It’s not new news: consumers have made big shifts in the past 18 months from in-person dining and curbside pickup to delivery. During the pandemic, eight states saw more than 75% of restaurant revenue coming from either takeout or delivery. This percentage has dropped since the country began re-opening, but we expect levels of delivery revenue to stay higher than they were before the pandemic.
TLDR: having a delivery option is no longer optional for restaurants that want to stay relevant.
There are two main options for a restaurant to deliver its food to customers: first party and third party systems. But let’s be real - if every restaurant could get rid of those commission costs and fees that come with third party delivery apps (UberEats, GrubHub, etc.,) they likely would. Direct ordering is not only more profitable, it’s also - maybe unexpectedly - most consumers’ preferred ordering method.
Yet third party apps are being used at higher rates than ever before. Why? Convenience and reliability. If it’s hard for guests to find your ordering links, hours, and menu items, they’ll be more likely to revert to a familiar third party, even if they’d rather order from you directly.
To get customers to use your own delivery system, you need to make sure:
1) your business is at the top of their’ “delivery near me” searches
2) prices and menu items on your website match what’s in your POS
3) your delivery hours are clearly stated (and consistent) wherever potential customers might search for them
By setting clear expectations and delivering on them, you’ll earn your guests’ trust and keep them coming back.
We have a few tips to help you tackle these to-dos. Unsurprisingly, they revolve around managing your online listings, business info, and menu so you can get better placement toward the top of those “delivery near me” local searches. They also include ways Marqii can help you accomplish your goals in less time with less effort. (You didn’t think this would be a blog post without a tie back to our product, did you?)
Tip 1: Own your online listings. Local search is how customers find your business (especially if they know what they’re looking for but not who they want to get it from) and is an integral part of any delivery concept. To move higher up the list of search results, it’s important to have full control over your restaurant’s online listings. This doesn’t just include the Big Ones (Facebook, Yelp, Google, Trip Advisor, etc) but also the ones you might not even know about. Google and other search engines troll the WHOLE Internet for information about your business. If info like your hours, website, location, and phone number aren’t the same everywhere, you’ll get bumped down to a lower priority in the search results.
Want to see how your business is showing up in search results? Run a scan of yourself on more than 60 listing sites.
At Marqii, we partner with more than 80 online listing platforms including Yelp, Google, Facebook, Apple Maps, Alexa, and Trip Advisor. When you update your hours or contact number or location info in our platform, it changes on all of our partners in real time. No more waiting weeks for your Google My Business profile to update after you submit a “suggestion,” no more getting reviews that read, “Siri said you were open but when I tried to order your site said you were closed!” No more scrambling to update your delivery hours in multiple places when a driver calls in sick.
Tip 2: Make sure your menu is searchable. Did you know search engines can’t scan a pdf menu? Let’s say you have a potential guest who wants to have a burger delivered to their office for lunch. They type in “burger delivery near me.” Great news - you have a whole burger section on your menu, and you offer 1st party delivery.
BUT your menu is just a pdf on your website, and in your online listings your restaurant type is listed as “American.” You’re not a burger joint, you just make a few killer burgers! Because the search engines can’t see you have burgers on your menu, you won’t be ranked as highly in this customer’s search.
By hosting your menu in a text format (hint <cough> hint Marqii can do this, and will even pull your menu from a pdf or jpg you send us and set up the widget on your site), search engines can deliver results based on all your menu items, not just your restaurant category.
Tip 3: Keep your menu up-to-date. Everywhere. This has more to do with your guest experience than local search, but it’s equally important. Outdated menu items leave a horrible taste in customers’ mouths. If they visit your website to get a preview of your menu, see something they like, then can’t find it in your online ordering options, what are the odds they’re going to stick around and place that order?
Marqii links your cloud-based POS system directly to your online menus, so when you update an item in the POS it’s immediately updated everywhere your menus are hosted online. Including your website. Consistency is key. There’s a theme here.
So, to recap:
- Guests would rather order from you than a third party
- To get found by potential guests more often, get your online listings in order, make sure your menu is in a searchable format, and keep your online menus up-to-date everywhere they’re posted.
- Use Marqii to make all of this easier.
If you’d like to find out if we have a direct integration with your POS provider, learn more about our review and reputation management (we didn’t even talk about that!), and get a full tour on how we can make managing the online pieces of your business easier, book a time to chat with us today.