A lot of restaurant owners think that offering their menus online via delivery platforms is pretty much “plug and play” - they upload their menu and suddenly thousands of hungry customers can see what they have to offer. What they don’t consider is how many other restaurants are trying to do the exact same thing - fighting their way to be the first option a customer sees in their area, and keep those customers coming back. While getting your virtual menu up there can be a straight-forward process, keeping it visible to your customers by ensuring it is closer to the top of the list while enticing your customers to return to your menu requires some maintenance. Here are 5 things to avoid that are sure to send your customers to your competitors.
1. Poor Ratings
As well as negatively affecting customers’ confidence, making them less likely to order from you, poor ratings mean that your restaurant will rank lower on the ordering platform lists, making it less likely that potential patrons will see your menu.
Avoid frequent poor ratings by making sure that every meal that goes out is of high quality, presented well and has no missing items. Encourage happy, loyal customers to leave reviews, too, to boost your ratings and increase your online visibility as a result.
2. Inconsistent Hours
Once your opening hours are listed, it is crucial to stick to them, and to avoid opening or closing outside of these hours, as far as possible.
Inconsistent opening hours can have a very real impact on customers: for example, a customer may have ordered at 9pm on Tuesday last week, and enjoyed their order so much that they plan to order again the following week - but if your restaurant is closed at 9pm the following Tuesday, they might go with a different option, and probably won’t try with you again on future Tuesdays. Another customer may have arranged an evening in with friends, and ordering from your delivery menu based on the hours you’ve advertised could feature in their plans. In both these scenarios, a potential repeat customer is probably lost if you’re not open when they expect you to be, and your business’ reputation has sustained damage.
3. Out of Stock Menu Items
Speaking from personal experience, there is little in this world as disappointing as looking forward all day to those Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wings – the very thought of which has sustained me through any number of crises….and then when you try to place your order – out of stock!
For a restaurant, out of stock menu items have a significant negative impact on overall customer experience and mean that vital revenue is being lost.
4. Long Prep Times
An overly long prep time can have two knock-on negative effects on your online menu. Firstly, the delivery rider will need to wait, which damages your relationship with the rider, and potentially encourage them to take someone else's order next time.
Secondly, the customer will need to wait longer for their order than what was estimated on the app. As you probably know, every extra minute over the estimated delivery time feels like 20 - making for a very unhappy customer.
5. Missing Items
If a customer is going to make a complaint about an order, missing items are the most common reason behind the dissatisfaction. Missing items may be one of the single biggest reasons for customer discontent, but they are also one of the easiest things to resolve, too.
Carefully checking off items against a receipt before an order is handed over to the delivery driver should form a vital and intrinsic part of a restaurant’s kitchen processes. If a single Point of Sales system is used as part of your online delivery mechanism, this can streamline the ordering system and ensure that customers’ orders are accurately recorded, further helping to guard against missing items.
Turning Negatives Into Positives
All of the above points can be easily turned around; taking action on each is crucial in maintaining the traffic and popularity your online menu deserves.