Is online ordering an operational tool or a marketing tool? It is true - NetWaiter is certainly a better way to handle the takeout and delivery orders that come into a restaurant. However, as most restaurant owners discover, NetWaiter is actually a marketing tool.
For example - if you were to ask every guest how they first learned of your restaurant, you would quickly find that about four out of five people learned by referral - word of mouth. Social media - Facebook and Twitter - take word of mouth and put it online where it can grow exponentially. This type of new-age word of mouth advertising is built into every NetWaiter site. When a customer uses their Facebook account to place an order, a link to your site with your logo can be posted on the customer’s Facebook page for all their friends to see. The average Facebook user has over 130 friends. Imagine the impact!
Another significant marketing benefit is the ability to track customers. Of all the means you use to advertise and promote your restaurant, NetWaiter is one you can track. You can immediately see the payoff and have the ability to monitor customers.
Some restaurants spend a lot of money on expensive newspaper and magazine advertisements. They are virtually impossible to track. The only way to measure their impact is to provide some sort of redeemable coupon or discount. As a marketing vehicle, this is usually a losing venture.
So, not only is NetWaiter a marketing tool, it can actually be one of your best marketing assets, along with your website and other online media (email marketing, Facebook, Twitter, etc.).
Bottom Line: Investing in the long-term success of your restaurant is a lot better than wasting money on one-time advertisements that cannot be measured. Online customers are the most loyal and profitable type of customer. So, rather than an expensive newspaper ad, you can more effectively leverage your marketing budget by promoting your own online ordering system. Not only will you be making good customers better ones, you will also be making them more profitable.
Blue Moon Burgers in Seattle, WA, combines online ordering with social media--Twitter and Facebook. The result is a 100% increase in business in the South Lake Union store in eight months.
Blue Moon using NetWaiter.pdf (160.19 kb)
They say, "So goes California, so goes the rest of the country." This article, from the Silicon Valley Mercury News, addresses the growing regulation of food trucks that are quickly becoming a large part of the dining scene in Los Angeles.
Unlike traditional food trucks that cater to workers while on break, this new wave of trucks park in high-traffic areas and serve a higher quality of food, often with their own specialties. According to this article, some counties have received complaints by restaurant owners that these trucks steal business. Consequently, some cities, such as Rancho Palos Verdes and Palos Verdes Estates, have enacted zoning restrictions on when and where the trucks can operate.
Thankfully, by the end of the year, food truck customers in California can expect to see the same health quality ratings they see at normal brick and mortar restaurants. This doesn’t necessarily “level the playing field” for regular restaurants to compete with food trucks, but will help educate customers about their health quality.
So, how do restaurants compete with this food truck invasion? Some have actually decided to join them – and launched their own food trucks. Others have focused on convenience factors and their communication tactics. For instance, many food trucks rely heavily on Twitter to communicate their daily whereabouts. Brick and mortar restaurants that are inundated by food trucks should step up their Twitter communication and takeout business. Ordering takeout online in advance is definitely a way customers can capitalize on your restaurant’s convenience.
Do food trucks affect your restaurant? Let us know how. Email us at mailto:email@example.com. Does your restaurant operate a food truck? We want to hear your story. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.