Should Restaurants Take Online Orders & Payments On Their Website?

2020-05-09

Restaurants are struggling to stay afloat during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Some have decided to close up shop until the storm blows over and yet others have decided to stay open for takeout and deliveries.

I’ve been supporting my favorite restaurants as much as possible during this difficult time and when I see a restaurant that has yet to set up online ordering and payments on their website I make sure to offer my help.

Customers want a more seamless experience now and for the foreseeable future. They want to be able to order and pay online. This way they only need to come to pick up the food which means less exposure to the staff which is safer for both parties.

One restaurant owner provided some interesting insight into the situation. He wanted to know if I could set up online ordering but have the customer pay in person. To me, this kind of defeats the purpose a little. The point is to reduce human interactions right now.

Why did he not want to take payments online? He told me that online payments tend to reduce cash sales and tips, which ends up being a significant chunk of revenue for them and their employees.

This is short-sighted! A restaurant risks losing more revenue by refusing to offer online orders and payments. Due to the pandemic customers are likely to patronize restaurants that can take orders and payments online now and for the foreseeable future. Restaurants that don’t acknowledge this are going to suffer.

The reduction in cash sales and tips can be remedied by marking up prices a little bit. If your customers truly value what you offer, they’re not going to mind a little price increase to make sure you guys can keep the lights on and everyone involved can stay safer by not handling payments in person.

Another advantage of online ordering is the ability to automatically capture a customer’s email address. This is huge! Traditionally with in person transactions this required an employee to remember to ask customers for their email address during checkout which never happens because it’s difficult to take someone’s email address verbally and email addresses aren’t required for in-person orders.

Building your customer email list is important because existing customers are 7x more likely to buy from you than somebody who has never been to your restaurant and email is the perfect way to reach them. With email, the average open rate is over 20% whereas with Facebook you’re lucky to reach 6% of your fans/customers.