite dining represent 67% of average restaurant sales generated by orders placed digitally or by phone for off-premises dining.


The percentage decreases in fine dining restaurants to around 40% since the main focus of these restaurants is the service associated with the dine-in option that focus on the ambience and the overall dining experience.


Bottom line, online orders is something you’d want to grow to remain competitive in our digital market.



How to improve your online food order sales?



Use technology




When we say online orders, we automatically think technology.

Online orders cannot run smoothly without a proper implementation of digital tools such as a POS software that processes online orders or that have a full integration with the mostly used online food orders applications.


If you are using more than one online ordering service, you should then have a POS that automatically collects different orders from different platforms to ensure accurate orders preparation and to save you the hassle of manually adding your bills and calculating your orders.



Create a user-friendly online menu


 Creating an online menu that is simple to be checked by users is essential. You should keep your menu short with items that are popular yet profitable and travel friendly.


You can separate your menu as breakfast and dinner or have different buttons for easy access to different categories such as appetizers, main dish, salads and desserts.


Use a clear font and a layout that is easy to scan through.


Use images with hyperlinks for each item if customers would like to find out more about their meals.


Keep the $ or L.L. sign off the menu to boost orders as a study performed by researchers at Cornell University determined that removing the dollar sign actually works and customers who ordered from menus without the dollar signs ended up ordering more.




Provide an exquisite service


A distinguished and a great customer service is not restricted to serving your on-site customers. You can deliver the same service with your online orders.


Make sure food is delivered fresh and hot: if you’re planning to improve your online orders, then the first thing to consider is delivery time. You should keep track of your orders to avoid delays.

Make sure that your orders are packed in insulated food bags that preserve food temperatures.

Similarly, for colder items use ice bags to keep your food fresh.

Receiving a cold meal that is supposed to be hot is a red flag for customers and it threatens their willingness to reorder from your restaurant.


Make sure food is delivered safely and neatly: the last thing you want in your orders is a messed-up meal or food that is spilled out from the containers. Use spill free containers that have separators in them.


Don’t forget the add-ons: having food delivered to customers’ doorstep doesn’t mean receiving any less of a service. Add all the necessary dressings, condiments or dips in small and designated containers.  Cutlery and napkins are also important to include.



An effective client communication



CRM is a useful tool feature that you need to integrate into your POS in order to maintain all the necessary contact information for your clients.

Information such as names, address and email save you time and enhance customer satisfaction.  Beside this, CRM help you to reward your loyal customers by saving their order history and preferences.

It directly impacts customer experience especially when customers can see their ordering history and have an option to repeat orders in addition to upselling suggestions.



Reward your online customers


Don’t strict rewarding loyalty to on-site customers. Encourage your online customers through exclusive offers and promotions available for online users only.

Send coupons, build points system or reward them for their repetitive orders with a free dessert or meal.



Boost your reviews


Customers count on online review before trying a new restaurant or a new platter especially the ones not intending to visit the restaurant.


Boosting your reviews is crucial especially the ones that concern the delivery time, quality of food ordered and overall online order experience.

Encourage your customers to review the service and their experience by sending them emails or with the assistance of prompts on the website.

Reward customers who review your service whether negatively or positively.


Online ordering is the new dining out so be up to the expectations and remain competitive in this ever-changing sector.

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