How many locations does your restaurant have? Whether you have one storefront or twenty, you put a lot of thought and effort into opening your doors. Perhaps you built a second downtown location, where you could get more foot traffic. Or maybe you opened a brick and mortar by your local college so you could easily reach the students nearby.
If you’ve expanded – or even just considered it – you probably made this strategic business decision so you can serve more customers and increase your sales. Well, opening up a storefront online is practically the same thing – just much easier.
What’s a Digital Storefront?
Instead of worrying about more rent, inspections and renovations, you just need to work with a trusted online ordering system to get up and running online. If you put in some effort towards marketing – and if you’re consistent about it – you’ll quickly tap into new sources of customers and sales.
Consider this: we all have different habits when it comes to the internet. Some people live and breathe Google. Others spend hours a day on Instagram. For many restaurant lovers, Yelp is a go-to. If you broaden your digital footprint and have a strong presence on these sites, you’ll attract these digital passersby and turn them into customers.
Orders placed online are, on average, 20% larger than in-restaurant purchases, and online ordering is predicted to grow at triple the rate of on-premise sales through the next three years. It’s critical to invest in your digital footprint and open up these three essential digital storefronts.
1. Your Website
The digital space is undeniably the best way to reach your customers any time of the day. It’s how customers find you, interact with you and support you. Your website is the foundation of all of this.
Your site acts as a window into your restaurant, where customers can get a glimpse of your food, read your menu and access essential information about your hours, location and the like. Naturally, then, your website should give customers the ability to order takeout from you online.
Follow our best practices for maximizing your online ordering and promote your website link across the internet, including on social media. Educate your in-store guests about it, too! When customers know about your website ordering, it will become a steady source of sales.
2. Your Very Own Mobile App
A customized app allows your restaurant to have real estate and instant access to your best customers.
Restaurants often forget about the power that their brands have. You serve great food and you’ve won over customers with the experience you offer – it’s time to capitalize on that brand equity. How much power does the Domino's®, Panera Bread® or Chipotle name have? Your business has power within your own community, too.
Fifty-eight percent of consumers have downloaded a restaurant-specific app. For comparison, only 36% have downloaded DoorDash, the most-downloaded third-party marketplace app – which buries restaurants’ names and brands in favor of its own.
When customers download your app, they’re effectively putting your logo on their phones. The average person spends three hours on their phone every day, so that’s a lot of time for them to look at your restaurant’s name. It’s no wonder why this increased access and brand presence grows sales. ChowNow restaurant partners see their repeat orders grow by 300% when they get mobile apps.
3. Your Google Business Profile
Google is an indispensable resource for independent restaurants. When a returning guest needs to double-check your address, or when a potential customer wants the best hot wings in town, they go to Google. You should take advantage of Google’s massive user base and turn interactions like these into orders at your restaurant.
Use a Google online ordering integration – like Food Ordering with Google, powered by ChowNow – to enable online ordering straight from your search results. This way, when potential customers discover your restaurant – whether they’re searching for you by name or are Googling a phrase like “best ribs in Cleveland” – they can instantly order takeout from you via Google Search, Maps and even the voice-activated Google Assistant.
Growing your digital footprint like this pays off. ChowNow restaurant partners that use Food Ordering with Google make 21% more per month compared to restaurants that don’t open up this digital storefront.
About ChowNow: ChowNow powers an online food ordering system as part of CHECK® Business Tools. ChowNow allows customers to place orders directly from a restaurant's website, Facebook page, Instagram profile and custom-built mobile apps – commission-free. Learn more about ChowNow by visiting online ordering in CHECK Business Tools.
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