Today’s busy customer expects restaurant-quality meals ordered in a few clicks on their phone and delivered to their door. Tall order, anyone?
Business owner Kate Toon says having food delivered to her door (or hotel) is a huge bonus. “I travel a lot and UberEats gives me a chance to try something new. As a vegetarian, there are so many options on the website.”
Recent research by finder.com.au found Australians spend $2.6 billion annually on having food delivered through companies like Menulog, UberEats, Deliveroo and Foodora. Aussies clearly love the convenience and choice offered by these companies. It’s also commonplace to look up a restaurant and read reviews before choosing to eat there.
So, how do these digital platforms affect restaurant owners?
Read Google and TripAdvisor reviews
Many people look up restaurants on TripAdvisor or read Google reviews before making a reservation. Instagram is also a big influencer for millennials. Research shows one in three millennials avoid eating at restaurants that are not active on Instagram.
According to ReviewTrackers, 63 percent of people check Google reviews before visiting a business while 94 percent of customers avoid a company if they’ve read negative reviews.
Make sure you keep an eye on your listings and regularly search for any unhappy customers who may be sharing negative experiences, relating to your business, online. Quickly addressing these reviews can turn an unhappy customer into a raving fan. By proactively acknowledging their complaint online and replying reflects positively on your business.
Tip: If social media overwhelms you, take it slow. Either hire one of your tech-savvy employees to #hashtag your social content, or learn how to do it yourself. Every 28 seconds, someone tags an Australian hotel, restaurant, or bar on Instagram. Don’t miss valuable social media traffic that can turn into actual customers.
Delivering food to customer’s door
Food delivery platforms like UberEats, Menulog and others have transformed the whole dining experience for customers in Australia. Even hatted restaurants like Sake allow customers to order through UberEats.
According to Morgan Stanley, more people will order takeaway food online by 2025 and the industry will be worth $4.2 billion. Busy customers are demanding more convenience and high food quality, as working hours become longer.
In Australia, UberEats, Menulog and other delivery companies have a list of restaurants on their websites. Customers order their meals through an app or the website. The restaurant receives the order, makes the food and packs it ready for delivery. UberEats’ drivers take the food to the customer’s home or office while Menulog has restaurants make the deliveries themselves.
Get new customers
For Nerissa, owner of Lankan Tucker in Brunswick West, UberEats has brought more customers to their business since they signed up less than a year ago. “Despite the large commission (35 percent) charged by UberEats, we’ve managed to reach a lot more people who may not have found us otherwise,” she says.
“We’ve had a few issues with food going missing from bags or food going cold, which are beyond our control. Overall, the biggest benefit of being on UberEats has been more customers,” says Nerissa.
Running a restaurant is tough. Keeping up to date with what your customers want, and continuously looking for ways to increase sales and profits will keep you in business.
Digital platforms might be a way to reach more customers. But you also need to prepare for drivers turning up late, dropping off multiple orders affecting food temperature, high commissions affecting profit margins and kitchen staff stretched during busy times.
Like any other method, this approach needs careful analysis, monitoring and rapid problem solving to keep on top of results.
By Rashida Tayabali