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5 Effective Digital Marketing Strategies For Restaurants to Increase Direct Orders

Today, we’re exploring 5 effective strategies to digitally market to your restaurant’s customers and increase direct orders to your website.

Did you know customers typically prefer to order their takeout or delivery directly from their favorite restaurant’s website?

According to a new report from SevenRooms:

  • 48% of consumers believe it’s cheaper to order directly from a restaurant than through a third-party delivery platform
  • 23% of consumers feel that delivery aggregators charge too much in fees from restaurants 
  • 37% of customers are motivated to order directly from operators to support restaurants

For restaurant owners and operators, stats like these are great news! Customers want to support your business and order directly from your restaurant.

But, how do you capture customers and lead them to your restaurant’s website, not a third party platform?

In today’s post, we’ll discuss 5 ways to digitally market your restaurant to hungry customers and send them directly to your website’s online ordering.

# 1 Polish your website

To begin, in order to drive more direct orders to your restaurant’s own website, you must make sure your restaurant’s website is in tip-top condition.

This means your restaurant’s website needs to include:

  • Contact information: address, phone number, and email
  • Current hours
  • Menu
  • Great food photos!
  • Notifications about upcoming closures 
  • Links to your social media channels and review sites like Yelp
  • Option to order online
  • Personal information: key staff, your mission, or the story behind your restaurant

In addition to being user-friendly, you also want your restaurant’s website to be well-designed.

If your restaurant’s website is lacking in form or function, now is the perfect time for an upgrade.

# 2 Make online ordering extra-easy

Another easy way to digitally market to your customers and increase direct orders to your restaurant’s website is to make online ordering as seamless as possible.

This can be achieved in several ways. To start, make sure your restaurant’s home page features clear language and graphics (i.e. a pop out box or buttons) to “Order Here.” 

Additionally, consider adding a button, banner, header, or footer that links to your online ordering form on every single page of your website.

Finally, make sure your social media profile bio links all re-direct to your website’s online ordering form.

# 3 Show some social media love

Additionally, you can digitally market to your customers and increase direct orders to your restaurant’s website by leveraging the community-building powers of social media.

Social media is an excellent (and free!) way to engage with your customers and build a loyal community around your brand. No matter what channel you choose, social media allows you to show your appreciation to your customers. 

Fun ways to engage with your customers on social media:

  • Repost great customer food pics or selfies
  • Like and comment on posts that tag your restaurant
  • Thank customers for any positive reviews they leave
  • Offer flash discount coupons to your followers
  • Offer special promos or discounts to customers who order directly through your website

By using social media to build rapport with your customer base, you can grow your reputation, build loyalty, and increase direct orders to your restaurant.

# 4 Connect with regular e-updates

Another great way to digitally market to your customers? A regular email or e-newsletter. An e-newsletter is the perfect way to stay in touch with your customers and remind them to order directly from your restaurant’s website.

In addition to sharing important news about your restaurant (i.e. new hours) e-newsletters can also include updates like changes to your menu, monthly specials, or new promos.

A few best practices to keep in mind for e-newsletters:

In order to make your digital communication efforts really count, your e-newsletters should always include clear, bold links to your restaurant’s website and online ordering page.

Pro tip: try a button or a footer at the bottom of every e-newsletter to promote more direct online orders.

# 5 Start a digital loyalty program

Finally, one more effective strategy to digitally market to your customers and drive more orders to your restaurant’s website is to launch a digital loyalty program.

Digital loyalty programs can increase repeat orders and improve a customer’s sense of satisfaction with your restaurant.

But even more importantly? Digital loyalty programs can help restaurant owners capture valuable data on customers. This data can be then be leveraged to target customers at key times, to increase orders through your restaurant’s website.

” 83% of consumers pick a dining location within three hours of a meal, and 57% make the decision within an hour. And when they’re picking a location to eat, 60%  of consumers only use their mobile device to help with their decision. With the ability to set up promotions through text notifications, in-app notifications or email campaigns based on past purchases, timing, behavior, loyalty status or points, there is a significant edge to be gained when it comes to retargeting, as well as upsell and cross sell,” explains QSR Magazine.

In short? Digital loyalty programs can help you market to your customers in an extremely personalized, specific way and drive more orders through your website.

If your restaurant does not yet offer a digital loyalty program, now is the time to launch a program and turn new customers into loyal, repeat fans of your restaurant.