Food delivery was for many a key to survival throughout the past year, and many customers have come to enjoy their newfound abilities to order food online and have it delivered straight to their door.
But more competition makes it more difficult to stand out from the crowd. Time to put your food delivery service to work in new ways.
Check out these best tips for doing just that.
Create a loyalty program
Customers love loyalty programs—and they work. When your restaurant is part of the community, loyalty is everything. And if you need proof that loyalty programs are effective, put one in place and see what happens.
Your delivery service probably has an online tool that makes it easy to create and manage a digital loyalty program, so you can move away from requiring customers to show a physical punch card. If not, you can easily and affordably create your own with software programs like Lightspeed or Upserve.
After your loyalty program is in place, decide how best to incentivize your customers to use it. Maybe you offer a discount for signing up, extra points for engaging with your social media presence or a special treat on birthdays.
You can also link with a loyalty program in another local business. For example, a local brewery can team up with the bookstore down the street—each week, customers who buy both the book and the beer of the week get a great discount. You’ll get to know your fellow small business owners and can bring in a whole new batch of customers for each of you.
Use AI and machine learning to get more personal with your customers
One of the biggest opportunities with artificial intelligence (AI) is personalization. AI tools like OneDine, or services where you can create custom menus using QR codes, save and analyze customer data to give personalized recommendations to every customer. For example, when a person views your restaurant via your food delivery app, the AI can remember that person has specific dietary needs and will only show them menu items that fit their restrictions.
AI can also make your deliveries more efficient. Your delivery app can find the smartest and fastest routes, providing customers with accurate delivery times.
Improve your SEO
Popping up on Google results when people in your area who aren’t familiar with your restaurant search for things like “best pizza in Dallas” or “cheeseburger takeout near me” is key to getting orders.
Your food delivery app—like Uber Eats or DoorDash—will do a lot to get you higher up on a Google search. That’s what you’re paying for. They can also offer advice for enhancing your restaurant’s description, offerings and photo gallery.
Still, you need to be active as well. First, make sure all your Google Places data is up to date, including general info like the type of food you serve and your address and operating hours. This way, even when people type general search terms like “BBQ restaurant” into their Google Maps app, your place will pop up as an option.
You can also enhance your ranking by getting as specific as possible about your offerings. For instance, if you serve well-known and in-demand items like the Impossible Burger or a local delicacy, include it prominently in your online description, so that Google picks it up and lets searchers know.
Work with your delivery apps to know what works
Customers are looking for great on-time delivery service, accurate information on the app menu, special offers and good reviews from other diners. Make sure you pack all the right information into your listing on the apps you use. Read the information on each app’s site to understand how to improve your rankings and get more orders from customers.
And always encourage your customers to use the app’s review feature to share how much they enjoyed your restaurant’s food. These days, everybody needs to boost small businesses with great feedback. Your app can help make that happen.
The restaurant world may be changing rapidly, but taking some of these steps can help you stand out from the crowd and continue to evolve with the industry.
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