Are You Using Marketplaces and Direct Ordering to Grow Your Restaurant? Here’s Why You Should

Customers nowadays are spoiled for choice when it comes to all the ways they can get food to their doors without ever having to make a phone call. This is good, because, for the millennial and Gen-Z generations, there’s nothing worse than having to use the phone for its intended purpose.

Third-party ordering services are growing in numbers every year, and they are here to stay and make the lives of your customers much easier. The sheer number of choices and user-friendly features that online marketplaces like Glovo, Wolt, and others provide to customers should be enough to prompt you to use these services to grow your restaurant or your virtual food brand.

But does that mean that you should forgo your internal efforts and ditch having a direct ordering system? Definitely not, and in fact, you should use both third-party platforms and an in-house solution to take your restaurant forward in a highly competitive industry.

Today, we are going to talk about how to do it right and outline some key advantages and challenges that each approach brings to the table.

Advantages and Challenges of Online Marketplaces

Pros:

There are many reasons why online marketplaces are so popular nowadays, and why more and more of these platforms are popping up at every corner. For the customer, the reasons for using a third-party delivery service are quite clear:

  • User-friendly designs and easy navigation.
  • High-quality images and descriptions.
  • High level of trust and data security.
  • Additional filters, browsing history, and repeat orders.
  • A decent level of personalization depends on the platform.
  • And more.

All of this creates a positive user experience, which is essential for the growth and long-term success of any restaurant. But why should you have a presence on these platforms as a part of your omnichannel strategy?

While user experience should be a key driver for you, keep in mind that a third-party delivery service comes with a few important perks:

  • You have instant access to an optimized marketplace infrastructure.
  • You can set up your online storefront, menu, and your entire brand quickly.
  • You get a robust third-party delivery system that’s ready to go as soon as you sign up.
  • Your customers are already using the most popular platforms and are waiting for you to join up.
  • Often, people will discover your restaurant on these platforms through recommendations, reviews, promotions, and more.

Challenges to Overcome:

Both a direct ordering system and an online marketplace come with their inherent advantages, but also some challenges you need to overcome in order to optimize performance. For the most part, though, it’s more about dealing with these challenges and learning to grow despite them, because it’s important that you use online marketplaces in today’s saturated restaurant industry.

The key challenges you need to keep in mind include:

  • Lack of user data. What happens on an online marketplace stays there, and restaurants have very limited insight into the user data that the platform collects.
  • Third-party delivery platforms tend to take a decent cut of the sales for themselves, meaning that you’re earning less per order than you would through a direct order.
  • The more marketplaces you use, the more complex your entire operation becomes.

While there’s not much you can do about the first two challenges, you can actually simplify your operation using Bitebell. This is our all-in-one system that allows you to automatically sync up orders from third-party platforms with your POS, manage your menu in one place, and gather invaluable insights about your restaurant’s performance on popular marketplaces.

With Bitebell, you can capitalize on automation and eliminate manual order typing, and thus saving time for you and your staff. This allows you to run a more efficient and effective operation no matter how many platforms you’re using.

Advantages and Challenges of Direct Ordering

Pros:

Having your own, direct ordering system will always be an important feature regardless of how many marketplaces are out there. Even though customers are increasingly using these platforms because of how convenient they are, they also want the ability to place an order directly with your restaurant via phone, direct messaging, or even your branded app.

While direct ordering and marketing your restaurant delivery online is very much about ensuring customer satisfaction, for you it also brings certain perks that you can’t get with online marketplaces, such as:

  • The possibility to earn a bit more per order. While it is important to have a presence on popular marketplaces, they do take a percentage of every sale, meaning that you may be able to earn more through direct ordering.
  • You gain better control over your pricing and promotions, allowing you greater flexibility to serve the needs of your target demographic.
  • You have the ability to collect all the customer data for yourself and use those insights to improve your marketing and many other processes.
  • Speaking of marketing, you have the option to allocate all your marketing resources towards growing your own brand and its online channels.

Kafeterija Bitebell aplikacija

Consider a Hybrid Approach

An important point to emphasize here is that you can also use a hybrid model. A hybrid model means that you are listed on an online marketplace, but you don’t have to do in-house ordering at all. You could, for example, list your restaurant on a marketplace and then outsource deliveries to an external courier service.

Because you would be lowering your marketplace fees this way, you would be able to offset some of the delivery costs and even share some of the costs with your customers in certain cases.

Challenges to Overcome:

Much like online marketplaces, direct ordering comes with its own set of obstacles, but the good thing is that you have the ability to overcome them, because you are in the driver’s seat.

The key challenges here are:

  • You have to build your own ordering channel and online presence with the resources you have, whereas an online marketplace makes it easy with its internal resources.
  • A complete lack of infrastructure. It’s up to you to build your restaurant’s delivery infrastructure on your own and organize all the user data into a manageable system.
  • The biggest challenge, however, is customer acquisition. An online marketplace like Glovo or Wolt not only has a big enough customer base, but they are constantly bringing in new customers through advertising, referrals and reviews, word-of-mouth, and other tactics. This means that marketplaces will always bring more customers to your restaurant, but it also means that you need to invest in acquiring customers yourself through an in-house delivery system, in order to capitalize on both.

This is another great way to leverage Bitebell to build a sustainable infrastructure and a direct ordering system that thrives on automation, valuable customer data, and many other important features. Bitebell also allows you to manage your online reputation through its easy-to-use ticketing system and a centralized hub where you can monitor and respond to all customer reviews, regardless of where they’re posted.

However, the key advantage that Bitebell provides here is the ability for your restaurant to have its own online storefront for direct orders. When your direct orders come through, the tool automatically assigns them to the nearest available couriers, meaning that you don’t even need to have in-house couriers. This simplifies your delivery process and in the long run, minimizes your payroll expenses.

Make Sure to Capitalize on Both

In the competitive restaurant industry, you can only grow your brand and achieve long-term success if you take all that’s given to you. That means making good use of both the direct ordering system and the various marketplaces because they complete each other and allow you to build a stable and profitable business model.

The key is to quickly build a presence on all relevant channels and adopt an omnichannel approach to running your restaurant, so don’t hesitate to invest time and effort into these growth strategies.

5 Smart Tips to Market Your Restaurant Delivery Online

The restaurant industry continues to evolve year after year, driven by technological advancement and consumer trends. Even without the pandemic on your hands, you know that the only way to stay afloat and thrive in a competitive environment is to adapt quickly. In 2020, meal delivery has skyrocketed around the world, as the pandemic has forced people to stay home and resort to online ordering.

Needless to say, this has created a highly competitive online market where restaurants are constantly struggling to acquire and retain customers. Having a delivery service, however, is not enough to inspire people to keep ordering from your restaurant – you have to market your delivery online and implement the right tech and tactics to reduce customer effort.

Today, we’re putting all of this into perspective and giving you five smart tips you can use right now to market your restaurant delivery online. Here’s what you can do to ensure stability, growth, and customer retention.

Build an omni-channel experience

Integration, connectivity, POS systems, cloud-based resource planning – these and many other technologies make omni-channel marketing, sales, and management a reality. Manually managing an omni-channel structure can seem like an impossible task nowadays, but nevertheless the modern customer demands that your restaurant has an omni-channel presence.

Simply put, you need to be present at every customer touchpoint to capitalize on all sales and marketing channels. This includes a restaurant, and a digital presence on third-party delivery services like Glovo, Donesi, or Wolt, as well as having a direct-to-consumer delivery system.

The problem still remains, though, as you need a centralized system that allows you to manage omni-channel efficiently and effectively. This is a problem that Bitebell solves for your restaurant.

Bitebell automatically forwards incoming orders directly to your POS system, eliminating the risk of error and boosting efficiency. Our innovative platform allows you to optimize delivery times by routing orders to your in-house delivery or your delivery partners.

In fact, Bitebell provides your restaurant with a robust infrastructure where you can easily and automatically team up with any partner and all delivery services. These include the popular ones like Glovo, but it extends to any partners in the market, allowing you to create an efficient long-term approach.

With Bitebell, you’re also able to seamlessly sync your menus across numerous delivery platforms to keep your offers up to date, and gain meaningful insights through built-in analytics features. Our unified ticketing system also allows you to centralize and manage all feedback from every platform so that you can manage your online reputation with ease.

Last, but not least, we should not all forget that people are cooking more at home, therefore we see a lot of new companies offering subscription models and ingredients in order to help people cook from home.

Keep your menu and offers fresh

Speaking of updating your menus, keep in mind that the modern customer loves consistency but craves innovation. In other words, it’s important to keep your menus and offers fresh, but to give your customers more of what they already know and love. And you need to do it by launching special deals and promotions regularly to spark interest, increase visibility, and motivate people to come back.

To that end, keep your most popular dishes on the menu, but add a dash of innovation to the mix. Use your analytics tools, feedback, and customer reviews to identify opportunities and weaknesses in your menu.

Perhaps you have a great main course list, but you could add more dessert options to reel in more customers. Maybe people love your staple dishes but are underwhelmed by your selection of drinks – adding products to your menus will incentivize them to place an order.

Vaznost restoranskog menu

Focus on marketing consistency

To make better marketing decisions and make an impact on your customers, you have to be consistent across all channels. After all, how are you supposed to know which Instagram posts work best if there is no consistency in scheduling and posting? Merely tracking likes and comments won’t do, since one of your posts might be performing better because you posted it at a time when more of your followers were online.

This is why you need to ensure marketing consistency and continuity across the online realm. Here are a couple of key steps you should follow:

  •         Create a consistent marketing budget for monthly posting and advertising.
  •         Create a weekly posting schedule based on industry and consumer data and insights.
  •         Identify the marketing channels that are most relevant for your restaurant.
  •         Strive to be consistent with every post in order to see how it’s performing and the kind of impact it has on your audience.
  •         Optimize your posts according to your target demographic and customer preferences.

One of your top goals with marketing consistency is to generate actionable insights so that you can make better decisions month after month. You can only make better marketing decisions if you’re consistent and if you know which posts have the highest reach, engagement, and impact.

Create and disseminate engaging content

How many times a year do you post new, original content online? One of the key mistakes restaurant owners make is that they typically organize one photoshoot and keep reusing old content throughout the year. This not only makes your content stale, but it also lowers your customers’ engagement online.

People want to see that your restaurant is keeping things fresh and innovative, they want to see new content posted frequently. To improve your influence online and keep users engaged, you should organize a photoshoot every three to four months, even if you don’t have any new products on offer.

This keeps your menu fresh and shows your users that your brand is always doing something interesting.

While you’re at it, be sure to capitalize on video content. Along with new images, you want to produce short 20-30-second videos and simple video sequences that showcase your dishes, how you prep the food, and how you package and deliver it to the customers.

Leverage influencers and user reviews

On a final note, keep in mind that people trust other users and influencers more than they trust your brand. To build social proof and earn the customers’ trust, you need to leverage user-generated content and brand advocates across the web.

To that end, make sure to:

  •         Find influencers that share your brand values and love your food.
  •       Tell your story about the product through three to four posts on their FB and IG Stories showcasing your food, their experience, and promoting your brand.
  •         Provide a promo code or special deals for influencers to give to their followers.
  •         Analyze all your user reviews and extract relevant insights.
  •         Look for patterns that point to problems and opportunities.

Most importantly, use your reviews to give the customers what they want. Listen to the users and act on the data, and you will have no problem making an impact in this competitive market.

Wrapping up

Your restaurant has the potential to grow and expand in 2021, but only if you implement the right tools and know how to market your online delivery. You have the quality, you have the brand, now be sure to integrate these tips into your strategy to take your restaurant to new heights of success.