How to Ensure Your Website is Maximizing Online Ordering

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Online ordering has exploded in the restaurant industry, as online to-go ordering has grown by 225% in the last five years.* As consumers demand more convenient and instantaneous service, restaurants have to ensure that they are setting themselves up for success throughout their digital presence. Simply adding an online ordering button to their website is not going to yield maximum return on investment. There are several important considerations when developing a takeout strategy, and a restaurant’s website is one of the primary vehicles to ensure maximum return from their online food ordering system. Below we’ll discuss simple strategies that can be implemented to ensure an easy and streamlined online ordering experience for consumers.

Button Placement

Access to your restaurant ordering system within your website is crucial to a convenient and pleasant online ordering experience for your customers. Customers should able to find what they are looking for within the first 15 seconds of visiting the site. If they are unable to locate the desired information, research shows the majority of consumers move on to the next option. What’s the best way to ensure guests who want to place an order online find what they are looking for? Make it the item that catches their eye. An online ordering button that is hidden, or small with muted colors and font, will not be easily identified by the customer and will therefore limit engagement. Instead, the online ordering button should be one of the initial things a customer notices upon reaching your site.

The button should:

  • Be at the top of the page
  • Have eye-catching tones (contrasting the background, standing out)
  • Readable font

This will grab consumer attention quickly. Ease of use is the endgame here. The more accessible your ordering button is, the easier for the customer to find, click on, and buy in a matter of seconds. You create a seamless and simple user experience which will also affect return customer behavior. When it’s that easy, why wouldn’t they order again?

The homepage of Chicago eatery, Forastero, exemplifies great order button placement

More Options Does Not Mean More Opportunity

Correct button placement and ease of use is sure to make the ordering experience more pleasant for the customer, but there is another deterrent to consider that may sabotage the ordering system to consider: too many choices. When it comes to a customer looking to order quickly and conveniently from your website, more options does not always mean more opportunity. Options can be great in certain formats, but when it comes to online ordering, giving the customer every option possibly available is NOT convenient. It creates unnecessary confusion and forces a customer into some form of decision-making. Forbes noted that there is a “357% increase in sales when switching from multiple CTAs (calls to action) to just one on a page.” Customers don’t care about how they order–they care about what they are ordering, the ease, and the product (i.e., the restaurant’s food). Keep it simple. They want your food and your experience. Give them a simple and direct road to that craving.

Maximize Your Digital Footprint

Having a clear and concise digital footprint is vital to a restaurant’s online success. In order to achieve this, it is important to ensure that a customer is able to find a restaurant’s branded online ordering, no matter where they look. A restaurant has a very small window of time to engage the customer online, similar to ensuring the button is easily discovered. If the customer is not able to find the website to see how to order, there is the risk of that customer going elsewhere. Restaurants should understand their online presence, and how customers are finding them in the vast internet. It’s important that restaurants communicate consistently across platforms and with online ordering specifically; these platforms reflect the restaurant’s full scope.

Below are some of the most important search engines that a customer will utilize to find more information about a restaurant’s online ordering, along with the tools necessary to optimize these channels for success:

Google Business
A restaurant should make sure its Google Business page is claimed, to ensure that any website or ordering information is up to date. Claiming a page is easy and can be done using the instructions found here.

Similar to Google, a restaurant should claim its Yelp Business page, to ensure that the most up-to-date website and ordering information is available to their customers. A restaurant can learn how to claim and update that page here.

Brand consistency does not end with social media. A restaurant should always have a website URL listed under their business information, and should ensure the “Shop Now” button links to their branded online food ordering system when applicable.

Ordering through a restaurant’s Instagram page has never been easier, and is a great way for restaurants to reach an ever-increasing Millennial demographic. It is important to have a website URL listed in the Instagram Bio and also include a direct link to your branded online ordering.

Ultimately, your restaurant’s food and service still matter most when it comes to pleasing diners – but the more convenient you make it for new and repeat customers to order from your website, the more you make your business a preferred digital destination to order food online.

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.

*Google Trends