Sign up for restaurant insights

Ideally, ordering delivery is a simple and straightforward experience for hungry diners. But behind the curtain, there are quite a few factors that go into creating a successful online ordering and delivery strategy, and even more choices that impact those core factors.

In other words, it takes planning, precision, and information to ensure those simple, straightforward ordering experiences are possible. Luckily, the data generated by Grubhub and Technomic’s joint study can help.

In our co-branded report, we outline five key ingredients to success for your restaurant — ones that get your customers to come back to your restaurant time and time again. 

Here, we’ll dig into the ingredient number one: Become a customer magnet.

(Pssst… To discover the other four ingredients essential to streamlined fast food delivery and overall food delivery app success, download the full report.)

How to keep diners ordering delivery from your restaurant

Loyal customers spend a whopping 67% more at restaurants compared to new guests, so it quite literally pays to ensure orders are so good they’ll encourage customers to order again in the future. Rather than continually chasing a new audience, find ways to speak to and satisfy the diners already interested in your establishment.

Enter, five factors that help in your restaurant becoming a strong customer magnet: 

1. Delivery accuracy

One of the worst things that can happen when ordering delivery is to open up your long-awaited meal only to discover it’s not what you asked for. You were craving chicken wings and got mozzarella sticks, or perhaps you asked for ranch dressing and your chef salad arrived slathered in honey mustard. 

Now you have two choices: eat something you don’t necessarily want or ask for a redelivery which means delaying your meal. Neither option is very palatable (pun intended).

Considering that 85% of consumers prioritize delivery accuracy when selecting a third-party delivery provider, how can restaurant owners and operators do their part to ensure order accuracy from the get-go?

  • Establish an in-house system for verifying order accuracy. Order tickets should be read through several times by the cooks on the line before prep and execution take place, and there should also be someone between the kitchen and front door (an expo or quality assurance person) who does a final check comparing the contents of the to-go bag to the original order slip. Put a couple of these checkpoints in place and it’s actually fairly easy to catch mistakes before they wind up at your customer’s front door.
  • Divide up job responsibilities rather than assigning the entire order to a single person. Labor issues are real, but whenever possible you should staff enough people to know that no single employee is seeing through orders from start to finish. Ideally, have someone making the food, someone packing the orders, and someone getting the food to the delivery driver. This creates those multiple checkpoints referenced above and also keeps your team members from getting overloaded with responsibility.
  • When in doubt, label everything. Errors happen, but they’ll happen with much less frequency if you label your food properly when it goes into the prep line or into the walk-in. Labeling take-out containers also helps diners understand what’s what when deliveries are made. Knowing that one tub is ketchup, one is barbecue sauce, and one is marinara removes all doubt and eliminates the need for taste testing before meals can get divvied up.

For more best practices on how to prepare and handle high demand delivery times, click here.

2. Delivery speed

Bad traffic happens. But traffic patterns can be more predictable and therefore easier to understand and work around. Track peak times in your area (they’re not always the 9am and 5pm snarls people assume are the worst times to be on the road) and adjust ETAs for delivery and pickup accordingly so you aren’t falling short of customer expectations.

And what are those expectations? One survey found that 31% of consumers ordering delivery expect their food to arrive within 30 minutes, and they’re only willing to wait 40 minute at the most. That’s a pretty small window restaurants have to work with, making it even more crucial operators partner with a third-party food delivery app that prioritizes efficiency.

Thankfully, 77% of Grubhub consumers surveyed give Grubhub’s delivery speed a high rating. That means they know they’ll know delivery speed matches — or even exceeds — their expectations, and when hunger strikes, speed is almost always of the essence.

3. Ability to order

Of course, one of the major factors influencing whether consumers will order from your restaurant is whether your restaurant is even an option for them. Your location helps dictate your service area. You may choose to service an expanded radius with Grubhub’s supplemental delivery.

This decision isn’t simply about gas prices or time. How your food will hold up during transit is also a significant concern. An ice cream parlor is likely to have a smaller delivery radius than a taco stand because tacos don’t have to be piping hot to be enjoyable but frozen treats should still arrive, well, frozen.

Partnering with a third-party delivery app can help you expand your area without worrying about all the responsibilities that come with it. You’ll need to pack your food appropriately, but your delivery partner is tasked with ensuring that food arrives on time (and that’s where the Grubhub Guarantee comes in — but more on that later).

Whatever you decide, your location and delivery areas served should both be stated clearly on your website. It also helps to mention those areas in blogs and on social media for extra visibility.

4. Ease in ordering from third-party delivery services

User experience also plays into how readily customers will re-order from a particular restaurant. If it’s a pain to peruse your menu and navigate the rest of the order delivery process, it could be a big deterrent.

Partnering with Grubhub puts you in front of an established and hungry audience that’s already used to the ins and outs of the Grubhub app. They don’t have to download anything new or learn a new app language for each restaurant. It’s a consistent, convenient, and a familiar experience – all factors that help build diner confidence.

From a diner POV, third-party apps are more reliable than those often-wonky interfaces put together by restaurants. It’s not the restaurants’ fault, either — it takes a lot of resources to build and maintain a decent online ordering infrastructure. 

Grubhub has invested heavily in a food delivery app that is designed to support sustainable growth. This type of “we don’t make money unless you do” partnership fuels win-win situations that take into account everything from joint branding to shared promos.

Four out of five (80%) of surveyed Grubhub users say that the Grubhub app makes it easy to order up their favorite foods. Combine that superior UX with the Grubhub Guarantee, a “make it right” promise that compensates customers for late orders, and you have a recipe for increased loyalty and satisfaction.

5. Loyalty and rewards programs or perks

Loyalty and rewards programs and associated perks pull double duty, incentivizing customers to return and then show them your appreciation once they do commit to a second (or third, or fourth, or fortieth!) order. That tracks with customers: 60% of which told our survey that the availability of a loyalty/rewards program is important or very important to them.

Grubhub’s own Promotions and Loyalty tools make it easy for restaurant owners and operators to create, share, and monitor promotional efforts. You can choose your goal, decide on your budget, and then fine-tune campaigns as the data starts rolling in. Reward repeat guests with a dollar amount or percentage off their next order, offer a free menu item for larger orders, or waive the delivery fee. There are tons of possibilities, each giving you a way to connect with and engage the people who have helped make your business a success.

Want to keep diners ordering delivery from your restaurant? Grubhub can help.

There are only five points on the list above, but it’s still a lot of information to take into consideration. Finding ways to encourage diners to keep ordering delivery is important, but even more important is the fact that you don’t have to go it alone. Grubhub is here to be your first step in the ordering process. With a dedicated account advisor, you’ll never feel unsupported or alone, and our first-class technology is also in place to help us guide you to success.

For more information about the factors affecting both diners and restaurants involved in online ordering, download the full Grubhub & Technomic online ordering report and see how Grubhub helps entrepreneurs just like you enhance these factors and more.