How to Start Selling Food on Your Restaurant Website

Illustration by Slava Kuchinka via Dribbble
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One of the most significant improvements you can make to your restaurant business is offering food delivery and pickup to hungry customers. This need has been exacerbated even further by the COVID19 pandemic. However, it will remain a reality long after the threat has disappeared.

That said, there’s no reason to postpone the sale of your restaurant food online. The ideal way to do this is on your own website. Below, we will teach you how to start the process and promote this new service to old and new customers.

Implement an online ordering system

First, to take food orders on your website, you need to research some online ordering systems and choose the one that best fits your needs.

The trick is to design your website with sales in mind. The goal of your ordering landing pages is to convert as many visitors into paying customers. There are many things you can do to keep the user on the page longer. For example, add beautiful, high-quality images of your food that will leave them salivating.

That said, don’t overdo it with fluff. Ultimately, your goal is for the user to place an order, not to read stories about your restaurant. If your order button gets lost in the fluff, so will the customer.

Most people who casually visit a restaurant’s website are looking for directions to the restaurant or for a menu to browse before they visit. They might not even know you also offer delivery, which should be made clear to them as soon as they land on the page. Don’t make them go looking for the information.

As for customers who visit your website specifically because they want to place an order online, the same rule applies. The process of placing an order shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and clicks. Hungry customers won’t waste time trying to find a way to order on your website; they’ll just move on to a competitor.

Learn where to position the order button to sell more

As you can already tell, the placement of the order button is crucial for the success of your online ordering business. In general, call-to-action buttons should be placed above the fold (in the top half of the page) so users can see it fast and click on it without scrolling too much.

order-button-example

This applies to the order button as well. Ideally, you should place it in the page’s header so it’s still visible to the customer even if they scroll throughout the page or navigate on other pages of your restaurant website. That way, ordering will always be at their fingertips.

The design of the button is also important, particularly the color. While it should match your website’s color scheme and restaurant brand identity, it’s essential to make it stand out. So, a light gray button on a white background won’t give you the desired effect, which is for users to click on the button. Use colors that pop so it’s easy to spot and draws attention.

Draw customers in with exclusive promotions

Promotions are going to give your delivery service a real boost. But to make them more appealing, design promos and offers that are exclusive to online ordering (i.e., that can’t be found in your brick-and-mortar location).

Don’t shy away from promoting these offers in more than one place on your website. Ideally, they should be visible on your homepage so customers know they can expect a treat when ordering from your restaurant.

However, the most crucial aspect is incorporating them directly into your online menu as well. That way, when customers have already decided they want to place an order and click on the order button, they will be reminded that these promotions exist. We advise displaying them at the top of the menu for maximum effectiveness.

exclusive-promotion-example

This will help you boost your average order value and encourage customers to order more to receive a specific benefit or a larger quantity of food for a lower price. Here are some restaurant promotion ideas you can try.

#1. 3-for-2 offers

One of the most common restaurant promotions involves giving a third menu item for free if the customer purchases two. For example, you can sell 3-for-2 pizzas to attract groups of people who get together.

You can also encourage families to order a full meal for everybody by offering a third main course for free for every two main courses they purchase. The possibilities are endless.

#2. Fixed price promo

To attract new customers to order from you, offer several items from the menu at a fixed price. This works best with pizza. You can allow them to order any pizza on the menu, of any size, with any two additional toppings of their choosing for a fixed price. Now that’s a deal!

#3. Food holidays

The good thing about food holidays is that they’re so many that you can say it’s a food holiday every day. Almost every restaurant capitalizes on major ones like Thanksgiving and Halloween. However, there are also lesser-known ones like National Chocolate Cake Day.

Based on your menu, create a food holiday calendar with holidays relevant to you, print it, and hang it somewhere to see it every day. This will help you schedule your promotions in advance and simply activate them when the time comes.

You can browse a complete list of food holidays here and pick and choose the ones suitable for your restaurant’s cuisine.

#4. Discounts for future orders

Did you know that repeat customers spend 33% more than new customers? One of the best ways to turn first-time customers into regulars is to incentivize them to order from you a second time. How? By offering a discount such as 15% off their next order if they spend $50 their first time.

This is like killing two birds with one stone because you motivate them to spend more on their first order and significantly increase their chances of ordering again.

#5. Free delivery

Another classic promo that will help you sell more food on your restaurant website, free delivery, is something many people are drawn to. This is especially true because many third-party delivery apps charge increasingly high delivery fees.

Show customers it’s better to order from your website by regularly offering free delivery on orders that surpass a specific value.

Promote your delivery service

Once you’ve set up your online ordering system and created some promotions to incentivize customers to order, it’s time to start promoting this new service. People won’t just stumble upon it by accident; you need to lead them to it. How? An easy and cost-effective option is social media.

 icon-angle-right Organize a Facebook contest

Contests have a natural gift of attracting people without trying too hard. It can be as simple as asking people to share a post you’ve created advertising your online ordering for a chance to win a $50 gift card they can redeem when placing an online order.

This won’t just bring your ordering business to the attention of a whole new segment of people but will also naturally increase the engagement on your Facebook page.

 icon-angle-right Partner with food influencers on Instagram

If you’re wondering how to attract millennials to your restaurant, the answer is simple: get someone their age with an Instagram following to endorse your menu items. They can promote your food delivery service to their fans, which will encourage them to try it.

 icon-angle-right Create a hashtag challenge on TikTok

Suppose you’re also targeting Gen Z customers. You’ll find them on TikTok, where restaurants like Chipotle and Burger King are already making waves. Hashtag challenges are viral on the platform, so why not start one yourself?

For example, if you sell pancakes, you can create the #perfectpancakeflip challenge and encourage people to come up with creative ways of flipping pancakes. Offer a free pancake to the five people who get the most likes on their videos.

 icon-angle-right Post your menu on Pinterest

Since Pinterest is such a visual platform, you need mouth-watering photos of your food to capture people’s attention. But the good thing about Pinterest is that you can also add links to pins. So, create a board featuring your delivery menu and link to the page where people can order on each pin.

 icon-angle-right Hide discount codes on Snapchat

Snapchat’s unique selling point, which is that snaps expire quickly, can help you build excitement around your menu items. Hide random discount codes in snaps and challenge people to find them quickly. Those who do can redeem the code on their next online order.

Conclusion

Learning how to sell food on your restaurant website isn’t hard once you get the hang of it. Most restaurant owners are afraid of the complicated setup. Still, even that can be a breeze with the right online ordering system.

Let’s say you don’t have a restaurant website, the knowledge to build one yourself, or the budget to hire a web developer to do it for you. You can also use a restaurant website builder to generate one without too much of a headache.

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