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Product
Nov 30, 2022
4
 min read

To satisfy off-premise demand, restaurant brands have embraced delivery. But how do you effectively scale this channel? A multipronged approach is key.

Restaurant Delivery

To satisfy demand for off-premise dining, restaurant brands of all sizes have embraced delivery. But in order to effectively grow a delivery channel, you need a multipronged approach centered around optimization, education, and promotion that will appeal to existing and potential guests, as well as encourage repeat orders.

Here are eight ways to increase restaurant delivery sales through your brand website and app, as well as marketplaces and listings:

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1. Website and App Optimization

The first step to increasing delivery sales is to optimize your restaurant website and mobile app for conversion. In addition to being mobile-friendly, and quick to load, there should be a prominent “Order Delivery” button that’s easy for guests to find.

The fewer hoops guests have to jump through, the more likely they are to place a delivery order. So, be mindful of potential barriers to conversion, such as lengthy forms, limited payment options, account creation prompts, fees added at checkout, etc.

The Wingstop mobile app features a prominent Order Delivery button.

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2. Leverage Delivery Service Providers and Marketplaces

Brands can bypass the complications of managing drivers or contracts with multiple delivery service providers (DSPs) by leveraging an integrated delivery network. Using third-party delivery couriers to fulfill native orders from your website or app can increase guest loyalty while offering a direct digital experience wherein you own the data.

Additionally, through a single integration to multiple third-party marketplaces, brands can consolidate all online orders into one location (e.g. POS system, tablet, etc.), regardless of where they originated. This benefits everyone involved in the delivery process: guests receive accurate information, delivery couriers can execute more deliveries per hour, and restaurants stay in control.

3. Order With Google

Brands can turn Google Search and Google Maps inquiries into delivery orders with Order With Google. By accepting delivery orders directly through Google, restaurants can boost their ranking in search results, stand out from the competition, and reduce the number of steps to conversion.

Since new and existing guests likely already use Google every day, restaurant brands can (and should) meet guests where they are and drive delivery orders at the same time.

The Order With Google experience for Uncle Julio’s.

4. Menu Engineering

Restaurant brands should use menu item profitability, popularity, and lifetime value (LTV) data when designing their delivery menu. Through strategic placement of menu items and upselling, brands can positively influence guest behavior and, ultimately, increase sales.

A restaurant CDP is key to effective menu engineering because it enables brands to connect guest data from their POS, payment processor, online ordering platform, loyalty program, and more to a menu engineering tool. And, by unlocking LTV, brands can quantify the results of menu optimization.

Keep in mind that menu engineering is an iterative process. Regular testing and analyzing trends are key to continuously driving results.

5. SEO

According to Google Trends data from the last five years, the search term “restaurants near me” reached peak popularity in July 2021. To ensure that your brand ranks high in search results when people are looking for food nearby, prioritize SEO across all platforms.

For example, a Mexican restaurant brand that wants to increase delivery awareness and sales should incorporate relevant keywords such as “Mexican food delivery [name of city]” and “Mexican restaurant delivery near me” into its website, social media pages, digital ads, and third-party listings.

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6. Omnichannel Marketing

In-store and online restaurant marketing is critical for educating guests about delivery options and encouraging adoption. Each location should display prominent signage and a clearly marked pickup area for delivery couriers. Additionally, staff T-shirts, door decals, receipts (“Next time, order delivery at [URL]!”), bag stuffers and stickers can help spread the word.

With countless meal decisions being made online every second, restaurant brands should leverage email, SMS, social media, and geo-targeted digital advertising to reach a wider audience and boost delivery sales. Focus on the benefits of delivery (convenience, speed, ease of ordering, etc.), enable anyone to start an order with one click, and consider incentivizing guests with an introductory offer, such as free delivery or $5 off $20 on their first order.

7. Solicit and Engage with Feedback

In order to scale delivery, brands have to know what’s working and what isn’t. The best way to find out is to solicit guest feedback about the delivery experience proactively.

With automated surveys, brands are able to show guests that their opinion matters, quickly address issues, spot trends that could impact future sales, and optimize the experience for both first-time delivery orderers and repeat guests.

Monitoring and engaging with restaurant reviews is also important. If guests are complaining about the delivery experience on Google and the brand has not responded in a timely and professional manner, those reviews will negatively affect the brand’s reputation and likely dissuade first-time guests from placing an order.

Automated post-visit survey from Velvet Taco

8. Retention Campaigns

After a guest has ordered delivery once, it’s up to the brand to convince them to do it again. And considering that traditionally, the cost of acquiring a new guest is 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one, retention campaigns should play a big role in any delivery growth strategy.

Restaurant brands can motivate guests to order delivery again with personalized offers based on their order history, by promoting new menu items that complement their favorites, or by letting them know about the latest specials just before they make plans to eat. For more inspiration, check out these restaurant retention strategies.

It’s All About the Guest Experience

The most profitable restaurant delivery programs meet guests where they are and offer a frictionless, personalized experience—while also seamlessly integrating with the brand’s existing tech stack. 

Omnichannel marketing that educates guests about the benefits of delivery is essential for a successful launch, but the work doesn’t end there. To successfully scale delivery, brands need to continuously market the program to new and existing guests, analyze data, gather feedback, optimize, and test.

Learn about our restaurant delivery solutions, Dispatch and Rails, and ask us how we can help boost sales for your brand.

Photo Credit: Norma Mortenson from Pexels

Product
Oct 24, 2022
3
 min read

Find out how restaurants can leverage QR code ordering to optimize operations and create a seamless dining experience that benefits both guests and staff.

QR Code Ordering, Dine-In Ordering, On-Premise Ordering

The pandemic made QR codes ubiquitous, particularly in the hospitality industry. Contactless menus and payment quickly went from being a safety precaution to a staple at many restaurants.

While diners had to initially adapt out of necessity, many have come to accept and even embrace QR codes for their convenience. Now that dine-in is back in full force, restaurants can further leverage QR codes to optimize operations and create a seamless guest experience.

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What is QR Code Ordering?

QR code ordering enables guests to scan a QR code to access a restaurant’s menu, place an order, and pay for a meal, all from their own mobile devices. The QR code is typically found on a tabletop sign or sticker affixed to a table inside the restaurant.

With QR code ordering, guests have the flexibility to choose how, when, and what to order—without having to stand in line or wait for a server. Additionally, guests benefit from faster service, more control over order accuracy, the ability to easily add items to their meals, and quickly pay when they’re finished.

QSR and fast-casual brands like Nando’s offer QR code ordering inside some of their restaurants and the reception from guests has been overwhelmingly positive.

Olo QR Code Ordering for Restaurants
With Olo's QR Code Ordering, guests can view the menu, order, and pay with their phones.

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5 Ways Restaurants Can Benefit from QR Code Ordering

Though QR code ordering is a guest-driven dining experience, the technology can support restaurants in a myriad of ways—from financial, to staffing, to data collection, and more. Here are five examples that come directly from Olo data and feedback from restaurant brands that we support.

1. Revenue Boost

According to Olo data and industry data at large, check averages increase by $2-4, or roughly 12%, when guests order from a digital interface. Why? Because guests can spend more time perusing the menu, easily add and pay for items, and indulge in add-ons without fear of judgment.

As a bonus, generally, there are limited costs for restaurant brands to get started with QR code ordering (keep scrolling for setup details).

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2. Increased Staff Efficiency and Satisfaction

By eliminating unnecessary touch points between restaurant employees and guests, QR code ordering optimizes staffing needs. Fewer trips to and from tables mean brands have the freedom to reallocate employees to greet guests, prepare food, etc.

When guests have the power to determine exactly what and when to order, their satisfaction tends to go up, which can lead to an increased tip income of $1.50 per hour on average.

Higher pay, less stress, and the freedom to put in more face time with guests can boost job satisfaction and retention of restaurant employees.

Related: How To Prepare For Table Service 2.0

3. Improved Order Accuracy

Since QR code ordering puts guests in control of placing and paying for orders directly from their phone, communication issues with staff often decrease, and order accuracy increases. Fewer mistakes mean less food waste and a smoother experience for all.

4. Faster Table Turnover

Restaurant guests often wait anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes for their check to arrive at the table. It’s a common pain point that can easily be resolved with QR code ordering.  

When guests aren’t waiting for a server to order or pay for their meal, orders get fulfilled faster and there’s less delay for incoming guests. In other words, with QR code ordering, more people can ultimately be served—a win-win for the restaurant brand and its guests.

5. Data Collection

Restaurant brands that leverage QR code ordering can see up to a 5x increase in first-party data collection compared to traditional dining experiences. 

While historically dine-in guests have been difficult to identify and learn from, QR code ordering enables brands to better understand dine-in guests’ preferences and behavior, as well as grow their marketable database, by digitizing every transaction.


When brands analyze and act on those insights, they can create Digital Hospitality at every touchpoint and maximize lifetime value (LTV) through personalized service, 1:1 marketing, and more.

Nando's QR code ordering with Olo
Nando’s Peri-Peri promotes its QR code ordering experience at the door, table, and on staff T-shirts.

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Getting Set Up with QR Code Ordering

Unlike some restaurant technologies, QR code ordering is generally quick to stand up for brands that already have online ordering and can be very cost-effective. In most cases, no hardware is needed since the ordering platform is a guest’s mobile device. The only out-of-pocket costs include training employees, setting up QR codes at each table, and developing promotional materials.

To boost awareness, educate guests, and encourage the adoption of QR code ordering, brands should display positive, straightforward messaging in and around each restaurant. Eye-catching door and window decals, signs in traditional ordering areas, table displays, and even staff T-shirts or buttons, are great ways to get the word out at each location. And don’t forget about online—a restaurant website, social media, and email marketing are important channels for educating guests.

To find out more about QR code ordering and how it can support your restaurant operations, visit our Ordering page and contact us.

Photo Credit: Alba Lantigua from Unsplash and Blue Bird from Pexels

Product
Oct 24, 2022
4
 min read

There’s a lot to consider before implementing a new restaurant payment stack. Learn the best time to upgrade and what to look for when vetting solutions.

Restaurant Payment Stack, Restaurant Payment Solutions, Olo Pay

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In an increasingly contactless world, payment processing for digital transactions has become a priority across industries. But for restaurant brands that have spent years bemoaning antiquated payment systems for their endless fees, security issues, and lack of tech integration, it can be a sore subject.

The truth is: A traditional payment processor simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Restaurant brands must have a comprehensive payment platform to streamline their tech stack, drive direct sales, and unify siloed data. 

But implementing any new system is no small undertaking. Budgets are tight, labor is strained, and yet, innovation is key to remaining competitive.

So when is the optimal time to upgrade?

Start by asking yourself the following questions.

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10 Things To Consider Before Implementing a New Payment Stack

  1. What are your current authorization rates? Have they been increasing or decreasing?
  2. What are your cart abandonment rates? Are they trending up or down?
  3. Which fees on your payment service provider’s statement can you not confidently explain?
  4. How do your payment acceptance costs vary from quarter to quarter?
  5. What are your current rates of fraud and chargebacks? Have they changed over time?
  6. What are your costs of chargebacks, won and lost?
  7. What are your administrative costs for handling chargebacks?
  8. What kind of payment tokens do you use and what is the cost?
  9. What are the costs of maintaining your payments platform as it relates to keeping up with new network rules and requirements? (PCI compliance, reporting, interchange changes, etc.)
  10. How is card life cycle management handled?

If your restaurant brand is consistently embattled by fees, struggling to manage chargebacks and PCI compliance, and/or experiencing high cart abandonment rates, it’s time to update your payment system.

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What To Look For in a Restaurant Payment Platform

A modern restaurant payment platform will not only simplify operations but also enhance the guest experience. It shouldn’t just solve existing problems, either; it should be future-proof to ensure that as you build out the rest of your restaurant tech stack, it will continue to meet your needs. 

To set up your brand for success, make sure your payment system checks all of these boxes.

Transparent Fee Structure

The cost of accepting payments goes beyond the processing fee and often includes other charges. Traditional payment processors will sometimes hide fees, overcharge for services, or charge for unnecessary items.

Hidden fees are often considered markup costs and can be charged on a transaction basis or monthly. They can include PCI fees, software fees, gateway fees, CPU fees, AVS fees, equipment costs, and more.

All of these fees are negotiable and should be reviewed prior to implementing a payment system.

Multiple Payment Options

To effectively drive sales, restaurant brands need to optimize for conversion. That includes offering a seamless checkout process with multiple payment options for guest convenience. 

Look for a payment platform that enables guests to pay with their digital wallet (Apple Pay, Google Pay) and save a card on file for faster checkout on subsequent visits. The fewer barriers—manual credit card entry, password management, etc.—the better.

Advanced Fraud Protection

As the number of digital transactions continues to skyrocket, restaurant brands need to be vigilant when it comes to fraud. Each restaurant transaction could be made by a real guest or a scammer.

While many restaurant brands are forced to purchase fraud protection from a company outside of their payment processor, a comprehensive payment platform will include it within their offerings and the upfront cost. 

A modern payment stack can tell the difference between scammers and actual guests by leveraging machine learning to catch fraud and accept legitimate transactions. While some chargebacks are unavoidable, the right technology will limit fraud to a bare minimum.

Full Integration

In order to truly know your guests, you need a restaurant tech stack built with systems that talk to each other. That way, you can collect, analyze, and act on unified data. If your payment processor, online ordering solution, CRM, POS, etc. do not share data, you’re not getting the full picture of the guest's journey.

By eliminating data silos, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of each guest, including their purchasing behavior, preferences, and long-term value to the business. So, before selecting a payment platform, ensure that it fully integrates with your existing tech stack.

Seamless Onboarding

One of the biggest challenges of implementing a payment platform is the amount of time and resources it takes for a successful roll-out brand-wide. Between staffing challenges and razor-thin margins, quick and painless onboarding is key to successfully standing up any new restaurant system.

When vetting payment solutions, find out what the onboarding process entails and approximately how long it will take—depending on the vendor, it could take days or weeks to set up a new merchant account—so you can anticipate the impact on operations and prepare.

Final Thoughts

While no single payment platform works for all restaurants, the right system will lay the groundwork for sustainable business growth while improving day-to-day operations for staff and the overall guest experience.

For example, since switching from a legacy processor to Olo Pay, our restaurant-specific payment platform, WaBa Grill has seen a significant reduction in fraud and fees, as well as an improved authorization rate that has resulted in additional revenue. Read the case study for details.

Before implementing a new system, it’s good to know what’s working and what isn’t with your current setup—and the direction you want to move in. Once you have a baseline established, you can better evaluate each vendor’s differentiators and how they can meet your brand’s needs today and in the future.

Learn about our comprehensive restaurant payment platform, and contact us to find out how Olo Pay can transform your business.

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Photo Credit: Pickawood from Unsplash